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.
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
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
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
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
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