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CYFEST 15: Vulnerability


April 15—August 30, 2024


Tue-Sat: 11 am – 6 pm
Sun: 11 am – 5 pm
Mon: Closed



Venice, Italy


CREA - One Contemporary Art Space, Giudecca 211-b

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April 15–19 — Press Opening

April 19, 5:30 pm — Opening Night with performance by Nao Nishihara

April 22, 5 pm — Vulnerability. The panel will bring renowned thinkers and practitioners from the fields of Arts, Science, Technology, Business, and Design to discuss the value of vulnerability.


Samvel Baghdasaryan, Ludmila Belova, Max Blotas, Alexandra Dementieva, Alexey Dymdymarchenko, Yvetta Fedorova, Anna Frants, Elena Gubanova & Ivan Govorkov, Irina Korina, Natalia Lyakh, Anne Marie Maes, Phill Niblock & Katherine Liberovskaya, Tuula Närhinen, Nao Nishihara, Fabrizio Plessi, Mariateresa Sartori, Monica Naranjo Uribe, Where Dogs Run.

CYFEST 15 is organized by CYLAND International MediaArtLab. The project's general sponsor is One Market Data. The project is made possible in collaboration with the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, The Centre for Studies in Russian Art — CSAR, LEONARDO ISAST, Samvel Baghdasaryan Art Foundation, and Weave

CYLAND MediaArtLab presents the International Media Art Festival CYFEST 15.


CYFEST 15: Vulnerability is a series of traveling exhibitions hosted worldwide. CYFEST 15 took place in Yerevan, Armenia and Miami, USA, in 2023, and will continue in Venice, Italy, in 2024.


The (anti)fragility of biological, social and cyberspaces, personal memories, and scientific imagination, the facsimile of rain and indexical, asemiotic writing, artistic exploration of non-human co-authorship, and a connection between knitting patterns and Mandelbrot sets all converge in our new major group exhibition. 


The program features installation, performance, and discursive formats. Key commissions include the multi-disciplinary project Drop Tracer, studying nonhuman agencies and the relationship between images and the natural world by Tuula Närhinen. Ann Marie Maes’ bacterial-grown skins investigate the sculptural potential of organic materials and interfaces between the human and the non-human, the macroscopic and the microscopic. Pioneers of science art, Where Dogs Run collective, look at the terms of the Mandelbrot sets as expressed through knitting patterns in a live performative installation. Mariateresa Sartori, through the frottage technique, gives value to the unseen geology and casts light upon the little-known story of the quarry in Rosà, Vicenza. Elena Gubanova and Ivan Govorkov’s media installation recreates the concept of «Time Density» developed by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kozyrev. This exhibition also features rarely exhibited monotypes «Re-Pressions» by the acclaimed Armenian artist Samvel Baghdasaryan (1956-2017), experimental video art works by Fabrizio Plessi, inflatable fabric sculptures by Irina Korina, architectural and urbanistic objects made of recycled LEDs by Alexandra Dementieva, newly commitioned installation by Anna Frants and much more.

CYFEST, one of the biggest international media art festivals in Eastern Europe, was founded by a group of independent artists and curators in 2007. Since its inception in 2007, CYFEST’s main concerns have been to examine the dialogue between various visual languages and technology cultures, and thus to explore a way of commoning with both art professionals and scientific communities. CYFEST unites artists, curators, educators, engineers, programmers, and media activists all over the world, and creates a platform for mapping, mediation, and documentation of new media art on different regional and international levels.


CYFEST is one of the world’s few nomadic cultural events: throughout the year, festival projects are presented at leading cultural institutions around the world. Each year, the festival program includes several exhibition projects, sound art, video and educational programs.

The first CYFEST constituted a small program of events. The festival exposition opened with Andy Warhol's installation Silver Clouds contributed by the artist's museum in Pittsburg (U.S.A.). The festival has also been memorable by the exhibition History of the E.A.T. 1960–2000, dedicated to the lab Experiments in Art and Technology of engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman. In subsequent years, CYFEST has consistently expanded, becoming more comprehensive and complex. From 2007 to 2023, over 350 artists and collectives participated in it.

Among them are the pioneers of electronic music, some of the more influential experimental musicians in U.S. history: David Rosenboom, Phill Niblock, and Al Margolis; Austrian post-conceptual artist, curator and theoretician of media art, director of Z.K.M. Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe Peter Weibel; artist, founder, and editor-in-chief of e-flux journal Anton Vidokle; innovative video artist Bjørn Melhus; conceptual artist and author of the first total installations Irina Nakhova and others. The festival projects in Venice and New York in 2019-2023, organized in collaboration with Kolodzei Art Foundation, united works of contemporary artists with creations of the XX century classics: Erik Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov, Mihail Chemiakin, Ernst Neizvestny, Francisco Arana Infante, Valentina Povarova, Lydia Masterkova, Komar and Melamid, Faith Ringgold, Chakaia Booker, and others.


Since 2020, CYFEST has collaborated with the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology Leonardo, contributed to the Leonardo Journal and organized LASER Talks. The last issue of Leonardo, put out by the M.I.T. Press, contains texts of the world-renowned French artist whose work enacts the most significant biotechnological and trans-personal metamorphosis in the history of art ORLAN and the internationally recognized multi-disciplinary collective of artists, designers, and writers Slavs and Tatars.

Anne Marie Maes (Belgium), Sensorial Skins, organic textiles, 2017–2022. CYFEST-14, HayArt

Samvel Baghdasaryan


Monotype printed in color with embossing on heavy woven paper, 1995–1996

Courtesy of the artist and Samvel Baghdasaryan Art Foundation


The “Re-pressions” series introduces Samvel Baghdasaryan’s ongoing artistic inquiry into the political imaginaries and fragilities, informing the historical and transitional period of Armenia’s independence in the early 1990s. For the artist, the use of circles as an artistic gesture has, in and of itself, become a signature and device that developed in several phases. The first phase is historical and factual. The initial idea originated from noticing subtext between the lines of Soviet propaganda books and taking notes (the action of using a circle for each piece of uncovered information). In this context, the circles stood for hidden and privately politicized gestures, behaviors, and acts—the main character of the alternative, underground art scene of the late 1970s in Yerevan. In the early 1990s, making circles became abstract, such as the marker of the unknowns yet to come in reference to the 1991 independence of Armenia. However, this abstract quality also indicated an openness and experimental practice. This quality became the primary source for Baghdasaryan’s monotypes, like the three artworks presented here. From 1995–96 the circles gained another artistic function, this time connected with tallying. Each circle as one unit and content, could be pressed identically and equally, and could also hold together the historical and abstract phases. In other words, the pressing of the circles is the various fixations of different times. It is a reference to a systematic and sequential counting, but fragmented, ruptured, and segmental, as the changes in history and politics—what Baghdasaryan as an Armenian subject and artist, experienced in the context of the Soviet and post-Soviet spaces. For example, another variation/series using specifically the 36 circles refers to the aftermath of the politically repressive years under Stalin’s rule. In this case, the concept of repression is artistically and physically pressed and re-pressed. Baghdasaryan’s inquiry into these complex implications of repressions informs his iconic, large-scale multimedia and electromagnetic installation Accident/Experiment (1995), which was created for the first inaugural Armenian Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale.

Ludmila Belova

Eternal Present 

Video Installation, 2023

TV monitor, frame; video [00:06:18, color, sound, loop] 


“Because we go and beauty stays. Because we are headed for the future, while beauty is the eternal present. <...> Aesthetic sense is the twin of one's instinct for self-preservation and is more reliable than ethics.” — Joseph Brodsky, "Watermark"

The fragility and vulnerability of human life, its brevity and finiteness are questions that torment a person, everyone is looking for their own answers. The consolation in this kind of reflection is beauty. The beauty of nature, art as a kind of "beauty". 

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote "For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror". The horror is that beauty remains in the eternal present, in eternity, and man gets only a moment.

The installation "Eternal Present" is a monitor inserted into an antique frame and looks like a painting hanging on the wall. On the "picture" you see, reminiscent of abstraction, a composition of bright spots. There is a close-up view of a fragment of a natural landscape. At a distance of two steps, this picture should surprise with color and composition. But, from a closer  distance, the strange movement that takes place on the screen among these bright spots is recognized and it becomes clear that under the layer of leaves and shells of shrimp, armies of worms move in their eternal movement.


Max Blotas

Crystal clear / Eau de roche

Installation, 2020 

Python; water, infrared camera with embedded LEDs, motorized leaf, pump, Raspberry Pi, 15” LCD display, 12” CRT display


In Crystal Clear / eau de roche, a static image is converted into a live stream through a flickering surface of water to reveal the inner instability of digital archives. 

While generating a fragile yet constant change of state, the artwork questions the idea of duplicity and trickery but also the metaphorical resonance of the concept of conversion through simple natural and digital processes.


Project website


Alexandra Dementieva


Objects made of recycled LED, 2022


Observing Earth from the vantage point of space or cosmos, national borders dissolve, and conflicts diminish in significance. This view underscores the urgent need for a united global society dedicated to safeguarding our planet. Alexandra Dementieva's "Re-Lighting" embraces a creative approach to environmental conservation through the repurposing of industrial products.


"Re-Lighting" features light maps of various cities, each intricately crafted from recycled LED strips sourced from previous light installations. In this innovative transformation, Dementieva turns discarded materials into luminous testaments, inviting viewers to ponder the interconnectedness of our world. The artwork serves as a compelling call to action, urging collective environmental stewardship with a sense of urgency.


Project website


Alexey Dymdymarchenko


Installation, 2019

Sound [00:04:00, stereo, loop], audio player, headphones; series of drawings: graphite pencil, charcoal, wax crayon, pastel on paper, glass


Alexey Dymdymarchenko (1986–2020) is known for his minimalist, amalgam-like artworks that embrace sound, material, and process. Although influenced by his own experience of living in a residential institution (called an internat, PNI in Russian) his work does not refer to particular social conditions but rather takes up the radical possibilities of abstraction. Dymdymarchenko himself was minimally verbal and created each drawing by taking a box of fragments of wax crayons, graphite pencils, or pastels and dumping it out over the paper as a visual, gestural, and auditory process. The resulting composition suggests clusters of marks, dots, dashes, smudges, and scratches, melted into voluminous, cloudy shapes that simultaneously connote sound spectrograms, natural textures or scrawled graffiti. Into these decontextualized, non-hierarchical surfaces constructed via dust and gesture, the artist inscribes his own narratives and creates a new form of autofiction at the time of the resurgence of figuration and identity politics in the arts. 


Crip Ritual, Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough, 2022


Yvetta Fedorova 

The Procession

Paper cut installation, 2024

Paper, mylar


Albert Einstein said, "I love to travel but hate to arrive.”

In her installation “The Procession”, Yvetta Fedorova creates a cavalcade of cutout paper characters accompanying each other on a timeless journey. Where they come from and where they are headed is a mystery. Do we lose the sense of self when we join a group or does belonging to it make us feel less vulnerable and more empowered? Can we maintain our individuality? “The Procession” could be a circus parade, a protest, or a funeral cortège. It is an ode to the unpredictable journey of life.

By layering the paper cut by hand, Yvetta Fedorova combines abstract shapes with vaguely recognizable forms and occasional figures to create a feeling of theatricality and movement with her unique and complex characters. Is there an old queen, a wizard, a prisoner, a skull, and other creations in “The Procession”? The viewer is encouraged to create their own associations and perhaps recognize something familiar.

We cannot predict whom we will encounter during our journey and what is lurking around the corner, but the truth is, we are never alone. 

As Neil Young said: “Sooner or later, it all gets real. Walk on.”


Anna Frants 

Vagaries of Affections

Installation, 2023

Arduino C, Python; Raspberry Pi 3, Arduino controllers; stepper and servo motors, aluminum tubes, steel, PLA plastic and paper acoustic horn, vinyl records, podium

Engineers: Philipp Avetisov, Denis Andreev, Eugene Ovsyannikov, Dmitry Shirokov

Supported by CYLAND MediaArtLab


"Love is a many splendored things...", "Love, I'll be a fool, for you..." — and one could cite many other words of love. Furthermore, if we are to believe Google, quotations about love outnumber quotations on any other subject. In her installation Vagaries of Affections, Anna Frants reflects on this and shows that this feeling could be expressed not just in words, but also in numerous other sounds that are generated in various and never repeated combinations. Some people say that affection is just a chemical reaction, while others believe that we understand that we are in love when love songs finally make sense. This work of the artist demonstrates that, whatever "physicists and lyricists" claim, love is always unpredictable.


Project website


Elena Gubanova & Ivan Govorkov

Time Density

Media Installation, 2021

Video [00:40:15, Ultra HD 4K video (3 840*2 160), 16:9, monochrome video, no sound, loop]

3D printing; Arduino; LCD screen, light sensors, microcontroller board; digital prints on plastic, secondary clocks, a model of Nikolai Kozyrev's torsion balance, a vintage plant stand, spotlight

Engineers: Andrew Strokov, Alexey Grachev

3D engineering design by Alexander Bochkov

Video by Elena Gubanova, 2021

Video editing by Anton Khlabov

Dedicated to the memory of astronomer V.S. Gubanov

Supported by CYLAND MediaArtLab

We used to think of time as a constant value. A vector moving from the past to the future. This so-called stable system is the basis of all life in the world. However, we can assume that it is not an axiom, but one of many concepts related to the structure of our universe. In nature, in our senses, and even in history as we know it, one often finds strange inconsistencies which suggest a different character and structure for the "stable" temporal system.

In his experimental research, the prominent Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kozyrev developed a new concept—time density.  Presumably, time density depends on the processes taking place in nature. Kozyrev tried to prove that the processes associated with a decrease in entropy (e.g. the beginning of blossoming of apple trees in orchards, heat, light, etc.) weaken the time density around them, i.e. as if they absorb time. On the contrary, the density of time is increased and therefore radiated outwards by processes involving an increase in entropy (withering of matter, storms and thunderstorms, loud noises, conflicts, etc.). So it turns out that through their processes, actions, creativity, and emotions, nature and human beings themselves construct the flow and speed of time.

In their project, Elena Gubanova and Ivan Govorkov sought to find a visual expression for Kozyrev's experiments. Above the screen of floating clouds, the artists placed a round clock from the Soviet era, connected to the surface of the screen by light sensors.

The white clouds floating on the screen are a metaphor for society, with its search for happiness, its problems, and its fears. At the same time, they represent nature, with its tranquility and sudden cataclysms. The hands of the clock slow down when the light sensor captures on video a snow-white cloud moving across the sky, a symbol of happiness. Time is "absorbed". And they speed up, "radiating" time when the space of entropy and stagnation appears on the screen in the form of fragments of black sky.


Project website

Elena Gubanova & Ivan Govorkov

Shadow of Emptiness


Arduino, microcontroller, DMX dimmer, spotlights; plastic; paper, pencil, charcoal 

Variable dimensions 

Engineer: Alexey Grachev

Supported by CYLAND MediaArtLab


Elena Gubanova and Ivan Govorkov's project is a continuation of the theme of the birth and destruction of form. The idea of emphasizing incompleteness and understatement is the authors' reflection on the fixed, conditioned world, where everything is precisely named, signed, and ultimately sold.


In this project, the artists incorporate light as the primary variable and graphic material in their work. By changing the lighting, the authors manipulate the viewer's perception. Their objects made of transparent plexiglass, plastic, and graphics disappear entirely in an unlit space or, on the contrary, take on a rigid pattern of shadows, a precise clarity that suddenly shifts with the movement of the light and disappears again, dissolving into the space. It is a performance for light and shadow. The process itself becomes a form of identification. The theme addressed in their work goes beyond the simple play with form. These are questions about the conventionality of language, an illustration of the vulnerability of clearly defining anything—whether it is a sign, space, form, or meaning.


Irina Korina

On Vacation

Installation, 2019

Inflatable fabric sculptures, photo printing, potted plants, furniture 

Commissioned for “The City of Tomorrow” group show at the New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow


In the installation of the "relaxing columns, Irina Korina recalls her childhood in Moscow, trips with her parents to the museums, cartoon characters, caricatures from magazines, children's books and cinema.


Project website


Natalia Lyakh 

Untitled 23 

Video [00:01:13, color, sound, loop], 2023 


Vulnerability: Us and AI

While the fish, as a living system, is out of the ordinary in the error condition, it can also demonstrate profound resistance. When glass breaks, the resulting crystals retain some kinetic energy and continue moving for some time; then, due to inertia, this movement fades to zero. 

During a highly challenging vulnerability test:

On the “Alive” side, there is a sense of fragility, with so many possibilities for the destruction of the complex system. But alongside the vulnerability, there is also a super-ability for restoration, recovery, and development. On the artificial side, in contrast, we are left with a diminishing kinetic impulse.

According to Searle’s “Chinese Room” theory, we can call our vulnerability sensory-semantic and AI's (non?)vulnerability syntactic.

We see on the "alive" side the elasticity and flexibility of “semantics” and on the other side boundless but predeterminеd possibilities of “syntax.”

Should we pose “semantic”, ethical, legal, and psychological questions to AI? 

Shall we expect deep answers from AI? As for now, our semantic, human grounding filters are necessary and inevitable since “semantic” values ultimately determine development, creativity, and discovery.

Do we desire the emergence of an equivalent consciousness in AI in the near future? Do we still retain control over this dimension? 

Shall we increasingly prize our different vulnerabilities, especially the creative ones, and cultivate and test them more and more?


Anne Marie Maes 

Sensorial Skins 

Organic Textiles, 2017–2023


“Sensorial Skins” is a collection of bacterial grown skins in different sizes, colors and thicknesses. The Sensorial Skins embody a remarkable flexibility and softness akin to organic textiles. They adapt to the changes in their environment, exhibiting a responsiveness that defies rigidity. In their pliability, we find an invitation to engage in a dialogue with the material world, acknowledging the agency of these living fabrics. Within their folds, memories are preserved, and memories reside not only in their folds but also in the smells they emit. Such a specific scent can transport us back to a particular moment and evoke a sense of nostalgia.


Project website


Tuula Närhinen

Drop Tracer 

Sound and video installation, 2011 

70 soot-coated glass slides, 4 pigment prints enlarged from the glass slides, 105×155 cm, the Drop Tracer instrument with an unexposed soot coated glass slide, candle, matchbox, HD video [00:49:20, color, sound, loop] 


The Drop Tracer includes 35mm glass slide frames sensitized with soot and exposed to rain, photographic enlargements of the splash patterns made by the raindrops, and a video which allows the audience to experience the duration of the splashes. Falling on the soot-coated slide, raindrops leave traces which remain visible even after the water has evaporated. A contact microphone catches the sound of the collision. 


The work draws from a method devised by the meteorologist Vincent J. Schaefer for recording raindrops' collision with glass. When a drop of rain hits the glass surface, air trapped under the droplet lifts up tiny particles of soot that end up creating explosion patterns on the surface of the slide. 


Project website

Leonardo Journal Article 


Phill Niblock & Katherine Liberovskaya

LockStorm (or Oustside from Inside)  

a collaborative video project, [00:13:23, color, stereo, HD NTSC], 2020


Video by Katherine Liberovskaya

Sound by Katherine Liberovskaya and Phill Niblock


A piece entirely made without leaving home during the Covid lockdown by Katherine Liberovskaya and Phill Niblock over the summer and fall of 2020 in NYC. Glimpses and sounds of a thunderstorm and heavy rain falling outside were captured from indoors through the fire escape railing.

Additional audio was created in the running shower with a stainless steel pot and a hydrophone.


Nao Nishihara

Diligent Machine (Venice) 

Kinetic sound machine, 2024

Mixed media


Diligent Machine (Venezia) shifts our sense of time in our daily lives. It runs very slowly on a railway, with the live sounds of instruments and daily objects. The audience has to wait for the next sound in the silence. In this moment, we sense the richness of those empty spaces. These ideas and processes are rooted in the traditional Japanese value of MA 間.


Nao Nishihara

Sound performance (Venice)

Acoustic sound performance, 2024

Date: April 19, Opening Night Program


My performance is an abstract musical expression in a friendly street performance style, with a drum on my back and a flute in my hand. The music I create is diverse, including contemporary, pop, hardcore punk, and traditional music from around the world. The live acoustic sound and the space prove our existence and sensations.


Fabrizio Plessi 


Video installation, 2016


What is the meaning of Energy, after all?

Changing and reversing the lapidary order of things.

This is Energy

Altering the rational pattern of our perception.

This is Energy

Overturning the very meaning of the work and extending its potential.

This is Energy

Running on unfamiliar terrain using unapproved strategies.

This is Energy

Entering and leaving without fear of the circumscribed borders.

This is Energy

Crossing without complexes the separateness and discomfort of creativity.

This is Energy

The true and authentic Energy, in the end, is only that of the light of a flash in the deep darkness of the night. 

— Fabrizio Plessi


Project website


Mariateresa Sartori 

Sassi. Reading The Rocks

Drawings, Frottages, Photos, Graphite On Stone Paper, Photos On Cotton Paper, 2016

Courtesy of artist and Galleria Michela Rizzo 

Thanks to Istituzione Fondazione bevilacqua La Masa, to Stefano Pasinato (quarry EGAP, Vicenza), to the geologists Andrea Marzoli and Giancarlo Rampazzo


Sartori extracts samples from a gravel quarry and uses them with rigor to create a scientific archive of sorts. The method has no purpose other than to observe the non-functional characteristics of the samples taken. 


What remains of her artistic basis is the freedom to concede to the useless and to plumb the real. Thus we have “Frottages” on normal paper. “Evaluation of the Fine Dust” is the image obtained from spreading glue onto paper made of very smooth stone, on which the dust coming from the stone is applied with a brush. “Distribution of the Sands” is a series of sheets where the artist scatters a small amount of sand in a box, and the grains are arranged according to their weight and calibers. “Thin Sections” are the enlargements of a portion of stone in three different phases. Sartori concedes nothing to her personal inventive faculty or to her emotional one. Her drawings aim to offer a given fact reflecting all the human effort made to keep scientific images pure and, to keep knowledge shared, free from personal frames of mind and uncontrolled movements.


Overcoming our individual exigencies and the notion that everything revolves around us is probably the biggest struggle to overcome in order to move on from an infantile state to a mature one. It is a process that must be honored. We want to have a purpose as it would help us and make us feel less abandoned. However, the practice, the doing, and the knowledge that derives from this discovery is the best way of reacting to the absence of final causes; they are our best consolation and our possible purpose.

Excerpts from the “The Utility of Futile Ends” by Angela Vettese, Mariateresa Sartori. Sassi Stones. Reading the rock.


Project website

Read the book (Eng/It)


Mónica Naranjo Uribe

Cartography of an Impact

Mono-channel Full HD video [00:06:25, sound, loop], 2023

Sound by Daniel Lara Ballesteros


“Cartography of an Impact” explores geological forces beyond Earth’s interior coming from encounters with other cosmic bodies. The crater of Chicxulub in Yucatán, Mexico, left by the impact of a meteorite 65 million years ago, is considered to be related to the prominent formation of “cenotes” (local term for sinkholes).


The impact left a fragility on the bedrock of the Peninsula that concentrates along the external ring of the crater, where many cenotes formed and keep forming. This fragility suggests an active dimension of memory, that stays inscribed in the physical matter of territories and that has an effect on what emerges from it. This invisible state and aliveness of matter is explored in the work through sound and the idea of an echo in matter left after an event that continues having a presence beyond the visible and the audible.


The fictional narrative takes inspiration from the speculative thinking in science, imagining what happens precisely during a meteorite crashing into Earth, whose speed and force are of such magnitude that trigger unprecedented physical and chemical behaviors in matter that are impossible to trace.


The work is part of the research and series of works “The Cosmos in the Interior of the Earth”, developed around the Cenotes in Yucatán, Mexico.


Project website


Where Dogs Run 

Knitting and Crocheting the Mandelbrot Set

Performance, 2007–2024, work in progress  

Threads for knitting, text documentation of the process, knitting hook

Performers: Anna Asvarisch, Yevgeniya Titarenko, Vasilisa Litvinenko

A woman is knitting the Mandelbrot set converted into a knitting pattern. She is bounding the void. 


The Mandelbrot set can be called a boundary of escaping to infinity. One chooses a point not far from zero and then inputs two coordinates —x and y —, into two simple expressions. A resulting two numbers, the coordinates of a new point, are substituted into the same expression, and so on. So if the initial point is lucky (or not so “lucky”) to be within the Mandelbrot set, then, passing through the equation, all the subsequent points stay close to the origin. If the initial point is even a little bit beyond the set's boundary, then its descendants will not hold a position; they will lose touch with the origin point and fly to infinity. The coordinates of the iterated points will only grow and will never return to the vicinity of zero, where their ancestors dwell. 


The boundary of the Mandelbrot set cannot be described by even the most complex of equations. It is always generated by trial and error. One takes a point, performs repeated calculations, and sees whether the results remain bounded. It is impossible to check each point, as their number is even greater than the standard (countable) infinity, which in our childhood, used to begin somewhere beyond a million or a billion. The generated boundary is always approximate: one million of points is definitely inside the set, another million of points is definitely outside it, and the boundary is somewhere in-between. Any fragment of the boundary, even smallest one, looks similar to the entire boundary. That's why it is called a self-similar shape, or a fractal. It is impossible to generate and draw it without a computer. 


There are many structures similar to the Mandelbrot set that exist in nature: blood vasculature, coastlines, etc. Our interest here is the attitude towards the indeterminable boundary. What is better: to stay inside and be marked black (the points within the set are traditionally marked black), or to stay outside knowing that one will have to fly to infinity anyway, or to exist on the boundary and infinitely self-similar?


Project website

Fabrizio Plessi, Energy, Video installation, 2016. CYFEST-15, HayArt Cultural Center. Phot

Samvel Baghdasaryan


Samvel Baghdasaryan (Yerevan, Armenia, 1956–2017) was a contemporary artist and innovative educator who played a pivotal role in establishing the contemporary Armenian art scene and experimental institutional frameworks. As a member of the first generation of critical artists to emerge in the late-1980s and early-1990s during the independence of Armenia, his artistic practice forged relations between various movements, developments, and transformations—technological, material, aesthetic, socio-political, and cultural. From 1983, Baghdasaryan directed Fine Arts Studio-College at the Yerevan National Center of Aesthetics, where he co-founded the Department of Fine Arts, Armenian Open University (1999–2014). In 1995–96, he actively contributed to establishing the Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, while in 1995, he was one of two artists who presented the first Armenian National Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale. In 1997, within the framework of Documenta 10 in Kassel, Baghdasaryan implemented the “Geo-Kunst expedition” action with a group of other Armenian contemporary artists. Key exhibitions include Moscow–Yerevan: The Question of the Ark (Yerevan, 1995), Great Atrophy (Yerevan, 1999), Adieu Parajanov (Vienna, 2003), and Soviet AgitArt: Restoration (Istanbul, 2007; Bialystok, 2011). Collections include Chicago “Vicky Hovhannisyan” Contemporary Art Gallery, Yerevan Museum of Modern Art, and Moscow Museum of Modern Art. His artistic legacy and archive are managed by the “Samvel Baghdasaryan” Art Foundation.


Max Blotas


Max Blotas is a visual artist. He graduated from les Beaux-Arts de Paris and the Slade School of Fine Arts. He currently lives and works in Paris (France).

Max’s work lies at the intersection of sculpture, video, and painting, which he combines in multimedia installations to explore the underlying forces at work between science and beliefs. His hybrid artworks, between poetry and autonomous mechanical devices, recreate patterns and motifs from contemporary and ancient mythologies to reveal their inner secret nature.


Ludmila Belova


Ludmila Belova is an artist and curator. Ludmila Belova graduated from the Abramtsevo Art and Industry School (Moscow Region, USSR). She works with video, sound, painting, and photography. Ludmila Belova investigates issues of memory, space and time; studies the impact of new technologies on the human being in art practices; makes the viewer a participant of the art process through interactivity. Her works have been exhibited in Europe, USA, Russia and Asia. Participant of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2005, 2011, Russia), exhibitions parallel to the Venice Biennale (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, Italy) and the parallel program of the Manifesta 10 Biennale (St. Petersburg, Russia, 2014). Winner of the prize “50 Bestern” ZKM (2000, Karlsruhe, Germany) and of the Sergey Kuryokhin Award (2017, Russia) for “Best Curatorial Project”. Participant of more than 50 local and international group exhibitions and festivals. Her works are held in the collections of the Russian Museum, the Anna Akhmatova Museum, Erarta Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Kolodzei Art Foundation (New York, USA), and in private collections in Switzerland, Germany and Russia. She lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia and Montenegro.


Alan Boldon


Alan Boldon is the Founder and Director of Weave, and the Managing Director of Dartington Trust. As an artist he has exhibited throughout Europe, USA, Canada and SE Asia. He gives keynote addresses all over the world and advised towns, cities, NGOs and Universities in many countries. His main areas of interest are the arts, leadership, learning innovation and placemaking. He is currently Co-Chair of the Leonardo LASER committee.


Alexandra Dementieva

Alexandra Dementieva is an artist. She studied journalism in Moscow, USSR, and fine arts in Brussels, Belgium. Her principal interest as an artist is the use of social psychology, perception theory, and behaviorism in media installations that combine dance, music, cinema, and performance. She organizes LASER Talks Brussels and teaches at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Brussels, Belgium). Dementieva received the first prize for the best mono-channel video at VAD Festival (2005, Girona, Spain). She is a participant of numerous exhibitions in major international cultural institutions, including Rubin Museum (New York, USA), MACRO Museum (Rome, Italy), Centro de la Imagen Museum (Mexico City, Mexico), the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art (Russia), and others. She lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.


Alexey Dymdymarchenko


Alexey Dymdymarchenko (1986–2020) was an artist known for his minimalist, amalgam-like objects that embraced sound, material, and process. His works have been shown in exhibitions and festivals, including Crip Ritual at Doris McCarthy Gallery, University of Toronto Scarborough (2022, Canada), and the CYFEST 12: ID Sound Program (2019, St. Petersburg, Russia). He is represented by the Perspektivy Art Studio (Perspektiven e.V.) and an independent group of activists and friends.


Yvetta Fedorova


Yvetta Fedorova is a New York City based artist and illustrator who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Yvetta Fedorova is a Pratt Institute graduate. Yvetta’s work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, Print’s Regional Design Annual, Society of Publication Designers and the Art Directors Club. Yvetta’s comic strips and artwork have regularly appeared in publications all over the world, includingThe New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time magazine, and many others. Yvetta worked as a political and cultural graphic journalist for Internazionale Magazine, based in Rome. As a fine artist, Yvetta Fedorova exhibits her cutouts that are made with an X-acto knife and paper. With her paper cutouts she creates video and site-specific installations and collaborated on an animation based on her current installation “The Procession”. Recently, Yvetta Fedorova had a one person show at Delaware Valley Arts Alliance.


Anna Frants


Anna Frants is an artist, curator in the field of media art. She graduated from the Vera Mukhina Higher School of Art and Design (Leningrad, USSR) and Pratt Institute (New York, USA). Founder of the nonprofit cultural foundation Cyland Foundation Inc. Cofounder of CYLAND MediaArtLab and CYFEST. Frants’ interactive installations have been showcased at Museum of Art and Design (New York, USA), Video Guerrilha Festival (Brazil), Manifesta 10 Biennale (2014, St. Petersburg, Russia), Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Chelsea Art Museum (New York, USA), Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin, Germany), Hatcham Church Gallery, Goldsmiths, University of London (UK), Dartington Estate (UK), Ca’ Foscari Zattere Cultural Flow Zone (Venice, Italy), MAXXI Museum (Rome, Italy), National Arts Club (New York, USA) and at other major venues all over the world. The artist’s works are held in the collections of the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Museum of Art and Design (New York, USA), Sergey Kuryokhin Center for Modern Art (St. Petersburg, Russia) and Kolodzei Art Foundation (New York, USA) as well as in numerous private collections. She lives and works in Miami, USA.


Elena Gubanova


Elena Gubanova is an artist and curator. She graduated from the Ilya Repin State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (Leningrad, USSR). She works in the fields of painting, sculpture, installation, and video. As a curator, she is engaged in CYLAND MediaArtLab projects. Lecturer in the “Young Artist’s School” at the Pro Arte Foundation (St. Petersburg, Russia) in 2020–2021. Recipient of the Sergey Kuryokhin Award (Russia) for “Best Work of Visual Art” (2012, together with Ivan Govorkov) and “Best Festival in the Field of Contemporary Art“ (2018). Her works have been exhibited at major Russian and foreign venues, including the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Museum of Moscow (Russia), Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), University Ca’ Foscari (Venice, Italy), Goldsmiths, University of London (UK), Chelsea Art Museum (New York, USA), Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin, Germany) and National Arts Club (New York, USA). Participant of the Manifesta 10 parallel program (2014, St. Petersburg, Russia) and several exhibitions parallel to the Venice Biennale (since 2011, Venice, Italy); frequent participant and curator of CYFEST. Since 1990, she has worked in collaboration with Ivan Govorkov. She lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Ivan Govorkov


Ivan Govorkov is an artist. He graduated from the Ilya Repin State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (Leningrad, USSR). He is engaged in philosophy, psychology, painting, drawing, sculpture, and installations; he works at the junction of traditional art and cutting-edge technologies. Professor of drawing at the Ilya Repin Institute (St. Petersburg, Russia). Recipient of the Sergey Kuryokhin Award (2012, Russia) for “Best Work of Visual Art” (together with Elena Gubanova). His works have been exhibited at major Russian and foreign venues, including the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Museum of Moscow (Russia), University Ca’ Foscari (Venice, Italy), Chelsea Art Museum (New York, USA), Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin, Germany) and Sky Gallery 2 (Tokyo, Japan). Participant of the Manifesta 10 parallel program (2014, St. Petersburg, Russia) and several exhibitions parallel to the Venice Biennale (since 2011, Venice, Italy); frequent participant of CYFEST. Since 1990, he has worked in collaboration with Elena Gubanova. He lives and works in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Irina Korina

Irina Korina graduated from Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in 2000 (faculty of stage design). She also studied at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow, and in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. As a stage designer, she collaborated with many Russian theaters, from the beginning of 2000-s started working in cinema. In 2009 Irina Korina was one of participants of the exhibition in the Russian pavilion at 53rd Venice Biennale. In 2017 her installation was presented within the main project of the 57th Venice Biennale. Her solo shows were presented in GRAD foundation (London, UK), Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York, USA), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), within Steirischer Herbst festival (Graz, Austria). Korina took part in numerous group shows, including M HKA museum (Antwerp, Belgium), Saatchi gallery (London, UK), Kühlhaus space (Berlin, Germany).


Katherine Liberovskaya

Katherine Liberovskaya is a Canadian intermedia artist based in New York City. Involved in experimental video since the 80s, she has produced numerous single-channel video art pieces, video installations, and video performances, as well as works in other media that have been shown around the world. Since 2001 her work predominantly focuses on the intersection of moving image with sound/music in various both ephemeral and fixed forms (projections, installations, performances), notably through collaborations with composers and sound artists in improvised live video+sound concert situations where her live visuals seek to create improvisatory "music" for the eyes. In addition to her art work she curates events in experimental video/film, sound/music and A/V performance (primarily Screen Compositions since 2005 and OptoSonic Tea since 2006). In 2014 she completed a PhD in art practice entitled "Improvisatory Live Visuals: Playing Images Like a Musical Instrument" at the Universite du Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).


Nataliya Lyakh

Nataliya Lyakh is a multimedia artist. Passionate about painting, sculpture and photography from early childhood, she graduated with a Ph.D. in neuro-linguistics, focusing on brain-asymmetry and speech processing. Her scientific career did not hinder her artistic development — she continues to experiment with photography and video art. Since 2000, Natalia Lyakh has devoted her full-time attention to photography, video art, short films and video installations, working in Paris, Stockholm, Istanbul, Milano, Rome, New York and London, participating in different art shows and festivals. Her work can be found in private and public collections, including the State Russian Museum. Influenced by her former scientific research, she invites viewers to discover the magic dimensions, abstractions, hidden in the simplest objects that surround us, as seen through the lens of a microscope, the prism of binoculars, a periscope or a kaleidoscope. Her creations with plexiglas, aluminium, video or video installation are invitations to discover our daily life objects or situations with aesthetic, innovative and perplexing treatment. She lives and works in Paris, France.


Anne Marie Maes


Anne Marie Maes is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in botany and visual anthropology. She lives and works in Brussels. Her practice combines art and science with a particular interest in ecosystems and alchemical processes. She works with various biological, digital, and classical media, including living organisms. In doing so, she focuses on the process and creates the ideal conditions for self-generating art. On the roof of her studio in Brussels, she has created a field laboratory and experimental garden where she works with insects and bacteria, studying the processes that nature uses to create forms. For many of her projects, she collaborates with fablabs and university research labs. Her long-term projects “Connected Open Greens,” “Bee Agency” and “Laboratory for Form and Matter” provide the framework for a wide range of artworks, all at the intersection of art and ecology. She has been awarded several prizes and mentions, Ars Electronica, among others. She has exhibited widely as a solo artist and in group exhibitions around the world.


Phill Niblock


Phill Niblock (1933–2024) was an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the mid-60's he made music and intermedia performances that have been shown at numerous venues around the world. Since 1985, he was the director of the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York (, where he was an artist/member since 1968. He was the producer of Music and Intermedia presentations at EI since 1973 and the curator of EI's XI Records label. Phill Niblock's music is available on the XI, Moikai, Mode, Matiere Memoire, Room 40, and Touch labels. DVDs of films and music are available on the Extreme label and Von Archive. From 1971 to 1998 he was a professor of film, video and photography at The College of Staten Island, the City University of New York. In 2014, he was the recipient of the prestigious John Cage Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.


Tuula Närhinen


Tuula Närhinen is an artist and researcher in visual arts. Tuula Närhinen holds an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and an MSc in Architecture from the Helsinki University of Technology. In 2016 she gained a Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Helsinki University of the Arts. Re-adapting methods and instruments derived from natural sciences, Närhinen facilitates visual renderings of natural phenomena. Alongside tracings and recordings, her installations showcase the processes of inscription and the DIY instruments implicated. Her works are represented in the collections of the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the Helsinki Art Museum. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland.


Nao Nishihara

Nao Nishihara is an artist and active practitioner of sound activities, sound art, performance, recording, and instrument production. An object or human body inevitably produce sound. Nao explores these sounds and attempts to show them through their activities, by using self-built machines and his own body.


Fabrizio Plessi


Fabrizio Plessi is a pioneer of Italian video art and is the first to have used a television monitor as material which runs a relentless water and digital fire flow (his first video installation goes back to 1974). His numerous participations in the Venice Biennale since 1970 and in film festivals and international dance have enabled him to create innovative and anticipative art experimentations.  

Internationally he exhibited at Documenta, in the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao, Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, IVAM in Valencia, MoCA in San Diego, Ludwig Museum in Budapest and Koblenz, and The Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. 

His site-specific installation “The Golden Age”, was inaugurated on the facade of the Correr Museum in Venice in 2020 (thanks to the contribution of the Maison Dior). In Milan in 2021, the first monumental-scale video sculpture was inaugurated at the Generali Tower, “The Seas of the World—Homage to Zaha Hadid”. For Dior, he created “MOSAICA”, a unique piece of the iconic Lady Dior bag.

Invited by the Brescia Musei Foundation to design and create an impressive widespread exhibition, “Plessi marries Brixia”, which is dedicated to the archaeological and historical-artistic heritage of Roman Brescia and the Santa Giulia Museum and can be visited until January 2024.

Plessi was one of the founders of the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne, where he was also Professor of Humanization of Technologies and Electronic Sceneographies from 1990 to 2000. 


Mariateresa Sartori 


Mariateresa Sartori is an artist. Her research revolves around three thematic fulcrums: empirical scientific method; behavioral dynamics, often in relation to neurosciences; music and sound in relation to language. She often collaborates with experts from the various disciplines she explores geologists, theoretical physicists, linguists, musicologists, musicians, singers, actors, botanists, and ornithologists. She has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries in Italy and abroad, including the Therese Giehse Halle, Münchner Kammerspiele, Habibi Kiosk, (Munich), Stanislavsky Electrotheatre (Moscow); Chopin Museum (Warsaw, Poland), Cairn Centre d'art (Digne-les-Bains, France), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK), Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Venice, Italy), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Russia), Palazzo Fortuny (Venezia, Italy), Museum of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg, Russia), MACRO Museum (Rome, Italy), Hangar Bicocca (Milano), Les Ateliers d’Artistes (Marseille, France) and many more. Lives and works in Venice, Italy.


Mónica Naranjo Uribe


Mónica Naranjo Uribe is a visual artist and an editor. Mónica is graduated from Visual Arts and Graphic Design in Medellín (Colombia) and the master program Communication Art and Design from the Royal College of Art in London (UK). Her geological oriented artistic research has been focused on rocks and underground formations that she explores in particular geographies and contexts. She combines scientific and intuitive perspectives based on her encounters with territories, to create site-specific interventions, videos, installations, sculptures, drawings and publications. She is founder and editor of Nómada Ediciones, an independent publishing project specialized on narratives of places through cartographies, artist books and zines.


Where Dogs Run


The Where Dogs Run group was created in Ekaterinburg (Russia) in 2000. Group members: Natalia Grekhova, Alexey Korzukhin, Olga Inozemtseva. Their artistic practice lies primarily in a field of technological art and uses a wide range of multimedia: video, robotics, hybrid installations, performance and DIY. The group combines innovative visual techniques with scientific research instruments and low tech aesthetics. Most projects by Where Dogs Run deal with serious scientific problems: the problem of three-body system, machine learning, natural language processing, virtual modeling, olfactory pollution, chemical communication.

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