Not Random Art - Page 38

Hello Tanya and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of identity. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

Hi NotRandomArt! Thank-you so much for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful publication!

Honest, raw and introspective—these are words I would use to describe myself as an artist and as a human being. The world is currently in a state of dramatic change, high stakes and instability, as you say, and I think we can all feel it. We don’t have to look any further than the daily news to see it take shape. It is very important to me to be true to myself and those around me who I love and care for. We are only given one life to live and I feel that it is important to live it honestly, even if it is not always the most popular choice. Sometimes being honest is uncomfortable and scary. Luckily for me, I came from a supportive background that allowed me to be myself. I know there are other people that are not so lucky. The privilege of growing up in this environment allowed me to be myself and helped form the character of my aesthetic.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influenced the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

Just over three years ago I had a sexual identity crises. After being in a loving relationship for 14 years and a mother to a beautiful boy, I no longer knew who I was and became very disjointed and depressed. I made the very difficult decision to explore myself, parting ways with life as I knew it, and in doing that was able to reset and discover things about myself that I had been suppressing. I believe that my identity as an artist began to evolve once I was able to re-identify with myself. Honesty with one’s self is something that is very important to me in my life and I believe that comes through in my art. I love focusing on the subject of human vulnerability and capturing moments that are raw. The fragility of mental health is something I explore frequently in my work. As someone who has been managing my depression and anxiety for over a decade, this is a topic that speaks very closely to me and has also influenced my artowrk.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

I have to say that I cannot think of a certain piece in particular. However, I can say that being a part of the Instagram community and seeing amazing different artists display work from all around the world has been a HUGE influence on me and my motivation. Photographers such as Haris Nukem, who constantly pushes boundaries, inspire me to do the same.

Carl Jung stated “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” In the terms of post-psychoanalytic interpretation, can you state that many of your works carry an autobiographical message. If you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

Looking back, I can certainly see aspects of myself that have come out in my drawings. These may have not been an exact representation of memories or experiences, but I feel the ‘mood’ is there. When creating, half the time I do not really think about what I will be drawing when I start. When focusing on face and expression, I tend to work very quickly and emotionally to prevent the image from become overworked, overthought or contrived. You can almost say it is a form of therapy as I am able to release myself onto the piece. I like to think that I leave a little piece of me behind every time I am finished a new work. Depending on the day and how I am feeling, it can go in many different directions. Sometimes, I will get an idea of a certain pose that I would like to draw. I will then look for images, or take my own, to get the basic body form down and then take it from there.

ey to reach this moment in our lives and after months of back and forths, differences and compromises we form a perfect team. We definitely contrast on many issues, but the combination of our perspectives tends to lead to a piece of work that is both meaningful and significant to the pair of us. We are the best of friends and probably the trust and support we offer each other makes us both brave enough to stay sincere to ourselves in the art world. As humans and as artists, sincerity is a positive trait. Our professors are a good example of this and initially they showed scepticism of using technology in this way, but we managed to convince them in our first few years when we applied it to visual interactions and invited members of the public to join in. The feedback we got was great and the professors eventually came round to the idea that we were doing something worth pursuing. This allowed us to pursue our bachelor and masters degrees using technology as a media of art. It was because of our persistence and our dedication that we continue to make our own path and convincing the professors was a great achievement for us. It was also a great boost to our confidence and a kind of self-affirmation. We realise that we have made it tough on ourselves, our work is based on some very complex principles that have daunted humans far more intelligent than us. Questions of philosophy, of being, of the mind and creative ideas. This, combined with thousands upon thousands of lines of code has made us truly appreciate every step we take and every little bit of progress we make going forward.

We always deal with instability in our work, sometimes unintentionally, but, as we deal with cultures and changes that are, by their nature unstable, we cannot avoid it. Our last work was called "Love", where we dealt with long distance relationships. Not just between partners, but families and children throughout the globe. It dealt with physical distance through points in time, but it also dealt with non-physical distance, about mental disconnections and absences. With change comes uncertainty, comes irrationality and comes instability. In politics we see this all of the time. We try to provide a stable environment in our interactive work, we attempt to present its value and overall increase the happiness of our societies. We presented a work in the USA called "67-Inch", where we built an interactive forest in this beautiful part of a busy city in the USA to remind people that not everything is urban and that they were in fact surrounded by forests and plains and land that was as wondrous as the forest we built. The feedback we got was very positive and our hope is that we changed the way some of our visitors thought about their city, whilst encouraging them to look outside of it sometimes.

Being Polish, and born in a capital city that has so much history behind it definitely helps to form our aesthetics. One can't not be born to a place and experience it as a daily routine without it influencing major parts of themselves. There isn't so much tendency in Poland to think about art, life is more about character. We're known as being a stubborn, proud and hospitable country and that, in an ironic kind of way, has a major part to play in our works and aesthetics.

Urbanoiz is a project of making a “culture” not just for artworks. I’m interested in various fields like fashion, music and merchandising…etc. And if it’s story about our life in the city, I always hop on to work on this project regardless of any creation form. Recently I’m preparing for really interesting project, so that people can interact with my art work more closely in the city. I will make more efforts to let people find this “urban noise’ everywhere in the city. This is going to be very hard, but I am thrilled to continue this project.

t all started at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, Norway, in the mid 90's and with my research in Video Art and the History of Video Art. During that period, I experimented with the cameras available at the time, such as Hi8, Super-8, and DV. I learned how to edit using Avid and produced numerous small experimental art films. Conceptually, I was inspired by video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and Bruce Naumann amongst many others. I used effects and experimental sound in my films. It was a very exciting time for my development, and I explored all kinds of filmic work, from 80's video art to more experimental directors of the time, such as Peter Greenaway, Jim Jarmusch, and Hal Hartley as well as the greats such as Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, and Jean-Luc Godard. So my work was shaped by this strange hybrid of influences: everything from animated MTV shorts to deeply conceptual post modernistic cinema.

Later on, I started to build video installations, combined with photography, objects and performance. From this, I started to become involved with stage art and independent dance and theatre. Several directors have given me the time and space to experiment using multiple video projectors, and my work has become an active element onstage, sometimes interacting with the performers. Every project has been useful in some way for exploring and refining my ideas. Now in my capacity as film director, I'm able to call upon my experiences gained from working as a cross disciplinary artist.

Your artworks are revolving around the problem of social identity and cultural affiliations. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

I belong to a minority group in society and that identity is always a part of me and my work. I don’t believe my artworks are changing due to unstable times but that I'm working my way through a theme and a method over time. The content of my work is becoming more and more personal and I think that is because I dare to be more honest with myself. What I find interesting to work with is in my immediate presence. When I collaborate with stageartists, we often focus on a current political theme. In these collaborations I work more as an art activist and have a broader openess for the aesthetics. My work is then more experimental with research on different ways to develop live presentations in the space.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race

and ethnic identity in visual culture?

“Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray” by Joan Jonas was one of the first performance installations that really made a huge impact on me. I was living in Paris during this time, in the early 90s, with a lot of influences from different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.