Pin It
Courtesy of Circa

Why Arca lit up London on the most depressing day of the year

‘The hypnosis I hope this induces is one that produces a feeling of solace and tenderness’

The third Monday of January is often referred to as Blue Monday, also known as the most depressing day of the year. So, what better way to remedy the post-holiday season gloom than a 10-minute group meditation courtesy of Arca

The musician teamed up with digital arts platform CIRCA yesterday (January 17) for the group meditation, which was broadcast online and on London’s Piccadilly Circus. A series of AI-generated images – made using 31 images of her paintings – accompanied the meditation, allowing these material, real-world artworks to transcend the physical realm. 

“Transhumanism (is) the idea of seeing neural networks and trained GANs as collaborators of the psyche that integrate source material to produce something new. They produce new data that resembles the material the network was trained on,” Arca told Dazed.

“Both my paintings and imagery produced by generative adversarial networks (GAN) are heavy on a focus of variation in texture within each frame/image produced,” she added. “I think the images are very beautiful and provide a strange, uncanny sense of watching organic phenomena, like rot or decay – only instead of disintegrating over time, the image recomposes itself, ever-morphing. The hypnosis I hope this induces is one that produces a feeling of solace and tenderness.”

Kicking off the #CIRCA2022 programme, the project aimed to light up the iconic landmark on the most depressing day of the year and guide audiences to combat the anxiety and stress experienced by the pandemic. “To be allowed by Circa to share the works in so many different physical spaces with many travellers in transit was an honour and responsibility I did not take lightly. So, I decided to try to share imagery that would be soothing and convey beauty through abstraction and texture,” Arca explained. 

The evening also marked the launch of the #CIRCAECONOMY Scholarship Programme, which will see two scholarships worth a total of £30,000 awarded to students to complete the MA Art & Ecology and MFA Curating degree programmes at London’s Goldsmiths. 

“Our new scholarship programme defines everything that CIRCA set out to achieve as a platform with purpose. We’re grateful to all of our previous artists for supporting the #CIRCAECONOMY and everyone who purchased a print. This ongoing partnership with Goldsmiths will support the next generation at this difficult time and we’re especially grateful to Richard Noble and Andrew Renton for supporting our mission in making the arts more accessible to everyone,” said Josef O’Connor, CIRCA’s artistic director.

As well as ushering in the 2022 Circa programme, Arca has also created five prints in support of the #CIRCAECONOMY that are available to purchase exclusively on the CIRCA.ART website. Proceeds from the sales will support the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that funds the platform’s free public art programme.

Find out more about the #CIRCAECONOMY Scholarship Programme on the Circa website. Watch Arca’s 10-minute meditation below.