Irka 2007
A work in six parts, Holiday in residency, Vilnius, Lithuania. Commissioned by Gasworks, triangle france, and Contemporary Art Centre, London, Marseille and Vilnius.

Part 1: Irka Book, book of 36 pages in edition of 800
Installation view at Gasworks

Shaped like a passport, the Irka book was invented as a way to bypass legal restrictions of civic mobility using art system as a vehicle. It’s content is documentation of this very process of its making, consisting solely of e-mail correspondence between the artist and the protagonist Irka, a Belarussian student at EHU university in Vilnius, Lithuania. But once you read it, it reveals itself as an inventory of elusive genres both of writing and of the relationships between the collaborators. Like in a good novel, once you think you know what is happening, something else occurs. For instance, you once read that all the names have been changed due to the politically and otherwise delicate issues discussed (the colour of the letters is likewise the beautiful marine blue according to the protagonist’s preference) to discover later that Irka has made up her mind to speak for herself. And so in her case the decision has been reversed, but the name of the artist behind this project – Flávia Müller Medeiros – is nowhere to be found. The International English of the artworld is covered by thick layers of misspelling, direct translations of Slavic and outerwordly grammar and various other odds throughout the book; that alone can make one shrink with pleasure – or disgust. The book was first presented in London in 2007 during a book-signing event hosted by Irka, which has served as a convincing pretext for a trip.
—Virginija Januskeviciute, Master Humphrey’s Clock, de Appel, Amsterdam 2008

Part 2: Irka Arrival at Gatwick, DVD loop, 3 mins, 14 secs
Video stills

Part 3: Irka Book Launch, book signing event
Installation view at Gasworks

Part 4: Irka, the Making of the Group Portrait, DVD, 40 mins
Video stills

Part 5: Irka, Group Portrait of the Belarusian European Humanities University, varied size photograph
The first group portrait taken of over 500 students and faculty of the politically displaced European Humanities University, including Irka.
Installation view at CAC Vilnius, 127 x 240 cm scanned print glued on wall

Part 6: Irka Live Reading, first reading of the Irka book in a public gallery by invited actors and friends, Rokeby Gallery, 2008

The Irka project exhibited as a whole
Exhibition Installation views at CAC Vilnius 2007