Nástio Mosquito is a digital multimedia and performance artist living and working in Luanda, Angola, whose practice employs the open-ended potential of language, persona and sound. ARTsouthAFRICA spoke with Nástio about ‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ and his variously transgressive, cool, cynical, profane and vulgar characterisations, his responses being predictably obscure and concurrently insightful. This interview was published in full in the March 2015 Innovation Issue (13.3) of ARTsouthAFRICA magazine.
Nástio Mosquito, 3 Continents, 2010. Video, 745′. © Nástio Mosquito. Courtesy of the artist and Ikon Gallery.
Usually portraying himself (and a variety of alter-egos) as the central figure in his work, Mosquito deploys simultaneously banal pop culture tropes and self-important intellectualisations, confrontational political ideologies and sexual innuendo, observations on human folly and hypocritical declarations intended to exasperate and agitate. Articulating “tensions that exist in political memory, art, contemporary life, philosophy, curatorial practice and the global art market,” according to Gabi Ngcobo, Mosquito’s latest solo exhibition, ‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, showcases him as “one of the most exciting artists of his generation.”
ARTsouthAFRICA: You use music, photography, film and performance poetry as the means by which your various personas pronounce and pontificate on the nature of our globalised world. What led you to this composition of elements?
Nástio Mosquito: The pure necessity of being effective… On the other hand, I must say that it has got nothing to do with my fantastic sense of creative operational savvy! It was all a very organic progression, like, having no job and having to make it work. When you are focused on what you need to engage with to make sure you die with peace as your flag, shit happens.
How has growing up in and basing your art practice from Luanda, Angola influenced your practice?
You and me are plural. Luanda is in and on everything I do; but how may I separate and tangibly discern what Pink Floyd did in relation to the way I experience Luanda? Context should not be what I talk about. Context is at the service of what I have to give as a human being to the different communities I am a part of.
‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ is your first solo exhibition and yet it would appear that you are very rapidly rising to fame. The exhibition text describes you as “one of the most exciting artists of [your] generation.” What do you think about this?
I am the most exciting artist I could be, am and will be, everyday anew. My perspective is this – how are we going to make sure that such statements impact on the capacity I have to continue to grow in my consequent sense of service? If your question is about the relationship I have with my own ego, I do have a great sense of self-love; but at the end of the day I do not want to be forgotten. I cannot do that without going from exciting to subsequent. I think I just need to make sure I know what the fuck my job is, and I need help to make sure that materialises.
Nastivicious, Acts, 2012. Video, 1217′. © Nastivicious. Courtesy of the artist and Ikon Gallery.
How would you describe “your generation?”
When I die I’ll know; know what I mean?
In your video Nástia Answers Gabi (2009), you speak about love; “I don’t love you personally. Accepting our interdependency is not about love, it’s about function.” Is ‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ about love?
Yes. ‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ is about being real. It is about how hard it is to come back to your partner’s ‘uterus,’ a partner you LOVE beyond feeling, after you’ve found her or him in your bed with a cucumber, condom, baby oil and the photo of their boss! We live in a place of – or in – time where eternity is challenging us to just be, DAILY. Citizens, DAILY. Lovers, DAILY. YOU at your best, DAILY.
You assume a number of different roles in your work. How far is the distance between your actual identity and the alternatively cynical and cool, sincere and ironic, glib and confrontational characterisations of yourself? Who is the real Nástio Mosquito?
Who really cares? One thing I do not want is to be devious about my motivation. I want us to live better. I say us not because I am a good guy; I say us because I do not do well alone. What about you?
Finally, you have been given a number of names, including provocateur, contemporary jester, transgressor, genius and digital warrior. If you were to choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be?
S.W.A.I. (Slave Working At It)
‘DAILY LOVEMAKING’ is on at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 4 February – 19 April 2015.