Aziz + Cucher: Dystopia

“An inventory of a bizarre skin growth, DYSTOPIA, seems to document a pathology. It seems clear that at some level this pathology is not only dermatological, but cultural, commenting, perhaps, on the gradual but waxing loss of identity and the means of communication in a technological environment that promotes anonymity and conformity”. —Adrian W.B. Randolph

Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher (Aziz+Cucher) have been collaborating on and exhibiting digital photography, sculpture, video and architectural installation works since 1991 and are considered pioneers in the field of digital imaging.


Consists of large digitally manipulated portraits in which the orifices—eyes, mouth and nostrils—have been covered by a layer of skin. The intention was to suggest an evolutionary change signifying the loss of individuality in the face of advancing technology and the progressive disappearance of face-to-face, direct interaction. They are thinking about the ways in which the manipulation of nature through genetics and at the atomic level eliminates the need for representation and makes metaphor unnecessary. They propose this as a spiral of metamorphosis from known to unknown.

Regarding their work Aziz explains, “We want both the fabricated/fictional quality as well as the documentary/real. If you look at an object and you look at a photograph of the object, you’re looking at a translation, and it is this area of translation or transformation that we are after”.  Cucher also states, ” It is the fact that these images are an illusion that is reinforced by the conventions of photographic realism that interests us. Photography has this veracity to it; the sense of documentation of a reality yet the reality we present is utterly an illusion. In this context the effect we are after is technically uncanny because it has to do precisely with the boundary between fantasy and reality”.

The focus on manipulation of reality, and the attack on the conventions of photography  have resonance for the Chimera project. The presented reality is an illusion… and lies within the boundary between “fantasy and reality.”