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One Out of Many

The Digital Art Observatory (DAO) Residency began at the end of summer 2021. Artists were paired up, each team counting one artist based in Ukraine and another based in the United Kingdom. The residency’s mission was twofold: to look at the practical as well as the conceptual problems and possibilities of a cross-cultural creative digital collaboration.

 

Each two artists set out to explore what it is like to carry out an artistic project via two screens situated on the farthest ends of what may, or indeed may not, be considered culturally and continentally Europe. As they started to work with their hands and minds, the mission of the residency resurfaced, and the artists confronted two hurdles:

 

1. How will we communicate? What tangible tools and mediums will we use? What software? What messaging apps? What online drives and what platforms?

2. What will we communicate? What ideas and feelings will we attempt to conceptualize, first to each other, and then to an audience?

 

These two points stood at the heart of DAO. It’s possible to say that the first is answered by the Whitepaper, and the second by the exhibition One Out of Many - the former offering practical guidance for online artistic collaboration, the latter displaying the products of this collaboration. However, it may also be argued that these matters were answered in tandem with each other, the practical and the conceptual always inextricably linked.

 

The very basic question underlying this all is: what do geographical location and cultural context mean, the moment that these things enter a digital arena? Did it matter that the creators of the works you are about to see found themselves in different worlds? What happens to the specific cultural context that something is from, when it is placed amongst the multitudes of decontextualized fragments of visuals, narratives, identities and data of a much larger whole - the internet?

 

May the things displayed in this exhibition show one out of many ways of negotiating being one out of many stories, and the ways in which the modern world is making us increasingly aware that we are but one - out of many.

 

Nina Lissone

 

Roksolana Dudka & Krisztina Kapeljuh

Tree of Life & Danube

The project of collaboration of the two artists tries to reveal the issues of interaction of individuals in the modern world of digitalization through awareness of cultural and ethnic aspects of one's own identity through the contrast of images, experience and geographical location.

Roksolana Dudka (Poltava, Ukraine) created a stage with three-dimensional and moving elements, the symbol "Tree of Life". The tree of life, as the center of the universe, unites all the earths into a single whole, a symbol of eternal earthly life, called for a new birth and family prosperity. A symbol of family and connection with our ancestors. Germinating, it grows and branches, bears fruit and gives life to the next generation, begins a new life cycle. Working with immersive arts, Roksolana tries to transfer his own established practices in analog art to the virtual world. Her paintings that come to life and move speak of the continuity of life processes in the local, and new life in the global context - these are the new realities of digital existence.
Krisztina Kapeljuh (city?, country?) In her project explores the fragmentation, movement and symbiosis that is in the seemingly "inanimate planes" - pixels. To do this, it uses space images of the Danube - the second longest and largest river basin in Europe. Technically and aesthetically, it uses, as the main artistic means, the minimum element of digital imagery - the pixel, and it becomes key in the created metaphor of the new cultural era. Representing the powerful image of the Danube, it allows us to see different views on cultural boundaries, which create (according to the artist) a number of prejudices. According to the author, this is due to geographical location, traditions and history. "What is an anchor for a person's perspective is just a pixel on the map for the global process."

This project is of special interest because the specific meanings created by different artists, which appear in the accentuated-pixel forms of Krisztina and the strongly expressed forms of Roksolana, give rise to representative possibilities of digital culture in general and computer art in particular.

 

Julia Shutkevych (Neometa) & Oliver Jenkins (X-89)

Surface thoughts

This project is a result of merging traditional art pieces with digital art techniques. First, an extensive bank of referential material has been assembled by the two collaborating artists, each borrowing from colleagues in their respective countries. Next, a pair of independent algorithms was developed to feed on these bases, process them, mold them, and forge something new.

The subject of exploration here is mental health. From the themes brought into focus by the referenced painters to the way the final presentation is conceptualised, mental health is a running thread. Though, perhaps, a more illuminated topic in Western Europe, discussing mental well-being remains a taboo in Ukraine, with mental illness carrying a consistent stigma across the board. The way both participants cultivated each a unique visual environment to inhabit their shared virtual reality reflects both the disparity of cultural and unity of human experiences.

Surface thoughts are something constant and mundane, our loyal satellites. They matter so little, carry so much - and vice versa, simultaneously, always. A mercurial vortex concealed beneath the layer of our skin, inside the labyrinthine cradle of our skulls; laying under our feet like a dormant volcano, a lost city, a hidden treasure. A sleeping mine you triggered by one step too far.

Similarly, mental illness is a constant presence. Those who live with it can never really forget. But its noise, paradoxically, often blends into the background of one’s life. Never seen, made to be hidden, yet always right there, under the surface. All you have to do is look.

 

Isabel Bonafe & Julia Beliaeva

Veritas

The Earth is not beat yet, but figuring out the possibilities of life under a high concentration of gases is urgently needed.

A mission to Venus, the called Earth's sisters planet, has been launched. The runaway greenhouse effect in Venus seems to be a cautionary tale to our planet. As scientists suggest that Venus is an early Earth, the mission Veritas will study Venu's past and present geological process, from its core to its surface, and the possibilities of living in the thick cloud decks that shroud the planet. That gives some hope for the future, and awareness to change our behaviour for the new beginning to come.

Phase I: A cosmic gift of an accident

Crossing the upper limit of our atmosphere an extraordinary event happened. Space debris in low Earth Orbit (LEO) seems to be compounded by something more than defunct artificial objects. Sparks of the past, disconnected fragments of memories are suspended in the immensity of the Space: forgotten personal and collective memories have been fossilised as asteroids.

These fossils, under the effect of the Kessler syndrome, collide between them creating more debris, which in turn create more collisions. These crashes are memory triggers and agents that rouse, change and intertwine an amalgam of latent memories.

During phase I of the mission Veritas, the astronauts have discovered the cosmic dust of the human memory.

To be continued...

Sound design: Insomnia Taxxi

 

Robert Richardson & Pavlo Bestuzhev

Living Connections

This collaboration between Robert Richardson and Pavlo Bestuzhev is a presentation of online information about both Ukraine and Britain. The concept was to apply an artist’s autonomy and creativity to what are often bland representations of our countries and their cultures, think of top results of Google searches and tourist leaflets. In addition to working at the level of the two countries, it was also decided to focus on the two places where the artists live. This gave scope for an interesting contrast, since Pavlo lives in a large capital city, Kyiv, and Robert in a small market town in the English midlands, Melton Mowbray. The initial engagement with mass media involved both Pavlo and Robert sharing screenshots (Pavlo of Ukraine and Kyiv, and Robert of Britain and Melton Mowbray).

During the collaboration, Pavlo uploaded a folder of photographic images he had taken while walking in Kyiv. This prompted Robert to produce a folder of photographic images of Melton Mowbray. Through this visual research, another line of artworks emerged that related to the built environment, architecture and history. The contrasting images of a church in Kyiv, photographed by Pavlo, and the one in Melton Mowbray, photographed by Robert, led Robert to digitally and graphically manipulate them for the production of artist’s videos.

 

James Johnson-Perkins

Lost and Found Services

A virtual space for special things that have been lost in time. As custodians of this space we will offer the chance to view and retrieve these precious items, such as: the fabulous ‘Portrait of a Young Man’ by Raphael, Mondrian’s mythical Solitary ‘Sculpture’, the legendary Japanese swordsmith Goro Nyudoo Masamune’s ‘Katana’, A section of Leonardo da Vinci’s fabled ‘The Battle of Anghiari’ and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s illustrious ‘God’ readymade. Lost and Found Services also offer the chance to retrieve personal items like memories and keys, and long-lost treasures that you thought you would never see again.

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