back to motherland

3 month passed since I’m back from the US, one of them I spend in Indonesia and two in different cities in Russia. And it is only now when I can really evaluate how ArtsLink experience influenced my practice.
The most important thing for me is how my collaborative activities shifted towards a more symbiotic, synergic process. During my residence several big-scale projects emerged and it was quite new to me, to be dependent on many people’s will to help me solve things. I have always been used to push things forward on my own, like a blinkered horse, therefore sometimes missing the point of what I do and at what costs, driven by “I want this amazing thing happen now”. Incredible hospitality of Lee Montgomery, David Beinig and other wonderful people at the University of New Mexico kind of opened my eyes. They made me realise that in many cases I was obsessed with being interesting to people, but not so often willing to be interested in something myself. Spending time and talking with all the wonderful people I met during  CEC ArtsLink residency helped me a lot to rebuilt my relations to the ones near me in a meanungful way.

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Rudy Montgomery on Oliver’s birthday party

One of the most interesting projects, that emerged during the residency is The VR Van
I was able to continue the Global Friendship Workshop series, making them really global. Among many of them I would mention collaboration with Ekaterina Nenasheva and Mikhail Levin. They invited me to try implementing VR technologies to help people who live in psycho-neurological boardings without any chance to interact with outer world. Ekaterina and Mikhail are doing amazing job at the very complicated knots of social issues and I am happy to be able to work with them

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Workshop in psycho-neurological boarding in Moscow

Another personal discovery from the VR Van project for me was that the VR medium is really accesible to any audience. Although the technology itself is not that simple, people of any age, gender, nationality, education or whatever get the point really easy, and get engaged from the very beginning

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Workshop in Murmansk at Inversia festival

Second project, that I would like to mention is Best Memories Revised which emerged at the University of New Mexico in dialogue with Claudia X Valdes. It is a platform that addresses one of the notorious drawbacks of our gadget society – withdrawal of the experience in attempts to capture and share it.
When I was back to Moscow, we designed a wearable headset, which consists of an EEG device and a spherical camera. A pocket-size PC with custom software is using EEG data to control the camera and automatically upload images from it to social networks. You no longer think about taking your phone from the pocket to share something amazing with your friends – just get excited and everything happens automatically on the background. The project is ongoing, more info to be announced soon

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working prototype in our studio

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prototype in action

And the last thing I want to mention as born during CEC ArtsLink residency is an ongoing experiment with music and Virtual Reality. It is an improvisation for 3 strings and vocals in VR. Musicians are located in 4 isolated rooms, and at the same time are co-present in a virtual space which they sonify in realtime. Their 4 separate sound channels are mixed altogether in the main room, where 2 visual artists listen to it and change the VR space for musicians in realtime, therefore creating a constant audiovisual feedback loop

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I would like to thank everyone I met during those 2 wonderful months in US, especially:
The University of New Mexico for its amazing facilities and specialists
Lee Montgomery and Jessamyn Lovell for hosting me
Ani Christina and friends for taking me out
Ayrton Chapman and Russell Bauer for inspiring collaboration
David Beining for all his help
Joe Dean for giving away his 1981 Chevy G20
GRAFT art collective
FUSE Makerspace (Matt, Dave, Steve and others)
patient Maxim Tumenev and Fritzie Brown from CEC ArtsLink
Joe Davis for hosting me in Boston
Steven Patterson and Scott Greenwald at MIT Media Lab
Andreas Mershin at MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
Nathaniel Guttierez, Feather Metsch and  many many other wonderful people

 

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Santa Ana, CA

The time is flying by so fast, I guess it’s about time I shared my residency experience. I’ve been working on a few things – some of them I already started back home, in Poland, some are a result of my Santa Ana experience. I’ve been observing and listening to people and I found myself writing down stories I have heard, experienced or which happened in the past, but were triggered by the present. On the second week of the residency I threw a “storytelling party” for the residents of Grand Central Art Center where I gave away my short stories in exchange for new ones. The rules were simple as you can see below:

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At first people were reluctant to write anything, but after a while they really opened up:

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Below are some of my stories I would give to people in return. They are combined with print screens from old movies. I have a huge collection of those and up until now I didn’t really know how to use them. At the moment I’m finishing a project for a little book with short stories I’m planning to print out and give away to people.

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I’ve also made some footage that would capture the residency experience; it’s only a sequence I’m planning to later incorporate in a video piece I’m working on. Below are some stills from the footage.

And of course I draw a lot, my studio walls are pretty busy:

 

imag8177_dsc0130imag8186The studio looks messy, I tidied it up a little for the open studio visit since on every first Saturday of each month there’s an Artwalk event in Santa Ana. Artist and craftsmen open their studios for visitors. This November it was combined with the Day of the Dead which was an amazing experience. I knew about it, but seeing it was beyond my expectations. People would set up altars to pay their respect to their family members of friends who have passed away. Some of them were really personal with photos and items that belonged to the dead ones. They would also put their favourite food on the altar. In Poland death is always sad, western Europe pretends it doesn’t exist. I think it says a lot about the culture – the way it deals with death. The experience was very touching and comforting.

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Art-wise I was lucky enough to go to San Francisco and visit SFMOMA and an amazing show by Tom Sachs at Yerba Buena:

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Today started the last week of the residency. I still have a lot of work to do, people to see, places to visit. I wish it would all last longer.

 

 

Demanding Global Friendship

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10 days ago I met Joe. Joe is from Santa-Fe, he is a media artist and engineer. When he heard about my project, he told that he will give me his 1981 Chevy Van for free. The engine was in a good shape, but the transmission had to be replaced. This is quite an intricate work, so I was happy to learn that it could be done for 1600$ – the money I could invest in the project that time.

But after it was done and I took a ride from SF to Albuquerque it was clear that theres plenty of effort, time and money to be put into it. Big thanks to all my friends supporting me here.

 

And so I spent a week at the Fuse Makerspace – wonderful facility supported by NM government, which provides open access to lessons, tools and space for various kinds of creativity. They helped me a lot, without them the project would not be possible. Even the security guards were helping when they learned that it is a Russian artist working on a project promoting Global Friendship.

I never did car repairs before but it turned out to be quite a simple and fun thing. The most difficult was diagnostics – this is where guys from Fuse helped a lot. And they also gave a lot of good instructions of proper treatment.

The VR Van project has a WEBSITE now with all the info and an open call to participate

And we are running the first Global Frienship workshop in Albuquerque coming Sunday

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Landscapes and Nudes

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First Friday of every month the Roosevelt point where I live floods with people and different art, music, food and entertainment activities. There are thousands of people outside to see performances by different street artists and check the galleries in this art district.

This was also the day scheduled for my public presentation in Phoenix. ASU Art Museum have a Project space where visiting artists can experiment and be free in their way of presentation. It’s really a space where I felt safe to experiment and risk.

Landscape and Nudes is an exhibition that I created for the city and this space. It combines two formally separate works: a video about Phoenix and a series of anthropomorphic figurines, created during the CEC Artslink residency at ASU Art Museum. Both landscapes and nudes are well-explored gеnres throughout art history up until today. I used contemporary technologies like 3D printing and modelling, along with principles of structural video to discover contemporary meaning within these formats.

In search for people the video work explores the peculiarities of a new city build in the middle of a desert.

The 3D models are part of a new project that is concerned with ideas from feminism and from Donna Haraway’s essays. I am exploring the creation of a new mythology based on artefacts found on the internet. As a starting point, I took existing sexist insults that are used to dismiss, belittle or insult women and which are often based on animals, suchs as pussy, cow or pig. I researched online archives of 3D scans of ancient sculptures of women and of animals, and used these materials to create new composite images that were later 3D printed.

Both works are combined in print collages where the 3D models of the figurines are integrated in the city environment and claim their right to be part of the public space.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the team of the ASU Art Museum, Rossitza Todorova, Estrella Payton, Julio Morales and Andrew Noble that supported and helped create this work.

Athens, Ohio

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I decided to post about the residency at this point. I hope it will be interesting.

I’ve been trying to finish my projects as a visiting artist of Athens International Film and Video Festival. Festival director David Golagiovanni has been helping me at everything I need. My life has been revolving around the downtown of Athens where the famous Ohio University resides. Continue reading

Half way through

Time is flying! I met amazing people, saw great art, had interesting discussions and am making appointments to meet everyone again while suddenly realizing there is not that much time left and I still have to make it to Memphis (this weekend), Atlanta (next weekend) and finish the video I started.

Nashville is proving to be more then what one expects. The honkytonk bars downtown are not that present in daily life, but there are there as well. Also an amazing amounts of cowboy boots. I must admit I was tempted but then thought I would look very strange in them already in New York, not to even mention Zagreb.

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I don’t really spend time shopping for boots. A typical day would include some video shoots for the work that is slowly taking shape.

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cluttering my new desk more and more

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and then going out in the evenings to listen to talks, or meet the Nashville scene.

Hrag Vartanian, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic held a lecture at the Vanderbilt and we all had a dinner at Jana Harper’s house. I’m always surprised how often it happens that one finds friends in common. The arts scene all over the world seems to be quite interconnected and that is definitely a good thing.