Alexandra Dementieva

BREATHLESS

INVITED ARTIST

Alexandra Dementieva [Be]
WebFb

Breathless

The installation “Breathless”  has all the characteristic features of Dementieva’s style such as program-matic interactivity, the aspiration to make the viewer both the protagonist and the “creator” of a work, who is indispensable to its existence, and at the same time the absence of pressure on the viewer, who is always given the choice whether to actively interact with a work or to pass by.

The installation consists of three interactive objects which can be made to radiate light. Two of them are directly connected to an RSS news feed, which keeps track of around 50 newspapers and maga-zines, the content from which is passed to the objects through a computer. Its program is set up to search words and notions related to the concepts of fear and desire.

The first object represents fear and the second desire. If the machine finds one word associated with fear an arc of light flashes from the first object. If it finds several on different news portals the lighted arcs multiply making the light spiral upwards. The more words, the brighter the object. The words themselves appear at the top of the object. In parallel and in a similar manner the notion of desire is visualized. The third object functions following the same principle. It is wirelessly connected to the street and the number of its diode lines illuminated depends on the levels of both noise and air pollution. Additionally, inside each of these three objects an anemometer, a device used for measuring the speed of wind, is installed. The viewer who has ventured into the cabin can blow on the device transforming the work with his or her breath, influencing the lighting and mutating the words into mea-ningless marks. A simple act of breathing becomes important, symbolically affecting the surrounding environment.

All in all, we are presented with a peculiar diagram displayed on the three interactive objects. The heights of its columns, which represent statistical indicators, indicate the levels of fear and desire against a background of environmental pollution. All these indicators can be glibly discarded by simple human breathing. (E. Selina)

PRODUCTION

CYLAND Media Lab, VGC (Vlaamse Gemeenschapscomissie), Adem vzw Programming and engineering by Sergey Komarov, Alexey Grachev, breath detector – Interface-Z – With support from iMAL asbl/vzw, Flemish Ministry of Culture.

BIO

Studied journalism and fine arts in Moscow and Brussels. Her main interests focus on social psychology and perception and their application in multimedia interactive installations. Her videowork integrates different elements including behavioral psychology, developing narrative using a ‘subjective camera’. Her interactive installation projects attempt to widen the mind’s potential for perception using different production materials: computers, video projections, soundtracks, slides, photography, etc. By making certain historical, cultural and political allusions, her exhibition locations create the frame within which the idea develops. The projects explore the spectator’s depths of perceptual experience and the interaction of the individual spectator with the exhibition as well as with other visitors. The subject of an installation or its production method becomes less important to her than the mind of the user. Thus, the latter becomes the center of the project or the main actor in the performance.

In installations, a main role is given to spectators. A development of video and soundtrack depend on their actions within interactive environment. They can take a meaningful action and see the results of their decisions and choices. Psychological aspects of an individual’ or a group’ behavior are important and in its turn they influence how a script is developing. It is always a conceptual structure that refers to the possibility for users to shift at different points in an evolving video narrative to other video narrative trajectories. Situations, which are structurally coherent introduce the feeling of responsibility into the experience, which itself reinforces situated immersion: the reason for this is that if you make a choice, then you are responsible for the consequences of that choice. When a decision has a sensible outcome, the visitor is aware that their next decision will have a legitimate consequence, and their awareness becomes enfolded into the experience of decision-making. This feedback loop reinforces the contextual world-of-concern, and constructs the diegetic environment of installation. 

 Sleeper, 2017 • Cycloramadrome, 2014 • The Unbearable Lightness, 2009 • Drama House, 2009 •  Monolith, 2010 • Alien Space, 2008 • Stakler/ Brain Scanner, 2006 • Limited Spaces-2/ Screen, 2005 • Limited Spaces -1/ Cube, 2004

RESEARCH ISSUES / INNOVATION

The research issue was focused on a study of mass media and all media in general as agents in the construction and perception of reality. Historically, the media have been seen as a trusted source of information, but with the rise of mass media, their reliability and impartiality and their relationship to advertising have come into question. Global connectivity and advancements in digital technology have made it for possible for events anywhere to become news everywhere. Most people tune into the mor-ning and evening news as part of their daily return, often blindly relying on the mass media as a news source. Mass media tells us what’s important – they can take trivial information and make them significant.

As a result, public opinion and perceptions of reality are largely shaped and influenced by them.

Two luminous sculptures react to word searches in news websites and are linked to the lexical field of fear, the second to desire, those two engines of humanity. In the absence of a spectator, they light up more or less according to the number of occurrences of each word in the monitored sites. They are the VU meters of human activity. Words seem to summon up other words, and the viewer is tempted to speak to interact with the sculptures through the microphone shape of the sensor. Only the breath has an effect, transitory and chaotic: it scrambles the light strips, it momentarily superimposes the action of one individual onto this indicator of global activity. Interferences exist only through the common point between human beings: the breath. A third cabin receive permanently several environmental parameters, such as temperature or noise. It can also react to a visitor’s action but differently from the two others: we need to blow a long time into the sensor to alter the light, suggesting that we need to take the time to reflect on the consequences of our actions, whatever our intent may be.

A visitor cannot change the reality of the world, but can only superimpose his/her humanity on it for a moment. the question of an individual’s impact on his society by way of technology and the reflection on the actions consequences upon the world.

Objects could be just light sculptures and can be placed everywhere giving news in a different way that we used to read and to receive. If there is an event happened in the world that is repeated by several newspapers – brighter become the object.

Meaning is more important than a technic and the work is focusing on people desire and fear.

The controller’ system was made using Arduino, 2 ventilators, bluetooth transmitter, microphone and connected to the internet by a computer via MAX/MSP 6.

Software:

MAX/MSP

AWARD OF PRIZES AND DIFFUSION OF THE WORK

– Premiere – Cyberfest, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (RU) – 2011;
selected by Emmeotto Living gallery Rome (IT) (long list of Celeste Prize 2012)
– 10 Installations, MMOMA, Moscow – 2017
Bam Festival, Manege, Liege (BE) – 2016
Digitalife Romaeuropa, MACRO Museum, Rome (IT) – 2015,
FILE 2015, FIESP Cultural Center – Ruth Cardoso, Sao Paulo (BR) – 2015
– Parallel Dimensions, Marion De Cannière gallery, Antwerp (BE) – 2013
– Сapital of Nowhere, parallel project of Venice 55 Biennale,
university Ca Foscari, Venice (IT) – 2013
Public Data Explorer, HLP gallery, Brussels (BE) – 2013
Speech about Crysis, Emmeotto Living, gallery, Rome (IT) – 2013
The Timekeeper, iMAL, Brussels (BE) – 2012

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