Anthro (human) morph (form). ”We are all made from the same architectures. Temporarily fragmented machines with different abilities to navigate the environments around us.” A chat with Anthromorph, the visual artist behind the masks and inspired exoskeletons. Honest truths on how creativity can cure trauma.
Where do you get inspiration as an artist? I observed many forms of exoskeletons in your work. Are there personal references in this way of expression?
Growing up as a queer child in Greece, nature and ancient myths of hybrids always were a place of freedom for me. Among nature you were not seen as queer you were just another being navigating its environment. The gender dysphoria I felt pushed me to reject human performativity. I birthed Anthromorph in a need to redefine what my body is. Through my work, I embodied elements of nature I found strength in (fossils, husks, ancient beings like plankton and fungi that have withstood the test of time, have seen civilizations rise and fall). Embodying these states allowed integration. It was a form of art therapy for me. I turned alchemistic feelings a human being shouldn’t feel, into artifacts.
You built a fantasy world completely from zero point. How difficult it was for you?
The world humans have created is depressing to me. I have been heavily disappointed by the storytelling abilities of the entertainment industry. No one has taken climate change seriously and I’ve grown up feeling the decomposition of my planet. Children like me will be the judges of what the generations before us failed to see. Everyone is carrying generational trauma. that is why I was repulsed by pop culture since a kid. I grew up watching dinosaur and animal documentaries and exploring the earth from their perceptive instead. I was also taught Hommer’s works at school, whose storytelling and world-building lasted millennia. I also come from one of the islands that claim to be Hommer’s birthplace. I grew up swimming next to the rock he was said to be sitting on to entertain. Building my realm was not hard at all it happened very organically like it was an instinct of my body. It was my way of paying witness to the truth I see. I grew up inside the environment I showcase and saw beings all around me as different shaped life cellular structures.
When was the first time you remember yourself starting to express your visions as a creator and how?
I first gave myself wings at 17 using latex and wood. After developing my material and making knowledge I now use silicone and acrylic rods. There was always a need to transcend human flesh. I had trouble understanding where my boundaries were. Boy social constructs were making me want to crawl out of my skin. I made my first silicone faceless mask in 2018 to perform while inducing sensual deprivation. That limited awareness of being perceived (panopticon theory) allowed my body to explore suppressed behaviors, aiding feelings of integration.
This birthed a long-term performance alongside my medically transitioning. Anthro would be the testing ground for the behaviors I couldn’t accept as Constantine.
“We are bodies with interests not fixed identities”. I loved this phrase that I found in your social media profile. Could you expand it for us a little bit more?
The trans experience forces you to deconstruct society heavily. As a child being denied your natural feminine behaviours with violence, you become the best social observer just so you can perform like the normal kids to avoid bullying. We are denied our nature because of internalised hierarchy structures ingrained in our understanding of reality. And we were taught to enforce these shackles on each other as kids.
A body with interests calls for a sense of primal awareness presence. We don’t need to see our bodies through narratives and structures or identities. We are the latest mutations of what it means to be organic life on earth. It is our birthright to redefine what that means for us.
What is a piece of advice you’d like to say to your past self?
You never believed you would reach the level of self-love and comfort you have now yet you did. Your tears will become my fertiliser. You used to tell yourself, that time passes one atom spin at a time. You cannot avoid it. Time passed as you said. Your pain gives birth to worlds that unlock people’s hearts angel child. You should have never let them make you see yourself as a demon. Their eyes were tainted.
What are your future projects?
With the completion of my medical transition, the need to perform my art through my body has left me. I would like to conclude the world of Anthromorph in a published illustrated book. In this space of freedom I once used to survive, I want to give back to the people that made it possible for me to exist. I want to world build and let people explore this universe in film, book, and video game worlds. In addition filmmaker, Angeliki Aristomenopoulou is currently making a feature-length cinematic documentary film on my life, art, and trans- self-evolution. Participated in Berlinale talents 2022, a European co-production of Greece and Iceland. We can hopefully show something next year.
Withstood the test of time
Artist: Anthromorph / @anthr0morph
Interview: Iro Bournazou / @irbw