If Disrupted

Excursion Around High Technology Park

In the multimedia installation Excursion around High Technology Park, XYANA summarises her research on particular topographies of Minsk, which nowadays mostly belong to a High Technology Park (HTP). Besides offices of various IT companies and start-ups, this location includes the Museum of Stones, an open-air geological museum and recreation zone, and the Academy of Sciences facilities, some of which were abandoned and have been used for raves and punk concerts since the early 2000s. Since 2005, these facilities have been partly redeveloped into the HTP, a state project that generates tax revenue and a legal structure for the development of IT technologies in Belarus. Initially based on the idea of outsourcing highly professionalised IT labour to a much cheaper workforce in Belarus, it became a cluster of several hundred companies operating extraterritorially and performing research on AI, software, gaming and apps for health and finance sectors, including cryptocurrency and blockchain research.

At the same time, it also remains under strict ideological control and its administration is subordinated to the state. In 2020, the site became one of the key spaces in the topography of protests. Many IT workers took part in the protests and developed various tech solutions for alternative voting systems, political mobilisation and solidarity actions. Mixing various visual artefacts, 3D renders, IT work, political protests and stories of protagonists who were involved in the punk and rave subcultures, XYANA leads a guided tour through the history of the HTP, trapped in the historical and contemporary contradictions of emancipation and control.

XYANA is a multimedia artist and researcher, based in Minsk and London. Their work is a collage of personal stories and histories, video footage, physical devices and biomatter. This is usually assembled into installations using different software and hardware. Their current research interests are nuclear technologies, chemical pollution and the effects of radioactivity on living systems. They are fascinated by exclusion zones, fungi, technological infrastructures and interfaces.