Biljana Popovic

Synthetic Baby

27 Sep — 28 Oct


Biljnana Popvic, Synthetic Baby installation view. Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, selected readings for Synthetic Baby.
Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, Boudoir.
Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, Synthetic Baby installation view. Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, Smarthide detail.
Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, Synthetic Baby installation view. Table credit: Milos Popovic
Image: Mitchell Bright.


Biljnana Popvic, Smarthide detail.
Image: Mitchell Bright.


Image: Biljana Popovic, Something Entirely Natural, 2018, film still.

Synthetic Baby
Biljana Popovic

Exhibition Preview: Wednesday 26 September, 5.30pm
Exhibition Runs: 27 September – 28 October 2018

Saturday 29 September, 2pm: Exhibition Talk with Biljana Popovic and Jamie Hanton

View Something Entirely Natural online:

What do you think about when you are driving? For the cybernetic subject, deep thinking happens on the skin. The car is not an object to be fetishised, but a mediated lens, a transformative and existential machine with which humans have a reciprocal relationship. The car transforms how we know the world, and how the world is.

Using two pieces of recent technology—The Fortwo Smartcar and the Samsung Gear 360 camera, Synthetic Baby opens up a historical moment—namely the early 21st century—via a dance. This dance concerns the cultural role of technology, and it takes place between two sensibilities: romantic naturalism and technophilia.

Synthetic Baby is a multimedia installation that operates as a prop-opera where cyberfeminism, pop phenomenology, and theories of embodiment come together in a period piece set in the near-past. Building from previous work, Biljana Popovic explores the relationship between identity and the designed environment through the production of new socio-spatial contexts.

Tech industries do not expand in proportion to each other; digital technology is taking over the marketplace at such a rate that older tech trades like automechanics and architecture are starting to look like blacksmithery and stonemasonry. The technophile claims it is not enough to use tools, it is the love of technology that fuels innovation—and considers technophilia to be an equally legitimate position to romantic naturalism, equally capable of fighting for social justice and earthly survival. 

What does freedom to identify mean in a period of sexual revolution, pumped up bodies, the metrosexual and the ‘Can I speak to the manager haircut’? Identity is losing its grip as an organising force of the body/environment/technology/politics assemblage. The feeling that washes over is a collapse between the natural and the artificial. We were always already artificial.

Something Entirely Natural includes sound design by Claire Duncan and water dance performed by Ruby Read.

Synthetic Baby has been generously supported by the Chartwell Trust


Biljana Popovic (b. 1990 Loznica, Serbia), is a New Zealand artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. She graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts with a BFa Hons in 2012. She is the next recipient of the Creative New Zealand Berlin Artist Residency program, October 2018 - October 2019. Recent shows include Thing Persuasions, a collaborative exhibition with Sam Beca at Veronica gallery, Amsterdam 2018 and Andromoeda, a collaborative installation with Juliet Carpenter for Shout! Whisper! Wail! The 2017 Chartwell Show, Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki.


Selected Readings:

Barthes, Roland "The New Citroen." In Mythologies. London: J. Cape, 1987. 

Haraway, Donna. "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge, 1991. 

Eglash, Ron. "Oppositional Technophilia." Social Epistemology 23. no. 1 (2009): 79-86. 

Landström, Catharina. “A Gendered Economy of Pleasure: Representations of Cars and Humans in Motoring Magazines.” Science Studies 2, (2006): 26-48.

Currier, Dianne. “Feminist technological futures: Deleuze and body/technology assemblages.” Feminist Theory 4. no. 3 (2003): 321-38.

Law, John. “Machinic Pleasures and Interpellations.” Centre for Science Studies Lancaster University. 2003. 1-17.

O’Doherty, Brian. “From the Archives: Highway to Las Vegas.” Art in America Magazine. 1972.

Dant, Tim. “The Driver-car.” Theory Culture & Society 21, (2004):263-2764.

Jean Baudrillard interviewed by Nicholas Zurbrugg in: Morton, Nicola. 2016. “Take Me To Another Strange World // Stupid Boring Internet.” Master of Fine Arts, Sydney College of the Arts: University of Sydney.