Maria Lalou (Athens 1977) is a contemporary conceptual artist and critical thinker. She explores the topic of viewing, incorporating cinematic apparatus and surveillance as part of her tools, with central references to the politics of the viewer. Large-scale installations, performances, as well as films and other publications characterize her work. She has been active in the visual arts for many years focusing on the role of the artist as a worker in the arts and deconstructing the role of cultural institutions, Lalou made her first attempt to deliver a statement through a radical feature film (New York 2018-19). This film is a document about discursive dialogue and image production, and its relation to cinematic time. It records a real time dialogue between the artist and four scholars. Lalou holds a degree in Architecture and Design (Technical Institute of Athens), a degree in Fine Arts from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, a specialization in glass production from The Royal Academie of Copenhagen and a research certificate from DasArts (Amsterdam). Her works have been shown internationally on different occasions (Greek Film Archive, Athens; LIMA, Amsterdam, Printed Matter, New York; Onomatopee, Eindhoven). She has lectured on her work at the School of Architecture (Princeton University), the Department of Architecture (ETH Zurich), Aalto University (Helsinki), Rijksacademie Studios (Amsterdam), Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella) and the University of Venice (IUAV). She published two monographs, [theatro] (2015) and ‘the camera’ (2019). In 2012, she initiated an archival project in Athens together with the Danish architect Skafte Aymo-Boot. Their book “Atlas of Athen´s Incomplete Buildings-Story of Hidden Antimonuments”, will be published in 2021. In 2020, Lalou & Aymo-Boot have co-founded “Cross Section Archive a space for Art & Architecture” in Athens, investigating phenomena that occur in the intersection of the disciplines, exploring how historical facts, political structures and everyday circumstances have been interfering, co-producing and directing them.
Articles of Maria Lalou
Camera and the Mirror, a post-manuscript
In “Camera and The Mirror”, Lalou analyzed the work of those major white male figures that made a significant stance on the role of camera apparatus in film production, planning her slow physical death as an artist-at-work, and her transference to a three-model algorithm, after fifteen years of producing works that incorporate cinematic and surveillance apparatuses as her tools, with references to the politics of the viewer. The first chapter is based on her own first ever feature film recorded as a single shot “The Dialogue”, moving the narrative through the basis of those major works of film history “Parallel I-IV” (2008-12), “Salaam Cinema” (1995) and “Le Mépris” (1963) along with Flusser’s writings on the functions of the apparatus. By marking an index of cameras demonstrating the ideas behind their medium, and by scrutinizing the ingenious of each film, she directs a manual towards freedom from algorithmic governance; where the relation between camera, view and actor, subject and object is foregrounded and destabilized. This essay is a non-linear narrative text, an attempt of a post-manuscript, aligning the writing of the video essay tetralogy “Camera and The Mirror” (an experimental documentary that involves the relation of the camera’s role in the animated experience of the viewer) with an analysis of the function of the medium in our contemporary surveilled networked life. The post-manuscript was born by extracting the documentary’s content out of the ‘black screen’ over layered by the unnatural voice sound of British Bot Selene. The text is typed on the ‘black screen’ by white Courier typesetting and extrapolates the significant films in Farocki’s, Makhmakbaf’s and Godard‛s research. It is an attempt to inaugurate thoughts in a dialogue with Vilém Flusser’s Post-History, working towards ‘a manual of resistance’ against algorithmic governance, which questions the use of cinematic mechanisms in order to resist the authority of control of our data.