At Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022, Massinissa Selmani (CRF 2021) presents a set of drawings, photo collages and animations as an assemblage of sorts, that acts as a site for political and social commentary. As an artist, he speaks about being interested in drawing as a medium and a ground for experimentation, where objects and figures are composed within the pictorial frame to create unlikely situations. In a conversation with STIR world, a global digital publication that is committed to featuring the best in design, architecture and new-media art, Selmani talks about his interest in cartoons since he was a teenager, and how absurdism took shape early in his work, as the comic and the tragic were equally part of his everyday life while growing up in Algeria.

“For a violent situation, I found that the absurd is the best way to describe and speak about it,” says Selmani. Through spotlighting common struggles across borders and speaking to the anxieties that borders create, we can see the constant potential for conflict, where we can see stages of such through temporal frames such as ‘potential territories of conflict’, ‘latent conflict’, ‘suggested violence’, ‘nations in conflict’ and ‘violence to come’. Architecture is isolated in Selmani’s drawings where they act as signifiers of power, or act on space to either divide or contain. Through the loss of linearity, repetition of signifiers, and the quiet, disarming nature of the drawings themselves, Selmani attempts to disturb readings of political strife, and instead prompt one to think through logic and the lack of.

Read the full piece on STIR here, and read more about Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022, which is on view till April 10, 2023 in Kerala, India.