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  Alex Selenitsch

Alex SELENITSCH
identikits
5 July to 29 July 2006

At our first (and only) meeting, along with Trevor and Michele, Stephanie and I thought that she would have the walls and I would have the space between them - which meant benches, and in turn, objects. We also thought (or perhaps only I did) that we might do something on identity. With Michele's request for "no books" in mind, my thoughts turned to how I might make some models.

Identity is a large and complex process, a deliberate and not entirely rational socio-political construct. I began by thinking of four of its descriptions: regulation, inheritance, ritual and education. The passport, the DNA printout, the membership card and the diploma are paper proofs of such descriptions; without paper they could be thought of as nationality, inheritance, clubs and advertising. But for every particular case, whether of a group or individual, identity is likely to be a mixture of such descriptions - a mixture, hybrid or conglomerate if conceived as a still state, but probably more like a conversation, dispute or negotiation if in flux.

My identikits are not representations of these four specific descriptions. But they model a condition where there are a number of (in this case three, four or seven) relatively clear "identities" which then co-exist and mix, and which are then "more like it".

he maps use an off-the-peg set of stencils, where the size, shape and colour are as given. I have shuffled them around to reveal some images of national identity. The timber house blocks are there as an index to the various kinds of community forces that maintain our cities. The cardboard models are more abstract, and combine simple geometry with corrugated cardboard for their effects.

How these things model identity is worth noting. They are not models in the sense of representing at a different scale either an existing thing or one soon to exist. Nor do they have a specific scale. Even the maps mix scales to ultimately indicate they are about something other than geography. Neither are they exemplars in the sense of being so right that they just need to be reproduced. But they are models in the sense of fixing relationships and offering these for contemplation: in this way "model" and "composition" and "design" are similar. My identikits however fix relationships which are open to speculation in a way that a scientific model or a design cannot do. Further they use some property or other of the materials at hand, or some aspects of its craft, to establish how the relationships are to be read. Identity is thus translated into polypropylene stencils and their layers, into timber blocks and their joining techniques, into corrugated cardboard and its bias-cut laminations. Each identikit, then, asks the viewer (as each one of them harassed me while I was making it) to read its particular materiality

In a way, the identikits repeat each other. The maps, which could be thought of as images of national identity, could just as easily be thought of as images of personal situations. I am not the first to suggest that the inland sea might be a psychic, individual condition. The cardboard tokens, themselves suggesting a set and series, could, through their patterns of accumulation, also be thought of as images of regional or global relationships. A house is an economy, or cosmos: it is a political identity, but also the image of a family, and sometimes of an individual.

Alex Selenitsch 2004 Exhibition
Alex Selenitsch 2008 Exhibition
Alex Selenitsch 2010 Exhibition
Alex Selenitsch 2011 Exhibition
Alex Selenitsch 2012 Exhibition
Alex Selenitsch 2013 Exhibition