[RS Gallery] • AKAirways is an art group based in New York City, led by Anakin Koenig. Their focus is sculpture/installation centered on inflatable objects. The installations are transient and ephemeral, dependent on interaction and engage the environment in which they are deployed. These dynamic works are constantly changing and evolving. The group's work has been presented in a variety of contexts, from the Museum of Modern Art to underground raves, from NASA to the Whitney Biennale.
MR: What's your personal mantra?
AK: Think inflatable.
What does the role of Artist mean to you?
Inspire others as others have inspired me.
What is the driving force behind your creativity?
The search for the best way to live happy. This includes making my neighbors happy too. It's a feedback loop, an exercise in which it is ok to cheat and the only person you cannot lie to is yourself. I start by a simple gesture: I make large shapes which I present in different contexts and learn from every experience.
What transformative experiences have influenced your life and how has that manifested in your work?
In my early teens I discovered by myself that I needed to pop my ears regularly to be able to dive deeper under sea level. I made that discovery because I needed to recover one of my flippers that had sunk to the bottom of the sea. That morning, for the first time, I ventured 50 feet in apnea under the surface of the sea to recover my belonging. This event made me realized several things:
- The solution to our problem is within ourselves;
- The solution is not visible and probably counter-intuitive;
- We have access to unfathomable experiences if we are creative.
How long does it take you on average to complete a piece of work, and do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
If by "complete" you mean "design and make" I would say about two weeks, although pieces that are made by a third party take longer, usually a couple of months. If by "complete" you mean "reach the point where I feel that a piece cannot get better even if I keep working on it" I would say that it takes years. Most of my pieces have not yet reached this point of completion but I make daily progress and usually work on several pieces in parallel. I have rarely reached that point though. As I get a better understanding of materials and techniques to visualize air my goals and interests morph. This results in an organic evolution of my body of work. The ephemeral quality of my work informs and resonates with my method.
Why should people check out your work?
To be inspired and get the urgent desire to create something of their own that very night.
How does your work affect Consciousness, and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
We (humanity, the West, me?) need to open-up, acknowledge our humble state, break away from taboos, get rid of our fears, embrace radical exploration of ourselves and display strength through humility. After those first steps are accomplished we will be in a better position to let our consciousness evolve. I am confident this will happen and I think we are slowly going in the good direction albeit some drastic set-backs. My work points in this direction. I am concerned that it still only takes a couple of individuals to bring the project of a large group to a halt. We need to devise robust systems that are not based on confrontation but on surrender and acceptance.