Deemona Series, 2022
The Permutations Triptych, 2022
4K multi-channel video
5 minutes 10 seconds
Deemona is a society governed entirely by the scientific method and the idea of progress, a neat dystopia in which algorithms are the new gods. Conceived by the filmmaker and artist, Chino Moya (Madrid, 1976), this imaginary world is an ongoing project expressed across a range of media including video, photography and installation.
Each work offers a window onto Deemona, with its rigid social structure, empty cityscapes and calculated palette of inoffensive colours. Paintings from the Quattrocento, surrealist scenes and the considered aesthetics of big-budget television series all find their echo in Moya’s quietly disturbing creation, a possible future with clear parallels in our present-day.
A dystopia for the algorithmic age
“Deemona is an extreme state of the anthropocene, when humans have finally managed to kill all the other complex living beings and are now alone,” explains Chino Moya. Progress, productivity and efficiency are the overriding goals of this society, composed of four rigid social classes.
Technocrators, the upper echelon, dedicate their entire time to “algorithmic meditation,” pushing society forward through the discovery of new formulas. Managers are intermediaries, responsible for passing on these findings to Miners, who spend their lives at two-key pads, turning formulas into binary code. All other tasks are carried out by Manuals, the only class permitted to do physical labour.
Moya’s work points to a future of extreme dehumanisation, in line with early dystopian classics such as The Machine Stops (EM Forster, 1909), We (Yevgeny Zamyatin, 1921) or Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927). In Deemona, whose name coincides with the town that hosts Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal in the Israeli desert, the dreaded machinery of the industrial age is replaced by the algorithms of today’s AI-infused environments.
Non-places, populated by no-longer people
Deemona’s population inhabits sparse, cubicle-like dwellings in geometric cities. The central scene of The Permutations Triptych (2022), for example, evidences Moya’s longstanding interest in Brutalist architecture and echo the metaphysical art of painters such as Giorgio de Chirico. For Moya, these environments underscore the vulnerability of his protagonists, “the idea of humans being dwarfed by their own creations, no longer in control.”
Moya’s approach to perspective, lighting, costume and use of formats such as the video-triptych evoke images from the Quattrocento. “I subconsciously end up trying to paint through film,” says the artist, who sees parallels between Deemona and the fusion of art and science in the Italian Renaissance.
The colour palette for Deemona is informed by existent non-places such as lobbies, waiting rooms and office environments, in which green-blue, burgundy and grey are recurring tones. Dehumanisation is further underlined through the lost gaze of characters such as the Manager in Optimisation Nostalgia (2022), whose resigned posture hints at an emotional existence long-since lost.