CYFEST Comes to Moscow (June 2016)

After Berlin, Bogota, New York, London, and St. Petersburg, the 9th CYFEST finally comes to Moscow with its dedicated exhibit opening June 15, 2016 at the Ground Moscow.

This time CYLAND MediaArtLab presented ‘Wish You Were Here’, multimedia installations by Alexander Terebenin and Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai, and ‘Subjectivization of Sound’, a performance/installation project by Alexey Grachev and Sergey Komarov.

Talks about the forthcoming Apocalypse, collapse and end are a familiar background in the life of  a contemporary person. A disaster, be it technogenic or social, geopolitical or biological, as an  image of the future holds a firm place in human minds. And, most likely, there is a reason for  this. The existing reality serves as a certain waiting room before the authentic stable state of post- apocalypse. What does art do in a charred world? What is an artist up to among the ruins? How  does culture live amidst debris of the former world? These quasi­fictional retro­futuristic  questions preoccupy the artists Alexander Terebenin and Alexander Shishkin­-Hokusai.

For Terebenin, the artist’s role is to contemplate. The intensity of his gaze, effort of vision and  special contraction of pupils returns a hope of possible substantiality and completeness to the  landscape that is disjointed and rendered senseless. Abrasions, peelings, spallings and uprootings  lose their power of an itching and painful memory. The deficiency of existence in them is made up  by the aestheticization of formal relationships. This mechanism is especially distinct in the video  Last Portrait where the mournful memory, having sighed with relief, cedes its domain to  marveling. Beauty continues monotonously to save the world. If from nothing else, from total  senselessness, indiscernibility and gnashing of teeth. The artist, being simultaneously a provider  and an agent of beauty, is preoccupied with scrutinizing, framing and “humanizing” of the  depopulated earth. Culture of vision proves to be more important and durable than material  culture.

Shishkin­Hokusai structures a disaster by way of ambiguities and pretenses. Natural (wood) turns  out to be artificial (plywood), hand­made (figures) ­ multimedia (video), narrative ­ plotless, real  and tangible ­ virtual. In the environment from the computer game S.T.A.L.K.E.R., distinctive  characters of Shishkin put on a show. They exchange retorts, but a conversation does not emerge.  They simulate movements, and yet they are static. A dramatically unfolding action leads to nothing  whatsoever. The virtual space is a reminder of the impending doom of civilization and, at the same  time, a shooter game. The job of an artist is to turn the real space of tragedy and horror into the  simulated space of stage. In this sense, the series of figures Summer Garden is especially  characteristic. Mobile plywood statues are ready to reclaim any locale, from a lawn in the housing  development to a virtual ruined radioactive factory, transforming it into a simulated space of  culture ­ a ghost of St. Petersburg baroque park.

Both authors work with the material that is near and dear ­ the homeland wasteland. This is  probably the reason why the project’s general tone came out characteristically St. Petersburg ­ this  rather dismal jocularity of a kind that overtakes the experienced seafarers when they see that a  storm is brewing. Or of a kind with which the battle­seasoned respond to the imprudent advice  givers: “Wish you were here”.

-Alexander Dashevsky on ‘Wish You Were Here’ exhibition project

Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai
Virtual space created and reconstructed by Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai

The exhibition included multimedia, kinetic, and sculptural objects, as well as experiments with space itself.

June 15, the opening night featured CYLAND artists’ Alexey Grachev and Sergey Komarov live performance combining digital and analog sound synthesis technologies in order to achieve a sound minimalism and a continuity of creative process during the creation of musical compositions and forms where the choice comes down to the subjective tendency of each one to a certain sounding.

The 9th CYFEST ‘Wish You Were Here’ opened June 15 at Ground Moscow (Irina Levchenko str, 2). The exhibition had been on display until July 31, 2016.