Galina Alferova, Semyon Koltsov (Russia), Karin Andersen (Germany), Anestis Anestis (Greece), Grigory Kirgizov (Russia), Alina Kugush (Russia), Jeremy Couillard (USA), Alexandra Lerman (USA–Russia), Nataliya Lyakh (France–Russia), Alexander Pogrebnyak, Anton Shchegolev (Russia), Danita Pushkareva (Russia), Miriam Simun (USA)
Elena Gubanova (Russia), Anna Frants (Russia-USA), Christiana Kazakou (Greece-UK), Victoria Ilyushkina (Russia)
Art-mediation tour by Alina Kugush. Photo: Mikhail Grigoriev
Who are you, and who am I?
Throughout 2021, CYLAND media laboratory held classes with students of two leading schools of modern art of Petersburg — the master’s program of Art & Science at the ITMO University, and participants of the “School of the Young Artist” program at the PRO ARTE. Three of these students were selected to present their projects at AIR gallery (Art.ITMO.Residency). This was an excellent collaboration experience and a unique opportunity to show the results of their study at an international multimedia art forum.
The theme of “Cosmos and Сhaos” offered numerous interpretations of classic concepts for the modern artist. As the outstanding scholar Aleksey Losev wrote in “The History of Ancient Aesthetics”, “the cosmos is wonderful, but this is the result not only of its universal reason, but also of its fateful purpose. Today it is wonderful, but tomorrow it collapses and becomes hideous. And all of this is also wonderful, lawful, self-evident and quite natural”. Will we be able to deal with the cosmos of the past that is collapsing before our eyes, and accept a new purpose and new concept of beauty?
The exhibition project “Who are you, and who am I?” features works that investigate problems of human self-definition in the era of the fourth industrial revolution. Primarily, these works take a critical view of events. Is everything programmed, following the logic of algorithms? The dominance of cliches and dependence on technology represent a new stage of unfreedom added to the old order.
An analysis of user experience and “model thinking” was given in the works of PRO ARTE school graduate Alina Kugush and computer game artist Jeremy Couillard. Anestis Anestis studies the possibility of defining life as a system that can reproduce itself independently. Miriam Simun and Karin Andersen investigate the concept of posthumanism, questioning prospects of human survival in the future. Danita Pushkareva shows how dreams of the future can become absurd, where an insane printer reproduces chaos. Alexander Pogrebnyak prepares the “sound of the ether” in a secret laboratory resembling a shady den of the Soviet era. Alexandra Lerman experiments with the real and virtual, changing their places by using Google Maps to lay routes through dreams.
Some of the works presented at the exhibition appeal to visual images and metaphors of the modern age, contemplating the mutual relation between the living and the non-living, emphasizing the beauty of dynamic structures and fractal systems. Natalya Lyakh creates her own aesthetics of perception and a model for organizing chaos. Galina Alferova, a graduate of the Art & Science master’s program, and the scientist Semyon Koltsov study the self-organization of complex dynamic systems. The student project by Grigory Kirgizov demonstrates the complexity of simple rules; in his hybrid sculpture form and pattern erase the boundary between the artificial and natural.
We expected to see new aesthetics and new beauty in the artists’ works. But the projects showed that the transitional period of implanting technologies into human beings is continuing, and that the harmonious cosmos of a new world is still a very long way off.
— Elena Gubanova, festival curator