Agil Abdullayev

Shy boy of the pink future


Installation view images at Artim Project Space, Baku, Azerbaijan
The solo exhibition by Agil Abdullayev investigates on the influence of social media on the future of Azerbaijani society in terms of gathering information, forming opinions and engaging in discussions. It talks about a young generation with a new self- and social awareness blurring boundaries between the digital and real, detaching from rigid definitions on gender, culture and nation. The exhibition explores how dynamics of social media have changed the way citizens engage in public discussions, providing them low-cost routes into socially relevant topics. It has lowered barriers of participation and inequality in engagement. Furthermore, social media allows citizens to consume, produce, distribute and comment on news and information, thereby brings new opportunities to persuade socially. The exhibition discloses theses tools associated with social media having a crucial impact on opinion making in the future. (c) Anna Fech / Curator

Culture doesn’t create us. We create the culture. (Vinyl print. Various dimensions. 2018)  Culture doesn’t create us. We create the culture. (Vinyl print. Various dimensions. 2018)
Culture doesn’t create us. We create the culture. (Vinyl print. Various dimensions. 2018)
Culture doesn’t create us. We create the culture.

Digital print on vinyl
Various dimensions

In the entrance area, the artist welcomes the visitor giving an
introduction to the exhibition. The work comments on moments of control and oversight intending to create a feeling of overview and security for the visitor. Diving into the other rooms, this impression will not last long, as the works expose moments of in-between, ambiguity, transition, and fluidity emerging in moments of personal and social transformation.

Unconditional Future

Print on Vinyl
515 X 300 cm
The work imagines the future when social media present acts as one of the leading source of news and interaction. It poses threat to traditional sources of media including television, newspaper, radios and magazines. By then the artist assumes that traditional sources will have little role to play as online newspapers and social media will have taken over the market. Social media will be used for the creation of social movements and hash tags have become a useful tool for signalling private and public opinions on digital platforms such as gathering crowds, disseminating beliefs, establishing new parties and investigating in change.

Where is Tural?

Single channel video
15 min 17 sec
Based on a story of a male friendship, the video work "Where is Tural?" reflects allegedly male characteristics with anecdotal interferences, questioning stereotypical gender classification. The work touches on topics such as: Is being shy part of the Azerbaijani culture? Should every Caucasian man master martial arts for self-defense? How big is the influence of Hollywood movies on Azerbaijani youth culture? The atmospheric mood ranges from aggressive, humoristic to tender sentiments underlined by social media tools such as smileys or instagram shots blurring clear boundaries of real and fictional becoming at the same time a social portrait.

Arrival (I must say)

2-Channel video installation
20 min 11 sec
In his 2-channel video installation, the artist captures, on one hand, his impressions as a newcomer to the UK and, on the other, his return to Baku. He reports of four thematically related events, which differences he noted in terms of British peculiarities, but also how Baku changed in the course of his absence, whilst breaking the narrative thread through Instagram posts of Bakuvians in front of major touristic attractions. Finally, the artist ponders over the definition of cultural and ethnic identity with atmospheric sums in the moonlight. The work becomes a parody of the subjective perception of the foreign in which classical definitions of culture and ethnicity in the context of an increasingly complex world characterized by digital networking and immigration no longer seem to be sufficient.

Open the window

Sound installation
12 min 23 sec

The work consists of sound sources taken from the internet with voices of political leaders combined with voices of populist opinion makers such as Oprah Winfrey’s speech at Golden Globes in 2018. The sources are arbitrary and mimic the scrolling of posted messages when we scour the internet and listen in here and there. The work shows that there is an interest in political topics in the younger generation, which, however, is no longer dependent on the statements of the great spokespeople, but arises in the subculture of the fast moving social media world.


The pink city (promo video) I

Single-channel HD Full video
2 min 55 sec

The work "Pink City" plays with the idea of an imaginary shelter, where everyone feeling in danger can be beamed through future cyber inventions of the digital age. The first part shows mostly footage of surveillance cameras documenting violent incidents that have to attract- ed much attention in social media. It imitates the media strategy to spread fear and panic raising the need for protection. In the second part, the artist, in a double version, promotes the Pink City, which takes in everyone seeking for protection, a magical place without greed, violence, and betrayal. By the strong contrast, the juxtaposition of good and evil, exposed and protected, the work questions a simplified and dualistic worldview, which creates intolerance and disdain.