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Healing and Transcending Identity: Anna's Forever Digital Shapeshifting
NCO 097

N: Hello and how is it going? Sounds a bit crazy to start an interview like this, but what is your name? And where are you from? You're such mystery ! There is not much information about you online.
A: Summer's here, and that's all I need to feel good. I love fire energy, so if the sun is up and shining it means I'm good. My name's Anna (the name's written on my page as ༺ልאּ෴אּል; I guess it is kinda cryptic), and I'm from Budapest, Hungary.

N: What I love about you Anna is this strong sense of spirituality that you breath into your work.. reaching almost a cult-like dimension. Does spirituality play an important role in your life?

A: It definitely does, especially nowadays. No one's drinking the Kool-Aid though, promise. From around the age of 4, I've been deeply drawn to spirituality, especially Eastern and tribal religions, and their mysticism. I am a spiritual agnostic person. People will never know the ultimate truth, yet deep within us all, there is a yearning to get even just a little closer to it. One of the ways I quench that thirst is by producing visual content.

I aim to process schemas that operate on a level more complex than the tangible and drive our collective unconscious.

These are very elusive impressions, despite their visual expression; I couldn't label or truly grasp them. They remain as impressions, and that's as it should be. I consider it all a collective experience.

N: You seem to be mostly known for the edits that you make of yourself, where you appear as barely human, like a mix of a spirit, an alien, a robot, an AI-generated image, and an ancient princess. Overall I would say that only video games could encompass all of these elements into one... do you happen to game a lot?

A: I'm a gamer nerd. I started gaming when I was around 7, playing classics like Warcraft 3, HoMM, and Assassin's Creed. Then came WoW—when I was 11, we were on a family vacation in Antibes, France, and all I cared about was leveling my Draenei, so I stayed indoors all day while my family went to the beach.

From a young age, my ingame characters were extensions of my identity. I treated the universes and atmospheres of games, movies, and books on an equal footing with the aesthetics and cultural context of "reality".

Ultimately, reality is not exhausted by the scientifically measurable dimensions currently available to us. We exist in subjective realities, and mine draws much nourishment from the past and future, fantasy, sci-fi, and of course, my dreams, to find a wider truth. Some of my dreams are simultaneously otherworldly and lifelike, symbolic and prophetic, although I can never truly decipher them. After such dreams, it's difficult for me to truly wake up; I have to concentrate on grounding myself.

As for gaming, I'm still on it. It's clearly the hobby I spend most time with. Otherwise, I study psychology and engage in multimedia artistic activities in my remaining spare time.

N: How does gaming inspire your artistic practice? Is there a particular game you think everyone should play?

A: Gaming stimulates creativity and artistic processes in general. I'm a big fan of gamification! Instead of recommending a specific game, I would just suggest everyone to play! Whatever game it is, just immerse yourself in it and surrender to the flow. By the way, my latest creation was inspired by Diablo IV, so besides the general processes, gaming often has a specific impact on my artistic practice. I also really love chess, an all-time classic. It really improves your sense of perspective.

N: Talking about inspiration, how much time do you spend researching all these internet niches that you reference on social media?

A: For me, curiosity and sudden inspiration end up leading me into these deep rabbit holes...so although my style can be characterized by niches, it's mostly about being interested in the content that belongs to those niches. I, personally, don’t focus on categorization in any aspect of life. Otherwise, the search for an identity that transcends the rules of spacetime is a form of escapism for me. The period of COVID-19 was extremely mentally challenging, which is why I started engaging more seriously in content production as a form of therapy. What I'm looking for and trying to manifest through pixels is both our core and something we can never truly know. Something we are, yet we never truly are. The dualistic notion of something being either yes or no is derived from a narrowed logical system. I draw a lot of inspiration from fellow artists who are far more dedicated, experienced, and talented than I am. For me, this is a therapeutic hobby, and it is deeply honorable and fulfilling to give something back in return for all that I receive. I feel so much love in this niche community!

N: In the same train of thought, what do you find so fascinating about technology?

A: Technology is fascinating, for it embodies a perfect balance of good and bad. It aligns with the worldview I expressed earlier, where everything is simultaneously good and bad. Undeniably, it has brought about the next leap in human evolution. Although I personally wouldn't use the term "techno sapiens", it has always made me cringe for some reason.

The advent and continual improvement of the Internet and AI exponentially expand our intellectual existence, detached from the flesh and blood aspect of human life.

Considering the social and psychological downsides of technology, I can't look at the topic and our future with complete optimism. If it ends up being Mad Max, I'm here for that too. Until then, I'm all about AI-assisted art, 3D-printed garments, and powerful sound systems. I love technology for both its light and darkness.

N: Thank you again for answering these questions with us today. I wanted to say congratulations on the wearable garment you have released recently, and to finish on a lighter note: what is your dream project to take on?

A: Thank you so much for recognizing and having me! I'm definitely open to any commissions for garments or accessories. It's just really hard for me to release something that's not personalized. A big dream of mine is to collaborate with creatives I look up to. I would gladly contribute to any larger production that resonates with my philosophy. I am inherently a lone wolf, and teamwork is not in my nature. That's why stepping out of my comfort zone and working under/with others on something truly high quality, compared to my low-res pictures half the time screenshot from front camera videos, would be a dream project for me. So big brands or small creatives hit me up!

All images courtesy of Anna

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