Xenoangel: Sam Twidale & Marija Avramovic

The Zone

FILE Sao Paulo 2022 | Avant Digital Art
Electronic Language International Festival


Access The Zone


The Zone is an interactive animation artwork which takes the science-fiction novel “Roadside Picnic”, by Arcady and Boris Strugatsky, as it’s starting point. Players are invited to explore The Zone alongside the Stalkers (AI scavengers who can no longer resist the call of objects) in search of Swag – hidden objects, phenomenon and fragments of text which are littered throughout. The piece unfolds in the form of an experimental essay and features text contributed by writer and curator Amy Jones. It is a playful exploration on themes such as transformation, connection with the environment, integration, object-oriented ontology and vibrant matter.

We are scavengers of virtual worlds. Consensual kin under constant pressure of phenomena and anomalies. We are mutually symbiotic best friends that shift through mediums, forms and roles – virtually and IRL.
We began working together as Xenoangel in 2017. Marija Avramovic studied painting in Belgrade and then at Beaux Arts de Paris (ENSBA). Sam Twidale studied popular music at Liverpool University and taught himself to code. Together we work at the boundary between the artificial and the real, creating virtual worlds populated by AI characters and spirits as well as paintings, texts and physical installations, all of which inhabit the same playful universe.
Our intimacy is cross-cultural and every language we speak is a hybrid. Naturally, our work is the reflection of it. It’s about creating alternative worlds, digital or not, dystopian or utopian, not human-centered. It’s about transformation, shapeshifting, existing in multiple realities.
Our collaborative works follow a continuously developing thread of research and are inspired by various cultural and fictional sources, ranging from Sartre’s Huis Clos (After Intelligence, 2018), Kurosawa’s Dreams and (techno-)animism (Sunshowers, 2019), Roadside Picnic and vibrant matter (The Zone, 2019), interdependence and the symbiotic real (Supreme, 2021).
Our practice is playful and collaborative with projects growing from the scattered seeds of shared fascinations of fiction, film, video games, theory and the future. Seeds grow into sketches and the lucky ones become the basis of our next imaginary world. We live and work in Paris, France.