Refections on decolonisation and sauvage curatorship in the current BOZAR exhibition
Astrid Gnosis is one of those rare, one-of-a-kind artists whose work leaves a lasting impression on your mind. She throws you into a deeply unsettling universe, both uncomfortably perturbing yet weirdly engrossing. Colombian/Spanish-born and London-based, Gnosis is a multi-media artist who weaves dystopian soundscapes, blunt lyricism and brutal imagery to challenge human perception. When it comes to Gnosis’ hybrid hardcore sound, there’s no sugar-coating and no pretentious nonsense, only progressive and uncompromising electronica with a socio-political tinge, designed to rip out humanity’s obliviousness to the world one beat at a time.
Text by Silvija Daniunaite
Lead photo by Sarah Piantadosi
For Astrid Gnosis, music is an extension of bodily function, a means to channel her inner energy and materialize her response to the external world. When listening to her music, don’t expect bland and monotonous sounds which put your soul at ease and let your mind drift off into that comfortably-numb state of being. Blending sounds from industrial, trance, new wave and techno, among others, Gnosis’ kaleidoscopic mishmash of genres rather feels like being thrown into the epicenter of an industrial war zone. The interplay between pulsating kicks, irregular pacing and sharp vocals generates an almost unbearable suspense, the type of intensity which makes your skin crawl a little. Perhaps to be expected from an artist who glorifies ‘discomfort as a state of being.’
An artist who glorifies ‘discomfort as a state of being’
Through her dark sound palette and brutal lyricism, Gnosis constructs overwhelmingly intense sonic worlds infused with politically-charged critiques of societal and cultural malaise. Dwelling upon the catastrophes and hopes of her generation, Gnosis dissects modern capitalist society, exploring themes of violence, self-destruction as well as social, mental and structural collapse.
She’s an ‘advocate for chaos’; yet, there’s a reason why destruction and disorder take center stage in her work. It is only through conscious embrace of collapse and struggle that we can open up new pathways for growth and only by facing the tragic that we can discover our inner light. And it is precisely this divine light that Gnosis is after in her music.
For her, acknowledging the painful side of human existence is a liberating force – it discourages fear and enables the pursuit of humanity’s true potential. Therein lies humanity’s capacity to ignite change and be the change in a world which only values transformation if it further reinforces the established status quo. Gnosis has no fear, she’s ‘in this for the kick’, and ‘Titan’ stands as a testament to that.
In the harsh nature of hardcore Gnosis sees a subversive force to make people act rather than react. The progressive rhythm of hardcore takes humanity to a state of mind where one can reconnect with true instincts of the self. Gnosis strives to inspire people to stand for something worthwhile even if what’s to come is a lifetime of suffering. This sentiment is probably best embodied in her track ‘Drop Dead’ from the Heady EP, a personal manifesto to her lifelong dedication to non-conformity and her pursuit of change until she herself, literally, drops dead.
Stand for something worthwhile even if what’s to come is a lifetime of suffering
The confrontational nature of Gnosis’ music is not to be mistaken with her blank desire to express violence just for the sake of it; nor is to be taken as a message of passive resignation to fatalism. Rather, with her violent and dystopian orchestra of unrelenting beats, Gnosis aims to drive ‘society’s consciousness into reflection’, thus encouraging conscious engagement with the world around us. To uproot ‘willful ignorance’ by piercing through that thick veil of numbness cast upon us by contemporary culture of distraction, entertainment and excess.
For Gnosis, music is a political statement – it must disrupt and transform. The political tone that resonates in her tracks is thus a scream against the zeitgeist of modern culture; a plea for the need of collective action against entrenched power systems which we willingly reinforce by turning a blind eye to the tragic injustices of the world today. ‘Rave rave against the dying of the light’, as Gnosis herself would say. And soon we shall.
Subbacultcha presents: Astrid Gnosis + Virtual Zone + more
12 July – Amigo, Ghent
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