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A r t Anniversary Edition Anniversary Edition

From the Urban Organic series Installation by Sergey Sobolev A work by Alison Wells (USA)

R e v i e w


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Melissa Moffat Canada

Kees Ouwens

Monica Szpener

Glen Farley

Poland

Norway

The Netherlands

Sergey Sobolev

My main focal point of interest were stone arrangements, which are the fundamental part of garden making in Japan. If the stone compositions are not done in a proper way, the whole garden will appear as an unbalanced, not well designed one. So I ended up working 3 years with stones only, selecting, arranging, and moving them around various places in the gardens I worked on.

Russia

Aesthetics and the General orientation of the creativity of Sergey Sobolev can be attributed to minimalism, futurism, symbolism and eco-design. Almost all of his work are based on the philosophy of humanism, esoteric and metaphysics. They are distinguished by the detachment, contemplation, study of the field of the unknown and focus on absolute concepts.

Monika Szpener, uses characteristic materials, e.g. various recyclable materials, worn out and useless items. Most of her works are interdisciplinary and combine various artistic techniques. In 2011 she got a doctor degree in fine arts at the university. She deals with sculpture in a wider sense, including portraits, installations, objects, and artistic actions.

II

I create kinetic, or moving, sculptures and installations. My goal is to encourage people of all ages to reflect on various subjects and themes, and to amuse and entertain. This includes me. My art practice is inspired by the motion and mechanics of Jean Tinguely and Arthur Ganson but my machinery is concealed in found and created objects, so only the pure motion of the objects remains.

Melissa Moffat is a fine arts collagist painting with the paper of different publications. Through her collages, Moffat breathes new life into magazine and comic editorials by removing them from the spine of the book and deconstructing them. Ultimately, the goal of her work is to take existing images and reuse as well as re-appropriate them to give the viewer a cornucopia of archival pictures that are meant to be examined with a whole new lens.

Faridun Zoda USA

In my artworks, I try to find a visual language in which to express how I see the uniqueness of forms in nature and in the visual expression of ideas. I try to animate the uniqueness into a tapestry by use of composition, design and color. My approach to my artworks encompasses diverse themes serving as stimuli, and each artwork is based on its own approach.


In this issue

Kees Ouwens Lives and works in Japan and in Mexico Mixed media, Sculpture

Melissa Moffat Lives and works in Montreal Mixed Media, Painting, Collage

John Naccarato Lives and works in New York Mixed media, Installation

Sergey Sobolev Lives and works in Moscow, Russia Sculpture, Public art, Mixed media

Nork Zakarian

Joon Sung

(Armenia)

USA / Korea

Influenced by the bleak industrial look of Michalangelo Antonioni's Red Desert as well as the mystic style of Kenneth Angers videos, Elizabeth of Nazareth hopes to convey the architecture of anxiety and unease in the Armenian reality. Set in our contemporary age in the largely patriarchal society of modern Armenia, the title of the film is suggestive of some kind of biblical legend, and righteously so, as it hopes to venerate a new prophet.

John Naccarato

Monika Szpener Lives and works in Szczecin, Poland Mixed media, Installation, Sculpture

USA

Key questions that permeate my work and research include: how significant are memories (human and machine driven) when it comes to mediating our experiences of the spaces we occupy and move through on a daily basis? How does the advent of digital, mobile and virtual (cloud) based technologies alter and augment perceptions of spatio-temporal reality?

Joon Sung’s recent work is mainly derived from the idea of extending the minimalist painting into motion.

Glen Farley Lives and works in Norway Mixed media

Joon Sung

He particularly concerns invariant beauty generated in the digital technologies that transcends time and space, and constantly explores another type of beauty by reinforcing the concept of creativity can be defined as recombining the familiar into the new.

Lives and works in New York City Mixed media

Faridun Zoda Lives and works in New York Sculpture, Mixed media

Nork Zakarian Lives and works in Il Cairo Experimental Video, Film making

III

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LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Kees Ouwens Lives and works in Seiyo City, Japan and in Umecuaro, Mexico

An artist's statement

A

fter my studies at the Royal Horticultural College in The Netherlands, I went to Japan to study Japanese gardens, because of the difference in perception of space, especially in creating gardens.

My main focal point of interest were stone arrangements, which are the fundamental part of garden making in Japan. If the stone compositions are not done in a proper way, the whole garden will appear as an unbalanced, not well designed one. So I ended up working 3 years with stones only, selecting, arranging, and moving them around various places in the gardens I worked on. Also, I had the opportunity to make walls, water basins, and lanterns out of stone.

In 1986 I started my own company to make gardens, not only in the traditional way of creating gardens (which is only copying), but to make gardens (spaces) which reflect today's lifestyles and cultures. At the moment, I am living and working in my studio in Japan, creating my own personal style in making spaces (gardens), in which stone is the most important element to me.


LandEscape 6

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Kees Ouwens An interview by Josh Ryder, curator landescape@europe.com

Kees Ouwens harmonizes the expressive potential that comes from Nature with a rigorous formal approach: taking advance from traditional japanese heritage he accomplishes the difficult task of making gardens which reflect the period in which we are living now, establishing a symbiosis between Tradition and Contemporariness, into a coherent, consistent unity. One of the most convincing aspect of Ouwens' practice is the way he creates an area of deep interplay that invites the viewers to explore the crossroad between human emotion and Nature's geometry: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Kees and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid training and after your studies at the Royal Horticultural College in Utrecht you moved to Japan to study Japanese art and garden architecture, an experience that has deply impacted on your evolution as an artist. In particular, would you like to tell our readers the main added values of this experience? How did it informed the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Well it is quite another culture in japan compared to the european.Your way of

perception of things dramatically changes and you learn about values you never ever thought existed at all.You get more deeply involved with yourself and your direct environment and nature.In a way you discover the roots of all again and how to make use of these in your work as an artist to find a balance and adding values to the works you make, may it be paintings ,sculptures,installations or spaces. Through my experiences here in japan for a long time now I gained a certain way of seeing my environment in a more bigger,deeper way which has a great impact on the works I produce and I was able to find my own style of working. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I try to make a work that fits into its surroundings as best as possible and that has a balance in its proportions and its use of materials.I first inspect the site and adapt my idea and designs to the place and think about another way of making the work.I never want to produce the same works always looking for something new. Also I like to use locally available materials to make it all more harmonious and respoding to its site and Juerg Luedi


LandEscape 8 Art Review

detail from myFunerals, Performance

Kees Ouwens


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 9 Art Review

surroundings. The next step is to find and make an interesting shape or design which is also greatly influenced by the things I observe and find in nature. Sometimes this process takes a lot of time only to complete a work that responds well to all I stated before. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Whispering stones an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.kees-ouwens.org and http://facebook.com/ouwens.kees in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted

artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

I live in a very rural part of japan where my studio is situated among mountains and rice plants. Every year I follow and observe close up all the work and preparations which are needed to produce rice, including the cultural part of rice with its symbolic meanings its relation to religion and festivals. Actually thes gave me the idea of making whispering stones. By watching the fields being worked on, planted and watching it growing into a large sea of rolling waves of green and


LandEscape 12 Art Review

Kees Ouwens


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 11 Art Review

changing colors it gave me enough resourches to produce this work in which, sound, movement, shadows and colors are involved as the main guiding points. The piece is like the riceplants with heavy seeds which are moving in the wind. All the qualities I could observe in the rice fields are incooperated in this work. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep, almost physical interplay with the viewers,

that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience and I definetely love the way the evolving feature of your gardens takes such an intense participatory line not only on the way we enjoy Art, but also and especially on the conception of art itself. In particular, your investigation about the intimate aspect of constructed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there


LandEscape 12

Kees Ouwens

Art Review

is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I do not think so,everything you sense and feel or think depends greatly on your own experiences and state of mind and body.During time you change and your environment changes also,these have a great impact on all the work you make. Every single work is an experience which enables you to understand more about yourself and the works you create, what you are actually doing and how to


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 13 Art Review

continue and evolve. It s a learning process and a opportunity to make discoveries which influences your works. The ambience created by the fluorescent threads in The Sound of Shadow has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have

been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This has suggested me the idea that that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment's geometry we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an


LandEscape 14

Kees Ouwens

Art Review

artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

The installation is like a frame work which captures the surrounding environment through its window shaped form and use of steel wires which move in the wind, produces sound and reflect the setting sun. t is like a big cube with

all the nature and world inside it, which can be enjoyed by eaxh person in his or hers personal way. A kind of time lapse environment or space in which time is preserved for a moment when you confront this piece.I woild like to create objects to interact which each and every person individually in his or her way to refind our environment and touch our own nature again. We all have our basic instincts


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 15 Art Review

but we seem to keep these deep down and unreachable... I want to evoke a feeling again which reaches out to our inner nature... I definitively love the way you recontextualize the idea of the environment we live in and I would go as far as to state that your capability to evoke the presence of a view forces the viewers' perception in order

to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension as well ... by the way, many contemporary landscape artists as the photographer Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light have some form of environmental or political message in their photographs. Do you consider that your works are political in


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Kees Ouwens


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 42 Art Review


LandEscape 18 Art Review

Kees Ouwens


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 19 Art Review

this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

Well I feel that people have lost their connection with nature in ournew society where everything is convenient,fast and clean,we do not suffer or struggle any more and are just looking for and easy and secure life style without complications.We lost our ability to wonder and dream we just life a boring,tasteless lifewithout any reason at all. So through my works I would indeed send at least a message out to the world to see and understand. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Tanbo project: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of primary elements as water to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Tanbo project is the usage of rice fields like a garden or canvass in which big primary colored wooden boxes are placed without floors and ceilings.These boxes form together a sculptural installation but inside the boxes you can enjoy the art works made by invited artists. When you enter each box has a James Turnell feeling looking up into the framed sky. This contrast between the outside world of the total installation in the rice fields and the inside compact art space is the main motive of this work, a combination af man made art and nature.


LandEscape 14

Kees Ouwens

Art Review

During your 35 years long career your works have been extensively exhibited around the world: so before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as

being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I never make wotks for a specific aufience at all,but I do want to make an impact on and influence the people who see my works. But the works are solely made because I like to make


Kees Ouwens

LandEscape 42 Art Review

them in a specific way or for a special purpose or place,very clear and easy. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Kees. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I just want to continue with what I am doing and make works on a bigger scale with more profound meaning.


LandEscape 40 Art Review

Dawn of a new day


LandEscape 23 Art Review

Melissa Moffat Lives and works in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

An artist's statement

I

I paint with paper. My collages give fashion and comic books new life by deconstructing and re-imagining them as new stunning abstract works of art.

Melissa Moffat is a fine arts collagist painting with the paper of different publications. When comic books are her choice of medium, the iconic images of the characters are broken down and rebuilt in a new image. When using fashion publications, she draws the viewer in with images of luxury, intricate patterns, colours, beautiful textures and the brilliance of precious metals and stones. Through her collages, Moffat breathes new life into magazine and comic editorials by

removing them from the spine of the book and deconstructing them. Ultimately, the goal of her work is to take existing images and reuse as well as reappropriate them to give the viewer a cornucopia of archival pictures that are meant to be examined with a whole new lens.�

Melissa Moffat


LandEscape 24

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Melissa Moffat An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Josh Ryder landescape@europe.com

Enhancing the expressive potential of juxtaposition, Melissa Moffat invites the viewers to a captivating multilayered experience: in her collages she recontextualizes images unveiling their intimate connections between the reality that we perceive and the ambiguous dimension of our inner world. What mostly impresses of Moffat's approach is the way she accomplishes the difficult task of creating€€a concrete aesthetic that engages viewers, while conveying emotional and rational approaches into a consistent, coherent unity. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. €

Hello Melissa, and welcome to€LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, are there any experiences that have influenced your evolution as an artists and that impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?€ € I studied applied photography at Sheridan college, and worked as a freelance photographer for over five€€years.€€That experience and knowledge trained my eye to composition, colour, shape and form.€ Art has always been a hobby for me, I went though different painting phases, splatter painting to

even€acrylic€painting with my breasts€as the brush. I had a lot of magazine around my€photo studio€so i started to€experiment€with collage.€€Once I had started to make the comic book collages and selling them at comic conventions, I was able to reach a large€audience.€€I found most people really liked my work. The€positive€reaction€helped to push me to take€my art more serious, create more€€art and work to get it out there.€ It was no longer a hobby, i was going to make it a€career. I also have a BA in€psychology€and€religion€and€culture from Wilfird Laurier University which may€influence€my art in some way.€ Then most recently my move to Montreal has really inspired me and€I've€experimented€with different€publications and themes.€€€ € Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?€€€ My Collages are quite time consuming and involve many steps, the amount of time will vary depending on the size and materials used. To begin I have to find my materials, rip out the pages and then cut everything up.€€So I can spend days cutting before I even get to the creation. I have ADD though so my hands like to be busy, and i listen to audiobooks while i'm Juerg Luedi


Melissa with Wonder Woman collage on a mannequin Revelatio Art Show


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Melissa Moffat

Art Review

working, so often if the story is good it will keep me at it longer.€€If I organize pieces well as I am cutting them makes an easier and faster in the creation I do not have to search as long for a piece.€I will organize by colour, content and shape.€A big part of my preparation is experiencing the inspiration. Which can be many things, meditation, taking a bike ride in nature, a walk though the city, a visit to the€museum, music, spending time with a muse.€€Or often its TV or movie,especially€for the€comic book€ones i would watch the movie about the superhero.€For the ultramarine show “Reef life” piece i watched a lot€of€documentaries€about coral reefs,€it was pretty great and I learned interesting things about fish. €

Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from your€Fashion Magazine Collages series€that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit yur website directly at€http://www.melissamoffat.com€in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the€genesis€of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration? € The magazines themselves were the genesis.€€They were filled with colour, patterns,€and shapes.€They were just sitting there in a pile, wanting to be made into something new.€I enjoyed the process the ripping out of the pages and the cutting was therapeutic.€During creating It was mediative the pieces would just fit like a puzzle. In some collages they were made with just one issue so it was the challenge, of trying to create with limited supplies. detail from myFunerals, Performance


Melissa Moffat

LandEscape 27 Art Review

Commission for Daniels Condo Building


LandEscape 28 Art Review

Commission for Daniels Condo Building

Melissa Moffat


Melissa Moffat

LandEscape 29 Art Review

An important aspect of your work comes from the way you organize the materials,€drawing the viewer into intricate patterns€and highlighting the bond between the past of the images and their new life: I daresay that one of the most convincing aspect of your practice is the way you€unveil the subtle but ubiquitous€connection between Imagination and everyday life: your vision seems to speak of a kind an abstract beauty that starts from a mundane imagery but that brings€a new level of significance to images.I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works challenge the viewers' perception in order to going beyond€the common way€to perceive not only the outside world, but the way we relate to it...€By the way,€I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to€decipher€them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this? € I think the viewer does get to experience some of their inner nature when viewing my art.€€The abstractness of it leaves to the viewer to find their own hidden images and meaning. The brain tries to interpret the lines and shapes into something recognizable so it draws from our experinces, memories and subconcious.€€ Using everyday life material that could not be necessarily perceived as€‘beautiful’€you establish an effective€symbiosys between Memory and Experience, that€takes an intense€participatory line€with the viewers. While creating such intimate involvement, you seem to remove the€historic gaze€from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute, almost€atemporal€form. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Zink

Melissa Moffat


Melissa Moffat

LandEscape 31 Art Review

Boss

Wild Woman

you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

photographer Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and€€has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

€

My experiences make up who am as an artist.€€My creativity is affect by my mood and emotions which are a result of my experiences.€€€I think experiences shape how we see the world and even ourselves.€ €

Your€visionary approach to€recontextualization€that emerges especially in your€Comic Book Collages€series, has suggested me the idea that environment acts as€cornerstones€for a fullfilment process that has reminds me of German sculptor and

€

Sometimes there is a narrative, like with my Collage "Paradise Cove" was about a beautiful day at the beach, I created the fantasy scene for myself because it was the middle of a long cold winter in Montreal. €Often with the comic


LandEscape 32 Art Review

Treasure

Melissa Moffat


Melissa Moffat

LandEscape 33 Art Review

book works the narrative is the essence of the character or what they represent. Like with my "Joker" piece I tried to channel insanity and with Superman collage it was the strength, heroism and justice. However often there is not a narative and it is just about the colour, patterens, shapes and lines that drive the piece. €

I have appreciate the€investigative€feature of the way you explore emerging visual contexts:€like many art forms, collage can borrow elements to create new art: your main sources are tears of posters or magazines: in your opinion are there limits to what can or should be used to create collages? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating collages? €

Most of my work is very deconstructed from its original for form so I feel like that transformation makes it ok.€€As I move into doing pieces that are less so I have questioned myself as to is ok.€€With the “Kabuki” collage€€I used the illustartions of David Mack in there full form and all from one source.€€ However I put them into a new context, and I always tell people where it comes from and even recommend reading the graphic Novel.€€So I try to change the source from its orginal form, take it out of its context, combine it with other material change and siteing the creator. €

The associations expressed by the juxtapositive process seem to avoid any precise politicized meanings: however, it's almost impossible to deny that giving a second life to images -and sometimes to the concept behind them- could be defined such a politicized practice itself. By the way, although€I'm aware that this might sound a bit€naïf,€I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art€-especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression...


LandEscape 34

Melissa Moffat

Art Review

Blue Dream

Clutch

I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

extensively exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participation to Ultramarnie, in Montreal. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

€

Art is a great platform for people to make a statement on political ideas. €it can be presented in a form that is easier to digest or in a way that is shocking and will get peoples attentions by being bold.€People respond to visual stimulation, art could definitely influence people.€

€

During these years your works have been

Yes I often think of my audience. €Especially with


Melissa Moffat

LandEscape 35 Art Review

Lux


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Melissa Moffat

Art Review

La Vie est belle

the comic book collages, I would choose to make art of characters that are popular. € I often do commissioned Collages so in that case the audience is very important. € Recently€€censoredmy art because of though to the audience. €With this "Ohh La la" collage i was thoughtful about how much nudity i would show, of how it would be looked at as too erotic or xrated if i showed images of full body nudes verses just topless.

Zink

Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Melissa. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? € I've started to work with€Alexander Arnoux Pierre Curator of Pictura Agency. My collages will be the feature art in a new urban gallery opened in downtown Montreal Urbana Gallery,€I will be exhibing there€€june- july and


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Melissa Moffat

Art Review

Paradise Cove

then at other points throughout the year.€€June 4-14 my art is art Mural festival Montreal.€€ For the month of June Im in a Group show “Keep it Glu” in Marseille, France. July 3-5 is Montreal ComicCon. Exposition UpCycle IV -Group Show at Galerie Le repaire des 100 talents in Montreal Aug 9 to September 13 2015 Aside from the exhibiting I am looking forward to creating more art, using different materials, and subject matter and going bigger in size.

You can follow my journey on social media.€€ twitter.com/MMoffatCollage www.facebook.com/melissamoffatcollageart instagram- MelissaMoffatcollage€

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Josh Ryder landescape@europe.com


LandEscape 40 Art Review

Object File #014, Democracy of Objects Project, Digital Archive, Montreal, 2014


LandEscape 39 Art Review

John Naccarato Lives and works in Montral, Quebec, Canada

An artist's statement

K

ey questions that permeate my work and research include: how significant are memories (human and machine driven) when it comes to mediating our experiences of the spaces we occupy and move through on a daily basis?

How does the advent of digital, mobile and virtual (cloud) based technologies alter and augment perceptions of spatio-temporal reality? How do past and present technologies evolve and integrate with human presence and memory to configure new realities – realities with the potential to transform our state of being into what he calls ‘technological chimeras’?

John Naccarato

John Naccarato creates conceptually driven visceral works incorporating varied media, such as performance, media art and installations, Naccarato uses daily life as subject matter to create a critical commentary of technology's intervention on social, cultural and personal identity. Naccarato's work also tends to incorporate interactive game tactics, which reflect everyday life, where everyday objects undergo transubstantiation. This is evident in some of his earlier large scale site specific installations such as the x-Series (2010), Skinning of Memory (2011) and The Obscure Objects of Desire (2011). Naccarato's most recent work, The Democracy of Objects Project (2014-ongoing), focuses on found objects in and around his neighbourhood. The project is in part, an archaeological and anthropological quest into the significance of these objects; their relationship to those that may encounter them; their relationship to the spaces they now occupy, and their relationship to each other. Furthermore, Naccarato has also just completed several experimental, performance-based, video shorts, the Wait (2015, 5’00”), the Continuum (2015, 3’42”) and the Conversation (2015, 0’55”), which are being considered for several international film festivals.


LandEscape 40

LandEscape meets

Art Review

John Naccarato An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Josh Ryder landescape@europe.com

The very first feeling I got when I had the chance to get to know John Naccarato 's works, is that Art and Technology are not separated at all, and that it's always possible to go beyond any artificial boundary that limits the intrinsic continuity between a rational approach with a transcendent sensibility. Naccarato shows how this symbiosis is not only possible, but at a certain point unavoidable: his refined search of functional synergy between several viewpoints offers to the viewers a multilayered experience that establishes an area of deep interplay with the viewers: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating works. Hello John and welcome to LandEscape: I would start this interview, posing you some questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a MFA of Visual Arts, with a focus on multimedia and interdisciplinary research that you have received from University of Ottawa: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? Does it still inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

First off, thank you so much for offering me this opportunity to discuss my work and research. You're first question poses a very interesting paradox for me. There have been four distinct

periods in my life where I sought out formal training. Each time, the formal experience offered an opportunity to explore new methods and techniques; network with fellow artists and the local community, and gain critical insights into my own objectives and methodologies. However, upon leaving formal training, an extensive period of deconstruction would take place, that is, how to unlearn all that I had been taught, in order for it to become part my own unique understanding and process. My first formal training and experience began in the late 70's at Fanshawe College, in London, Ontario. The program was relatively new and quite unique in that along with the traditional training in painting, sculpture and print, they also offered studies in experimental and commercial film, video and photography. For me, it was like a kid being let loose inside a candy store. I wanted to explore all the media. So instead of focusing on any one specific media, I began to negotiate a way to incorporate them all, which in turn lead me to develop large scale, site-specific installations. One key work I produced at this time, which I came to call, The Question, was primarily constructed with found objects and materials from in and around the neighbourhood, including discarded tv sets, sofas, cardboard, and plastic. The work also had sensory based elements built into it, which would interact with the participant's senses of smell, touch, sound and sight. To the dismay of students and instructors alike, the work would end up taking some 3,000 square feet (almost half) of the available communal studio space. In the Juerg Luedi


Untitled, Self Portrait, Digital Photo Composition, 2014


LandEscape 42

John Naccarato

Art Review

Object File #080, Democracy of Objects Project, Digital Archive, Montreal, 2014


John Naccarato

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end the fire department was somehow mysteriously informed about the work and I was instructed to tear it down, because it constituted a fire hazard. The late 70's was still in the pre-digital age, where analogue ruled supreme. Film edits took place on Steinbeck flatbeds, audio could only be cut and spliced together on magnetic tape strips, and video editing was chained to tedious linear process. Even so, I became attracted to time based media as an alternative to the installations, in that I felt I had greater control as to the process and preservation of my work. This led me in the 80's to move to Toronto and to enrol in film studies at Ryerson University. After Ryerson, I ended up doing work in the TV/Film industry, but also developed several experimental films and videos such as Ever/becoming (1984), which explored the relationship of body and self to technology. The audio track had been created by a friend of mine via one of the first Apple Macs. I had also during this time became involved in other disciplines such music, dance, performance and theatre which would contribute to my ever growing interest in a cross disciplinary approach to my work. The 90's represented a further engagement with computer technology but also with a return to painting and oils in particular. At the time I had decided to follow a more reflective and focused approach to my work, which painting allowed. But I eventually became frustrated with the limitations of the frame which painting seemed destined to follow, even though many attempts had been made throughout its history to break free from it. In 2006, I returned to formal studies in search of a way to push or eliminate this framing device all together. Therefore, I returned to experimenting with site specific installations, video projections, performance and sensor

based environments. This would in turn initiate my marathon run of almost six years of study; beginning with Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec (2006), where I obtained my BFA in IMCA (intermedia-cyber arts), followed by an MFA at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario in multimedia and interdisciplinary research between 2009 -11. In turn. my experience at Concordia and OttawaU would definitely have a decisive influence in terms of where my more mature work was heading, especially in terms of an interdisciplinary approach that I began some 25 years earlier. The technology and tools had changed, becoming smaller, more sophisticated and assessable such as video and non-linear editing, but the fundamental core of my search remained constant, that of pushing the limitations of the frame. This can be witnessed in the works developed at the OttawaU such as The x-Series (2009), Skinning of Memory (2010), The Limits of Control (2010-11), and The Obscure Objects of Desire and the Rise of the Technological Chimera (2011). After OttawaU, I moved back to Montreal, and continued pushing the frame with experimentations in mobile based technology such as AR (Augmented Reality), leading to such works as AR intervention @ the MoMA (2011), The Spaces We AR (2012) and The Conversation (2013). Your artistic approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, ranging from video and animation to audio composition and performance: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only


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way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Absolutely. I came to believe that the notion of creating some sort of absolute object d'art - or masterpiece: as some definitive insight into the human psyche, is dismissive of the complexity and experience of being human. Within the traditional arts, this issue of the object's absolute, rears itself all the time, since works of art for the most part are presented as objects - the painting, the sculpture, the print - framed by the artist's own subjective objectification. This in turn creates a binary entanglement, that is, of a privileged and hierarchal positioning between the viewer (subject) and art work (object). Furthermore, the viewer may become fixated on the art object's staticity - making it next to impossible to direct one's gaze outside of the frame and/or ignore some sort of stat(istical) objective truth or implied knowledge about humanity and its history. History should after all, never define us, but guide us. Therefore, I began exploring ways in which to push myself and my work outside of this object orientated framing. My search evolved into the merging of three approaches. Firstly, through the exploration and inclusion of other disciplinary forms. Secondly, by creating works that I felt were inherently antistatic and non-object orientated. Thirdly, works which were temporal and ephemeral. This third point is perhaps the most difficult to achieve and maintain, since one may have a instinctual urge to preserve and define one's work indefinitely as objects, in order for others to consider and admire. Most of the work I had developed over the past ten years no longer exists - physically at least. It has either been disposed off, or in certain incidences, the works remain entangled within the virtual, whose final traces will one day fall victim to entropy.

Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from The Democracy of Objects Project, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.naccarato.org in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this stimulating project? What was your initial inspiration?

As far back as I can remember, I have had a fascination with objects. From the diode based radios I would construct in my parent's basement to the kitsch sculptures my mom would collect and proudly display around the house, to scavenging wheels from discarded shopping carts to create go carts - objects seemed to play a critical role in how I referenced the world around me. This fascination with objects would continue with my site-specific installations such as The Question (1978), Project X (2007), The xSeries:VP1, The Skinning of Memory:VP2 (2010), and The Obscure Objects of Desire and the Rise of the Technological Chimera€(2011). The Democracy of Objects Project (2014), seemed to me the next logical continuation along these lines. The genesis of The Democracy of Objects Project was three fold. First off, I had just finished reading Levi R. Bryant's book The Democracy of Objects, from which the project gets its name. Secondly, I began going on ritual walks in the neighbourhood and noticing discarded objects in varying rates of decay which got me questioning about the relationship of these objects to each other and to myself. Thirdly, I had been involved for sometime with various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and began to also reflect on the relationship


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Object File #345, Democracy of Objects Project, Digital Archive, Montreal, 2014


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Object File #361, Democracy of Objects Project, Digital Archive, Montreal, 2014


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between the physical and these social virtual worlds, which I seemed to be constantly navigating between. So over a six month period, I began developing and stitching together these ideas and observing, documenting and uploading my relationship and interaction with these found objects which would cross my path. In his essay, Bryant points out an interesting point about our relationship to objects in that a€‘division between the world of nature and the world of the subject and culture’ occurs and that€‘the question of the object, of what substances€are, is subtly transformed into the question of how and whether we€know€objects’. When I first happened to get to know The Democracy of Objects Project I tried to relate all the visual and audio information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Your question raises an interesting point about the project. The work takes both an intuitive and systematic approach in that, the discovery of the objects themselves are not based on any sort of predetermined construct, but are simply being discovered as part of the landscape and part of my daily walks. I had no way of knowing when, where or in what condition the objects would present themselves. This sense of not knowing, of not being able to identify with the objects, of the objects having some sort of existential existence and non subjective relationship with me and the participant/viewer, was a very important part of the project's process and execution. Even the uploading of

the documented objects to a social media site such as Instagram, gave no clues as to the objects subjectivity. This was very important in that, any subjective suggestion or identification would imply a duality and hierarchal positioning of the objects by myself and the viewer. In essence this is what Bryant is driving at in his book, in that, we have this tendency as a species to subjugate the world around us, placing ourselves in a superior position in order to lay judgement. He proposes a concept he calls 'wilderness ontology' in which the notion of being is not an absolute, but part of a pluralization of agency, one which removes the focus on human privilege. One of the features of The Democracy of Objects Project that struck me was that it seems to force the viewer into taking a position: it urged me into some kind of decision. The way you deconstruct and assembly memories in order to create a multilayered point of convergence between past, present and future suggests a process of investigation: maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

An underlying interplay in much of my work has to do with paradoxes, driven by my belief that there can never be any right, wrong or absolute answers - only more questions. Based on this premise, I usually try to coax, awaken and sometimes surprise the viewer/participant regarding the didactic reality in which they may find themselves being pulled into on a daily basis - one which has been socially constructed and imprinted as part of our socialized nature and collective memory. One, whose purpose is ultimately to illicit power and agency from its participants. One in which, the hierarchical and privileged relationship between artist and


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viewer, object and subject, culture and nature must be challenged. The title of Bryant's book and in turn my project, The Democracy of Objects Project, immediately implies some sort of paradox at play with a certain twist of irony. After all, isn't the political construct we call democracy reserved for us humans. How can one possibly infer that objects participate in, and enjoy such a status? ... and to what end? An earlier project I had developed entitled Limits of Control Series (2010-11), shared similar qualities and intent as The Democracy of Objects Project. Limits of Control was developed during my MFA degree at the University of Ottawa which became part of a larger concept entitled The Obscure Objects of Desire and the Rise of the Technological Chimera. The Limits of Control consisted of four separate works all constructed from deconstructed and skinned TV sets, VHS video recorders, and CD Players. I came to refer to these works as Hybrid Sculptural Objects and were entitled; Untitled (a.k.a. Leonard), Untitled (a.k.a. Marta), Holy Cow Television, and Presence. Limits of Control had also evolved from my two previous works, Vertebra Part 2: The Skinning of Memory: VP2 (2010), and the xSeries: VP1 (2009). However, unlike the large-scale of VP2 and VP1, that is, as site specific installations, the Limits of Control was scaled down with the intent of creating works that were more intimate - in order to explore in part, the nature and relationship between humans and machine objects, and how this binary interplay may define what makes us human, or a machine a machine. In Untitled (a.k.a. Leonard), a gutted and discarded cathode ray (TV) picture tube rests face down on the lower half of the skeletonlike wood structure - its vertebrae. Just above

it, sits a functioning TV set which has been skinned of its shell, thus exposing its cathode ray tube and electronic components. As one approaches Leonard, one first encounters an image which is being displayed on the screen of the functioning skinned TV set. This image is of the discarded TV tube below, except the image has been inverted so that the discarded tube is now facing upwards. The image also seems to have acquired subtle gestures and a steady clicking sound seems to be also emanating from it. One may assume that the source of the image is from a live feed since there are no obvious originating sources. And as such, one may begin to wave their hands up and around the work to see if this is in fact the case. When no interference occurs, one may even begin to search for other possible sources of the image's origin. Eventually, the viewer may notice that a black encased DVD player is located just below the functional skinned TV set, which is in fact playing a three-minute prerecorded video loop of the image they are seeing. And even upon this discovery, one may prefer to believe that the image is still a live feed, since their experiencing of the event is occurring in the moment, and not via some post after-image. And they would not necessarily be wrong. The remaining three works from The Limits of Control series, revolve around similar principles, as Leonard, that is, exploring notions of time, of presence, of our relationship to machine objects, and what may constitute human and machine nature. The works' also take their cues from critical discourses around what it means to be post-human, which N. Katherine Hayles explores in her books entitled How We Became Posthuman and My Mother was a Computer as well as Donna Haraway's with her work, A Cyborg Manifesto.


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Object File #149, Democracy of Objects Project, Digital Archive, Montreal, 2014


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I like the way The Conversation urges the viewers to question the nature of our gestures, creating an area of intense interplay that invites us to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: in particular, your investigation about the liminal area in which virtuality and physicality find an unexpected point of convergence, reveals the intimate consequences of constructed realities: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The answer to your question is yes and no. Without the direct experience, the work being created will seem hollow, or appear to be some sort of inferior copy. Perhaps, it would also lack an aura as Walter Benjamin had claimed about works being reproduced. However, how does one qualify that direct experience in their work so that it resonates with others, without it being deterministic and privileged. This has been a major critique regarding modern art, which postmodernist theorists have tried to address. Unfortunately, even works created within the postmodernity sphere have also in time, fallen prey to this determinism and privileging. Much of this has to with how our experiences are framed within the context of art and meaning. In the piece, The Conversation, I was concerned with three things. One, how technology specifically mobile devices - have come to mediate the way in which we communicate and interact with each other. Secondly, how to translate the work so that the participants have their own personalized experiencing of the

event. And thirdly, how to critique my concerns about media by using the media itself, as well as removing any possibility of a static and privileged representation within a framed environment. In the end, I isolated twelve repetitive actions/gestures I believed were generated through the daily use of mobile technology which I called: The Frame, Tap & Swipe, The Search, The Prayer, The Couple, The Frame (revisited), The Dance, Shoulder Play, The Duel, Occupied, Shoulder Play (revisited) and The Remote. I then had these gestures recreated live as performative pieces. They were then video recorded and uploaded into the cloud. From there, they were each individually and uniquely synced to twelve specific GPS co-ordinates in and around the San Fransisco area, such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,€200 Kansas St & 15th (the original warehouse location for the film The Conversation), Hearst Greek Theatre, Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge.€The GPS coordinates and recorded gestures could then be triggered and accessed via one's own mobile device. The closer one came to the co-ordinates, the larger the marker which were designating the recorded gestures' position would appear on one's mobile device. Therefore the experiencing of the work was relational not only in terms of distance, but also in terms of the environment one happened to be in when experiencing the individual gestures. This augmented experience or AR (Augmented Reality), as it has been called, is a new, exciting, and alternative platform for artists to explore, especially as a tool for intervention and interaction. For example, I was fortunate to be part of a group of artists to stage an AR intervention on the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, NY). Our selected works were uploaded and synced to the interior of the MoMA, creating a simultaneous virtual exhibition in and over the existing exhibition. Of course this was not sanctioned by MoMA, and was meant as a statement by the artists as to the hierarchal


Irene Pouliassi

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The Frame, The Conversation, Video Still, Performer: Teoma Naccarato, AR, San Fransisco, 2013


The Search, The Conversation Video Still, Performer: David Daly, AR,, San Fransisco, 2013


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The Scream (vs5), Digital composition/Print, Evora, Portugal, 2013


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nature of such institutions on the art scene. Another interventionist based AR work I developed was entitled The Spaces We AR, which critiqued the onslaught of condominium development along Montreal's waterfront. The ambience created by The Scream (vs 05) has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by French social theorist Michel Foucault and what has mostly impacted on me is the subtle but pervading sense of narrative: although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: German artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your opinion about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

A non-linear approach to narrative interests me great deal, and is definitely part of my strategic intent with works such as the Conversation, Democracy of Objects Project and The Scream (vs5). I realized that it was next to impossible to get away from the narrative, since we live our lives around a multitude of narratives. So the best I could hope for was to short out the narrative's linearity, thus allowing the viewer/participant to jump in where s/he wished to - in turn creating their own narrative. The Scream (vs05) holds a very special place in my heart, in that it originates from a photo I shot of my daughter, Alessandra, as well as being inspired by her work as a poet and spoken word artist. Of course the work also eludes to Edvard Munch infamous piece, The Scream (1893). Therefore it is interesting that you should bring up Thomas Demand, since in

his works, he deconstructs narrative events and relational objects from within a certain place and time, in order to recreate it once again as either an installation, a photograph or cinematic event in an alternative time/space, as he has done with the Tunnel (1999), Kitchen (2004), Yellowcake (2007), and Pacific Sun (2012). In so doing, he definitely attempts to trigger within the participant/viewer an narrative, laced with underlying psychological implications in order to create an alternative experiencing and understanding of the event or object in question. Though, The Scream (vs5), doesn't necessary follow along Demand's recreation approach, my inference to Munch's piece does challenge the viewer/participant's perception and experiencing of both works as separate, yet related events, as well as the fact they are both sharing an emotive and psychological relationship to a particular symbolic and iconic gesture. I'm not sure if I totally agree with Demand's assertion in that we can no longer rely on symbolic strategies, since I believe we have an inherent need to search out symbolic meaning within the world around us; to create some sort of referential symbolic dialogue in order to communicate. After all language is essentially a set of symbols. In terms of your referencing Foucault's concept of Heterotopia, I feel you're right on with that observation as well. The Scream (v5) does hint at the multiple spaces or layers that exist between an utopian/dystopian state - physical and mental - as well as hinting about another space where one's other, may or may not exist - the space in which the scream occurs. It can be a very frightening space, but also one of revelation. As Foucault points out, Heterotopia, could be likened to a mirror where the image of oneself is utopian in that exists only as a reflection and can be re-imagined in whatever way one wishes. Yet the mirror itself is a real


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object, and in that it has the ability to define the reality which is one's self. I like the way your Digital Landscape Series: The Horizon reveals an incessant search of a functional symbiosis between several viewpoints: moreover, the reference to the universal imagery that recurs in your works seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any track of contingency...

The Digital Landscape Series was my first foray back to the landscape as subject, since I had stopped painting them some ten years ago. The landscape then had played a prominent role in my works beginning with the series entitled Riley Lake (1998), on through to, From Lisbon to Madrid (2001), and Parc Lafontaine (2004). Each of these works explored my journeys as well as my relationship to the landscape of specific regions, from Toronto to Europe and Montreal. But, as I had mentioned earlier, the framing of the paining as well as its staticity kept getting in the way. I not only wanted my viewers to be able to walk into the work and experience its depth, but also its continuum in space/time, which for me, stretched beyond the limitation of the canvas's edges. However, in terms of The Digital Landscape Series, I feel that I had moved a step closer, since as you've pointed out, I had perhaps achieved an atemporal experiencing of the work. This may also be due to the fact that the landscapes were now encased within an atemporal media itself, that of digital and the internet. Another interesting point I want to make related to landscapes is about what a friend of mine once told me. He said that we are in a


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The Landscape Series: The Horizon, Digital Plate #08, Eastern Townships, Quebec, 2012


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The Landscape Series: The Horizon, Digital Plate #09, Eastern Townships, Quebec, 2012


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sense cursed to see all works of art as either landscapes, portraits or a still life. Overtime, I have come to believe this, and have realized that the majority of my work exists as landscapes that is, the works either explore and/or manifest as horizontal based experiences, and that only the media I use continues to change. I'd even go as far as to say that my choice of media, is in a sense always a paint brush, and that I am painting that one landscape, over and over again, trying to push those edges one step further. During these years your works have been screened in several occasions around the world, including a recent participation to the ongoing the lectures are ongoing, but the symposium was a one shot deal (Un)certain Boundaries: Visualizing the Intersections of Science & Society Symposium. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I believe it really depends on the subject matter and what it is one is trying to communicate. If it is strictly about passing on information about the work, as in a lecture to a large audience, I don't expect much feedback. The information passed on could linger for perhaps a month or years, but eventually may contribute to the value and insights of not only my work but that of others. But, if one wishes others to really get a sense of what their work is about, then workshops are a much more effective way to connect and communicate with others. For example, as you mentioned, I was one of the keynote speakers for the (Un)certain Boundaries: Visualizing the Intersections of Science & Society€Symposium (2013),€at the University of California,


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Berkeley's€Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society, (CSTMS). I developed the work, The Conversation, specifically for the conference as part of my keynote talk entitled, AR: Towards the Augmentation of a Brave New World. The talk and live presentation of the work was presented over a two day period; the first day to a smaller group of about twenty people and the next day to a larger audience of one hundred plus which was also streamed live. The smaller group I felt was more productive because it evolved into a sort of workshop with a more personal, hands on approach. And those in attendance really got a sense of the work, and their feedback was invaluable to me. With the larger audience, I was able to reach a lot more people, but because AR was a relatively new concept, it was much more difficult to get the concept across and receive critical feedback. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, John. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you once again for allowing me this time to speak about my work. As to future projects, let's just say that I am presently exploring such subjects as sleep, dreams, black holes, worm holes, parallel universes and quantum physics along with the ubiquitous intervention of mobile and cloud based technologies as points of convergence for several of my next projects. I'm looking at conversing with Astro and Quantum Physicists, Neurosurgeons, and Psychologists, as well as doing interviews with people about their sleep patterns as part of the research. Therefore, that frame I've been going on about, is definitely being pushed beyond its outer limits.

Untitled: aka Leonard, Limits of Control Hybrid Sculptural Object, Ottawa, 2010-2011


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Holy Cow Television, Limits of Control Hybrid Sculptural Object Ottawa, 2010-2011


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Sergey Sobolev Lives and works in Moscow, Russia

S

ergey Sobolev is well known Moscow artist, designer, sculptor.A graduate of the Moscow state academic art Lyceum and the Moscow academic art Institute named after Surikov.

important of them is the theory of metadesign, the theory megaform, the concept of tactile design, experiences form therapy. In the framework of the project "Morphology" has created a series of sculptures of "Simple forms", "Circles", "Vessels", "Fruits".

Participant and winner of numerous competitions in the field of art, design and architecture. Participated in more than forty thematic, group and solo exhibitions.

Aesthetics and the General orientation of the creativity of Sergey Sobolev can be attributed to minimalism, futurism, symbolism and ecodesign. Almost all of his work are based on the philosophy of humanism, esoteric and metaphysics. They are distinguished by the detachment, contemplation, study of the field of the unknown and focus on absolute concepts. His sculptures and objects peculiar to biomorphic and brevity of form.

Over the past years has been developing projects in environmental design, product design, light design, eco-design of residential interiors, creative concepts of public spaces, conceptual architecture, design logos and volume of logos, creation of landscape and urban sculpture, symbolic forms, interactive and socially-oriented art objects. Hi developed theoretical foundations in the field of design, sculpture and architecture. The most

Sergey Sobolev is the head of the Studio "Ars forma". Member of Moscow Union of artists, Union of Moscow sculptors and Moscow Union of designers.


LandEscape meets

Sergey Sobolev An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator witht he collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

Sergey Sobolev creates multidisciplinary works that offer a multilayered experience, urging the viewers to rethink about the relationship between the environment we inhabit and the way we perceive it. While referring to the primordial nature of elements, his installations suggest an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to explore the relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Sergey and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, you grew in a family of artists and moreover you have a solid formal training: after your studies at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute Surikov V.I. you joined the Moscow Union of Artists. So I would like to ask you the importance of these experiences in your evolution as an artist: in particular, how does your formal training experience impact on the technical aspects you mainly focus on your works?

Child impressions are the strongest and foundational for any person, that's why the fact that my parents were artists decided my future life perspective. It had a significant impact on me and shaped a certain mindset. Later on 12 years of studies at the School of Art first and then at the University of Art laid the significant Juerg Luedi


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groundwork for the technical competence as well as for the worldview shaping and aesthetical preferences. We were taught in classical way on the basis of antiquity and renaissance ideals. It formed certain aesthetical principles. They are raised to the rank of philosophy, or even more — to the rank of cult. It is well-known that any false note is horrible to the ear of a musician, and the painters feel the same, but in relation to the colour or shape. But another factor was more influential. The stage of trainings can be compared to bullet acceleration in the gun barrel. It looks as if a person is flying in the intended direction through the life, and if they don't meet any invincible obstacles, they don't change this direction for the whole life. It is very important. To deal with any matter it is necessary to focus on it. But it is more important to guess the right direction of this acceleration in the beginning of the life, because if you make a mistake, you may live not your life by inertia. I'm so unfocused by nature and I'm interested in widely different things. And if I didn't have fundamental art education I could be lost in the variety of interests without taking successive steps in definite direction. And I still expand the horizons steadily, and sometimes it leads to slowdown. It can be compared to a river — the wider its bed is the slower the stream is. But I don't worry about it, because I haven't a definite professional goal. That's why I feel gratitude to the situation that it all worked out this way, and I definitely live my own life. And I even think that each person should be an artist. It is a form of human existence, an essence of human nature. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and


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time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

As to sculpture and especially to architecture, the technical part is much larger than the creative one here, that's why many projects remain unrealized. But honestly speaking I do not feel sad at this fact, because the most interesting thing is to think up. But I can't relegate the execution to another person in my case, especially when it comes to sculpture, where the shape is critical for conveying the meaning and character. It is very important for me to recognize the concept in all the details, and nobody but I can know it beforehand. A reasonably large project takes half a year and more. Each new project is a small life, which brings you a valuable experience. I believe that the task should always be a bit higher than apparent potentials. In this case it makes you grow and be in progress. Every time I get involved into the project so much, that I do much more than it is required of me. Of course, I do it for myself and my client gets a result as a bonus. To my mind, easy tasks are just time wasters. Simple solutions of difficult tasks are much more interesting. The sculptural art is a precise visual genre. Its shape is its language. The shape has distinct limits, otherwise it is amorphous, shapeless in other words. That's why I put my sculptures into concise shape, polish them up to the state of a sign, and get them rid of unwanted details to avoid anything arbitrary. Optimization is the sculpture's genesis. The significance of meaning is put into the significance of form, as if into the box. Or conversely the significance of meaning gets covered with a shell of the significant form. I theorize more and more over years, and I consider it to be a more productive process. I get more and more absorbed into philosophy, formation of the attitude towards different objects. That's why I


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will not tell you about the particular process of sculpture creation and other projects, about the technical matters. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Cosmic Sphere, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at

http://www.sergeysobolev.ru in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

It was a project for the certain place, for the private area. It was planned to build children's playing space. At the same time the modern architecture of the house and the forest site


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layout created a definite image, which I didn't want to ruin. That's why no childishness in the usual sense of the word would have done for me. I took an independent view of the task. What do children need? They need their own world, and the more secret and hidden from the adults' eyes it is the more interesting and attractive it seems to them. I had several ideas and the space spheres were one of them. They looked like enigmatic artifacts, meteorites, or

petrified remains, absolutely integrated into the landscape, but inside you could see a different world, as in the ant hill. These are the interconnected spherical spaces with the holelike passages, and I think it is rather interesting to wander through them. When a logical problem is formulated, the intuition starts to work. And at some point an insight into the problem is gained, adults' point of view and


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

children's point of view suddenly reach an unexpected agreement. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep, almost physical interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience and I definetely love the way Ocean and Cocoon takes such an intense participatory line not only on the way we enjoy Art, but also and especially on the conception of art itself. In particular, your investigation about the intimate aspect of constructed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The creative process, if it is genuine, is always based on the latest update of the personal experience. It is bound to be so. It is a visual form of personal diaries. And there is another important point, such as responsibility for the words we say. Art is an area of freedom, but freedom is good when it is responsible and conscientious. And I strongly believe that it is destructive to visualize your inner problems. This way an artist multiplies, documents and immortalizes them. A piece of visual art can outlive its author and continue to convey the thoughts and emotions put into it. If this message is destructive, it can make a lot of harm to people. That's why I develop a concept of sound art. But to create sound art you must be sound yourself. And it seems to be the most difficult but the most useful task.


Sergey Sobolev

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Sergey Sobolev


Sergey Sobolev

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The ambience created by Lips and the reminder to human body has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Many people are led by stereotypes. The stereotype is a convenient system for communications. It is a ready module, but it is closed. It means that it doesn't intend any development. I can't accept the stereotypes at all. It is not that I struggle against them, I rather ignore them, do not see them just on principle. But sometimes it is difficult. It requires a special state of keeping distance. I try to be open-minded, like a child, and to create my own constructions, as if I build them with toy blocks. Any concept isn't an absolute for me; it is a flexible material for creative work. The artist's role is very wide. It ranges from the balance of irrationality, which is necessary for the inner self of any person in such a pragmatic world, and stimulation of the people's sociability, to breaking stereotypes when they begin to dominate the reason, as the art lives by its own code. The artist provokes and evokes some sleeping parts of human nature, of which they can be not aware themselves. It is interesting and useful for personal growth.


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Plasticity as well as the evokative power of abstract shapes: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to

realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

At a certain point I broke from bonds of definitions at last. Everything amalgamated into an integrated stream of creativity for me. Functional and aesthetic aspects are present everywhere. Creativity unites everything I do.


Sergey Sobolev

Creativity always means discovering something new, inventing something that didn't exist in this world five minutes ago. But sometimes situation calls for definitions, as our brain can work with definitions only, but I try to veil everything. I try to turn architecture and design into art, and endue the art with functionality, if not practical but in any case curative or psychological. All the disciplines I've talked

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about are directly related to the form and the space. The fact that I'm engaged into various activities is explained not by my efforts to find the appropriate tool for self-expression, but more by the fact that I have my own perspective, my own point of view, where I see the tings a bit different, and sometimes I want to express it. I have defined this term as "metadesign", it belongs to a different level, and that's


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

why the discipline differences do not play an important role. As for the abstract forms, here we deal with absolute metaphysics. They possess the minimum of familiar informational content. I understand them as tuning-forks, wave generators. Their frequency makes a certain effect. Generally this effect is meditative, calming, and stabilising. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Stream: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. I later realized I had to

fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Stream: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for


Sergey Sobolev

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a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? Many works appear by intuition. The image comes into being, and at first I can't understand what to do with it, and then it takes the accomplished form. The trend began as a composition of two issues which I was interested in. It is a static form, which supposes expressed or potential dynamics, and an issue of two forms coupling. When they united into one image they took new various meanings at

once. This is a unity of two, but in co-current dynamics. Two united into one and go with the stream. As for me it is visualization of love, or family. However everybody can see their own ideas. Such abstract allegories provoke individual interpretation from the viewers, and sometimes it seems to me that we needn't impose our own associations and lay our cards on the table. It's better to give a viewer some freedom. I noticed that you seem to induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to,


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

I noticed that you seem to induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this

seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works? I deal with supertemporal categories. I'm interested in timeless themes. They unite


Sergey Sobolev

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people regardless of geography or epoch. It is the level where there is no discord, and I try to bring it outside, out of the depth of the unconscious. I want it to get material form and to transform from a theory to a real artifact. To the thing which many people guess, but do not find a real confirmation. This applies especially

to sculpture art. It has always been a synonym for immortalization. That's why the themes must be appropriate. I daresay I do not stay in deep subjectivism, but I focus on the depth of the objective roots, which connect all of us. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Before taking leave from this interesting

conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?


Sergey Sobolev

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Audience has a determining value, if an artist is socially focused. In fact, it often inspires their creativity, discover new topics for them. The ideas appear in a certain context, and they would never come into mind by themselves. But there also exists a separate process which

does not depend on external circumstances. It is like an inner dialogue. It runs in the laboratory setting. The both of them are interesting, one supplies another. I began to feel more keenly the social role. I think our presence in this world means a close contact between people, that's why it is a bit wrong to


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Sergey Sobolev

Art Review

retire into shell and to escape from reality to one's own worlds. Visual art is intended for the viewer, because it is a form of communication. That's why I listen to the response, but I'm interested not so much in logical valuation, I'm interested more in emotions, how my objects correct and retune viewer's inner vibrations. I'd like to know if the viewer gets a useful experience, if it provides an inducement to develop themselves, if it makes them more open and so on. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sergey. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

My creative work plans are deeply connected to common life tasks. As for me, many things in people's lives seem unacceptable in the most essential aspects. It is difficult to notice it from the outside, because I do not waste my power for the struggle. Nothing must be rejected and nothing must be struggled with, before you find an alternative. And if it is really worthy, you won't have to prove anything any more. That's why the best way to change something for the better is your own example. My life, its latest years turn into reconsidering and new life philosophy shaping. Its final meaning is to learn how to live in a right way. The right way is when nobody can dispute it. The right way is when it is very convincing, intelligible, and inspiring. It will be my revolution of consciousness. I don't know if I will get it, but this way is very challenging by itself. So everything that concerns my art and design activities has resemblance to a shadow play, rather restrained and uncertain illustrations of the inner processes. And also it looks like careful

and cautious experiments and tests for information accumulation. I have so many ideas that I even don't have any hope to realize them. And it does't matter if I live a year or fifty years more, the ideas multiply quicker then I manage to realize them. That's why I stopped to hurry. I do not make plans. I act as a situation demands. I realize the things which need fewer efforts, which are more appropriate at this moment. I have some projects started but not finished, right now I have some projects which are waiting for the start, and tomorrow I'll have some new ones. I'd like to work out the issue of conceptual architecture, where we deal with the relationships of space, volume and psychology. These are sculptural furniture, where the shape becomes tactile. These are luminous objects, conceptual installations, and sculpture as a process of the shape investigation and its influence on a person, the issues of morphology, form therapy and visual philosophy.


Irene Pouliassi

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from nieDAsie project Audiovisual installation on trashy items, Detroit 2014 Photo by Pani Pawlosky


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Monika Szpener Lives and works in Szczecin, Poland

M

onika Szpener, visual artist/sculptor, born 1979, lives and works in Szczecin, Poland. In 2003, she completed sculpture courses leading to a master's degree at Nicolaus Copernicus University of Thorn, fine art faculty.

In 2011 she got a doctor degree in fine arts at the university. She deals with sculpture in a wider sense, including portraits, installations, objects, and artistic actions. She uses characteristic materials, e.g. various recyclable materials, worn out and useless items. Most of her works are interdisciplinary and combine various artistic techniques.

Monika Szpener is the author of many individual and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad e.g. - Performance Intermedia Festival, Szczecin/Berlin, Germany - Draft. YOUTH FESTIVAL in Szczecin, Poland - Transmediale Festival, Berlin, Germany - Pro-exictence Festival, Schloss Brollin, Germany - individual exhibition, National Museum, Szczecin, Poland - International Symposium of Sculpture , Switzerland - POL-EKO exhibition, climate summit COP 14 Poznan, Poland - art action, Museum of Contemporary Art ms², Łodz, Poland - „CITY ​OF DREAMS” international Festival, individual exhibition „Vertical Objects”, Katowice, Poland - individual exhibition "reNEW", inSPIRACJE “Apocalypse 2012”,International Festival, Szczecin, Poland - International Symposium of Ceramic, Ukraine - collective exhibition, SCOPE Miami 2012, USA - collective exhibition, “Kontejnery k světu / Plzeň”, International Festival Plzen, Czech Republic - exhibition as a Group nieDAsie, “OMO Trip” Dlectricity Festival, Detroit, USA


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

Monika Szpener An interview by Josh Ryder, curator with the collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

Monika Szpener explores the liminal area between the expressive potentials of traditional media and the emerging languages that comes from a careful multidisciplinary approach. Her gaze on contemporariness doesn't simply deliver a mere report on new aspects of reality but also offers a personal view on what's behind our the experiences mediated by our perceptual process. Her work nieDAsie (noCANdo) that we'll be discussing in the following pages clearly shows the multifaceted nature of Szpener's approach: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Monika and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after graduating with a master's degree in Sculpture at the Nicolaus Copernicus University of Torun, you eventually pursued a Ph.D degree in Fine Arts. €I would like to ask you how these experiences have influenced your evolution as an artist and how training has informed the way you currently conceive the works that we'll be soon discussing. €

Artistic studies are not anymore concentrated around only traditional techniques but they inspire personal research within the ways of seeing, perceiving the world. Studying in Torun

was a very important part of my artistic development and has strongly influenced my artistic, aesthetic and general consciousness. It is extremely important in the contemporary world to be able to define and express each personal perception on the world and ways of its investigation. However, the same importance has to be paid to flexibility and fluidity that are inherent moments of the world. Then, studying both practical subjects and theoretical ones helped me to make my personal artistic perception conscious and to define flexible borders of the things in the world, which are all interconnected. Of course it has also allowed me to understand my reasons for creation that are mostly based on intuition and non-verbal emotions. Due to that I have achieved another level of investigation of my sources of inspiration and I have learned to formulate my beliefs passing them into the art and creating my own picture of contemporary world. €

Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from nieDAsie, an extremely interesting piece that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.szpener.pl in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. Meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration? €

nieDasie project is an experimental piece, fluid and developed with logic of intuition. It is Juerg Luedi


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based on the connection and juxtapostion of two disciplines: video art and installation, which has appeared as the result of artistic cooperation and friendship with Pani Pawlosky. Then, it is hard to point at one exact point when and how it had started, as the mutual influence of two different artistic personalities with different but complementary perceptions on the matter of rubbish, was a river-like process, with the beginning well hidden in the depth of subconscious mountains and caves. The first work had been done for a design fair, for which I have been invited to prepare an exhibition of objects from recycled materials. During the preparations there had appeared an opportunity to elaborate another project with a use of video art, for which I had invited a friend of mine, Pani Pawlosky; together we constitute the duet or crew „nieDAsie“. The work together was hard as our strong artistic personas were clashing. In order to finish it, we had to reach numerous compromises. In that way we did the first work “My Room“, which has evolved into a series shown during many festivals in Detroit last year. You can see its effect here: https://vimeo.com/87133354 https://vimeo.com/115853224 € I have appreciated the way you investigate the psychological nature of the cinematic image: in particular, when I first happened to get to know nieDAsie I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of primary elements to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct detail from myFunerals, Performance


Monika Szpener

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from nieDAsie project Audiovisual installation on trashy items, Detroit 2014 Photo by Pani Pawlosky


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from nieDAsie project Audiovisual installation on trashy items, Detroit 2014 Photo by Pani Pawlosky


Monika Szpener

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relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? € As I have already mentioned above, the nieDasie project is the intuitive synthesis of two artistic visions and experiences of two persons creatively working, each one on her own. Together we try to synchronize our perceptions, which is possible when we intuitively go back to common experiences from childhood.

Children perceive the world with all the senses much stronger than the adults, concentrated on rational thinking and isolated visual perception. Then our exploration has got a sense of synthesis and can be understood as the effort to return to this holistic type of experience. This is possible due to the use of different media and materials, which create a kind of sensual space. Contemporary electronic media and art as such have the power to return us to ourselves, to the sensual integrity as it was forseen by the prophet of the new media – Marshall McLuhan. This integrity has got its changeable form which materializes in an experience of spectactors – vusers (as Mirosław Rogala relates himself to participants in interactive art). Each experience is a tad different; however, it is also possible to be commonly shared, thanks to the rhythms sensed under the skin. By creating in that way, we try to change the human perception of the world, not just for a moment, but for a longer period of time. We try to open not only the human mind, but most of all human senses. Meble (furniture) has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault and has given me the same sensations that I experienced when I first happened to get to know Gabriel Orozco's early installations. In particular, I have appreciated the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent


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Monika Szpener

Art Review

feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some information & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this? € You are right when relating the Foucauldian idea of heterotopia to the Meble project, as I use to materials excluded from the world of life, materials that are excremental, that are to be eliminated from the space of the “always-thenew” of consumerism. In that way I try to contribute to the fight against the hegemonic position of late capitalism; fight – not in the aggressive meaning but softly, not trying to break anything but to transform our perception and understanding, and due to that also to change our worldview and the ways we act in everyday life. This is the responsibility of the artist – not arguing, but acting on the level of form and senses, as well as of emotions and intuitions. Of course, here again appears the another Foucauldian idea that our fights can be only local and dispersed. We cannot and we should not try to make any sort of bloody revolution as this changes nothing. We should change the way people relate themselves to the world thanks to the small transformation of relations with this what is the Other to the system: to the sensible body of us and of other beings and things in the world. The hegemony of “the use”, “the function” should be tresspassed. This is a truly liberating practice. We should not just ask about the function, as many years ago Herbert Marcuse had already been writing; we should ask different questions and liberate our sensibility on all the levels. For this the project Meble is done. It calls us to ask


Monika Szpener

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From "Stones" series 2013 Objects made of bottle caps Photo by Andrew Golc


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From "Stones" series 2013 Objects made of bottle caps (photo by Andrew Golc)

different questions: what is it?, what is it made of?, what is its matter?, why?, how do I feel it?, what kind of meanings I can find in that? €

One of the most epiphanic feature of your work is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the contemporary unstability: the way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a

way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Considering a history of contemporary art one can argue that the artistic creation can be disconnected from direct experience as it was shown best by conceptualism. However, I do


Monika Szpener

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not agree it is the right way and I propose the way through the body, emotions, perceptions and thinking that are interconnected creating an integral experience. Foucault himself in his late writings had been pointing at the body where the change should appear. The body, its senses and perception is a field of battle for the better, less exclusive world. The modernity had gone to the pick with its rationalization processes that lead – as we already know – not to the better future, but to administrative, rational nightmare, where the human being disappears. We have to reclaim

our bodily experience, both in artistic practice and in everyday life. In art it is already well noticed by many theoreticians and artists, who refer either to the concept of soma esthetics as Richard Shusterman does, or underline the importance of bodily experience as Arnold Berleant in pragmatist aesthtetics does or reflect in the anthropological way on the triangle imagemedium-body as Hans Belting does. The importance of body and bodily experience is explicit on both sides, not only on the creative side but also on the side of reception. Arnold Berleant and Wolfgang Welsch (however Lamp Object made of used PET bottles Photo by Andrew Golc


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CYFRA+ Objects made of satellite dishes, 2012 Photo by Andrew Golc

Monika Szpener


Monika Szpener

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each one in a slightly different way) argue against the Kantian disinterestedness and show how the art is created and received because of reasons different than only showing off the social, cultural, educational and/or economical status. I totally agree with them at that point. € Your artistic production is pervaded with a subtle but effective sense of narrative and although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose the ideas you explore, recontextualizating found objects, as in odNowa (reNew) German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works? € You actually touch the point here. I am transforming meanings that are well connected to objects that we meet in our life, objects of everyday use and objects with sacred meanings, as crucifixes and figures of catholic saints. The rejection of dominant ideologies – as I have already explained – cannot be done just politically. Revolts without depths or internal changes do not lead anywhere. In the end we find ourselves back on square one and the only difference that appears is the difference in the dominant group. In order then to diametrically reformulate the dominant narratives: religious, economic and political ones, we have to juxtapose their ideas and recontextualize their characteristic elements. In that way we can effectively, although within a rather small dimension, refute the dominant strategies, narratives and structures. This does


Monika Szpener

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"Swimming pool" from "reNEW" series 2012 220x120x60cm Photo by Roman Wnuk


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"Picnick basket " from "reNEW" series 2012 60x 40x 30cm Photo by Roman Wnuk

Monika Szpener


Monika Szpener

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not mean telling or imposing new narratives, it is rather questioning, stratifying the previously coherent layers, creating or making visible a new network of relations between elements of our surrounding: material, mental and emotional. The figure of Jesus Christ „jumping” into a blue swimming pool, which is the main part of the installation odNowa is precisely this kind of work of ethical value. Although at the first sight it can stir fright (especially in Poland) of attacking religious values, it is directed at the recycling of meanings due to the change of context. It is critical to overproduction in the world of commodities, of art and of religion. However, this critique has got deep moral sense pointing at my belief that the renovation/ regeneration of the world is possible mostly by means of art. It is also important to notice that I have already been working with religious symbols before, as in the work from the year 2010 „Crucifix” or in others resembling altars. € You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several viewpoint out of temporal synchronization: moreover, the reference to the universal imagery that recurs in your works seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any track of contingency € To add to the previous explanation, the concept of time is the right move. The atemporality you mention surges from the transformation of dominant narrations, one based on functionality and the other on the eternal life that awaits us somewhere there. Both of these narrations are linear as the religious narrative in its most common version can be reduced to the Saint Augustine's concept of linear time that has started with the creation of the world by God,


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has had its culmination point with the birth and death of Christ and is leading us to the end of time. The time embodied in my realizations is of different nature. It is not a functional time, as the (fixed) functionality is one of the concepts that I oppose the most. The time that you can find in my artistic practice is the time lived, experienced and embodied. It is the time of being and not only doing/ using/ going to. However, it is important to stress that this time of being is not immobile and mute. The being to which I refer is not of Platonic nature, absolute, universal and immobile, but it is a living being, a being that is embodied and so: changeable, relational, transformable. Then, trying to understand my art, you cannot only read it, trace semantic trails in order to get to the one, right point. You have to feel it, integrally, as it was said many times: integrally, with your body, senses, emotions and mind. There is no one definition and no functional aim of my pieces, what does not mean that they are contingent. They are and are not. They are deliberately paradoxical, as the paradoxes are liberating, also for the time: due to them the time is liberated from the service to functionalism and comes back to our multilayered experience. € Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, ranging from Sculpture and Video: have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts? € Closing oneself into a defined frames and the use of only one kind of material can be considered as reductive for an artistic

practice, however in my opinion it is the reason to deeply investigate one plastic, artistic area. Drawing from a defined source allows to specialize in a concrete area, as it opens new paths both technological – related to new media – and mental ones. It helps in construction of artistic posture and a specific relation to the world open for various possibilities. I am of the opinion, as McLuhan was stressing, that the interdisciplinary symbiosis is inevitable and – furthermore – it is developing our synesthetic experience, which transforms a human and their way of functioning in the world. € During the se years your works have been exhbited in several occasions, both in Poland and abroad: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context? € Definitely. Today, everyone expects quick and clear information. They are bored with too complicated message and does not want to take excessive lengths to get the answer they need. They also reluctantly decides to visit a gallery. Often the question about the reasons for doing so comes the reply of the ordinary lack of time and will. Therefore, one of the primary objectives of my project was to go out there with the exhibition into the urban space, or generally public space. The city has its own characteristics defined by its functionality and architecture. People moving along it are not inclined to pick up the message associated with the art. Thus, the response to a piece encountered is clean and more authentic, expressed with emotions amplified by curiosity. According to


Monika Szpener

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"Gate" 2010 Object made of used pressed PET bottles 600x300x100 cm Photo of Monika Szpener


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psychologist Edward Nęcki, emotional arousal increases the likelihood of producing an unusual associations, positive emotions allow to reach a more abstract level of conceptual knowledge. Thanks to an abstract reasoning we associate distant facts better and we easier see similarities, use analogies, or synthesis or concept revolution. If the object or situation is surprising, but it raises our positive associations, it will encourage us to pursue further interpretation and increased intellectual effort. These processes are also held at levels of unconsciousness. Here there is a simultaneous combination of facts allowing for the collection of ambiguity. In this way, the recipient can accept different content and take other reasons. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Monika. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? € My next work is a continuation of exploration in white, which I undertook last year. It is search in the plurality of particles and wilderness of metaphors. From the original unity – into the multitude, of monolith - into dispersion. I am heading toward the existential areas - the transience of states and reactions, variation of life, inconstancy, being in motion.

Commotion, constant changes, pouring sand, time, decay and solidification of matter. I am returning to the elementary sculpting as the formation of matter, accompanied with accidentality. The inclusion of its unpredictability, puzzling into the circle of artistic activities planned.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator with the collaboration of Katherine Williams and Dario Rutigliano landescape@europe.com


Monika Szpener

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Photo of the artist by Piotr Miazga


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Abandoned (photo by Glen Farley)


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Glen Farley Lives and works in Oslo, Norway

An artist's statement

I

create kinetic, or moving, sculptures and installations. My goal is to encourage people of all ages to reflect on various subjects and themes, and to amuse and entertain. This includes me. My art practice is inspired by the motion and mechanics of Jean Tinguely and Arthur Ganson but my machinery is concealed in found and created objects, so only the pure motion of the objects remains. The art is totally free of electronics and digital technology and therefore has a nostalgic, tactile feeling to it. I am inspired and obsessed by the possibilities of motion in art, and by the hundreds of small and large mechanical and artistic challenges that arise in the process of creating each of my works. Although my artistic expression could be seen as old-fashioned, the themes I explore are current and yet timeless and include the war on terror and surveillance, e-waste, social

research, family secrets and memories, and refugees and immigrants. My works are particularly popular with children and the young at heart, even though they address serious issues. I believe that a whimsical or humorous treatment of serious themes can be an effective invitation to reflection and discussion. I am particularly interested in how viewers interact with my works and to that end have collected hundreds of comments from them. My future artistic ambitions are to create ever more conceptually and technically ambitious works and exhibit them more widely, not only in my adopted homeland Norway but abroad. I am also organizing one of the first-ever group exhibitions of leading kinetic artists in Norway.

Glen Farley


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Glen Farley An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Daniel C.White landescape@europe.com

Glen Farley's works provide the viewers with a multilayered experience, urging us to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of and the reality we inhabit, inviting us to rethink about primordial concepts. His socially engaged installations suggest an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to question our relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Glen and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with a question about your background: you hold a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science & Sociology, but as an artist you are basically selftaught, and your approach has led you to get closer to several different disciplines, ranging from sculpture and electro mechanics to painting and design. Are there any particular experiences that have influenced the way you conceive and produce your works?

I was what some would call a “late bloomer” as an artist. I only began producing and exhibiting my art in 2011, as a complete change from working thirty years in the information technology field. Looking back, I

see a few key experiences that influenced how I conceive and produce my works. I was fortunate to have two grandfathers whom I loved to spend time with – one a very handy carpenter and the other an electrical engineer. In many ways, the technology and feel of my art would have been familiar and understandable to people of their era. My mother had a strong sense of style and design, and my father sketched and painted as a hobby. I have early and fond associations between the smell of turpentine and the production of art. As a child, I loved to create fantastical machines and other toys from whatever was available, and the only reason I passed Grade 11 Math was because I built a rudimentary functional computer from paper clips, motors and flashlight bulbs. Through the years certain artists have made a deep impression on me – Jean Tinguely, Arthur Ganson, and in recent years in Norway, Kristoffer Myskja, Atle Selnes Nielsen and Lavasir Nordrum. Lavasir has also produced some of the fantastic films and photographs of my work found on my website. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start with "Abandoned", an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers experience it and all your artworks directly at http://farleykunst.no in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic Juerg Luedi


Glen Farley (photo by Lavasir Nordrum)


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production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

My initial inspiration was a gift I received of several cases of old computer technology from my wife’s uncle who had passed away. I began to think about two things simultaneously: first, how much technology we throw away and where it ends up, and second, how we throw away fragments of our lives at the same time. The photos, songs, films and documents stored on these devices, which represent important events and experiences in our lives, are also abandoned. Some of my works have a sense of humour or whimsical nature about them, but this one is more melancholic.

creative process. It not only affects my subject matter but forms part of the impulse and drive to create. Some of my works are even direct reactions to negative or positive personal experiences in my life. As for the direct experience or physical interplay with the viewers, this has always been an important part of my expression. When my children were young we often took apart old tape recorders and VCRs and then put them back together in unconventional ways. I saw how much they enjoyed participating in these creations and like me, how particularly taken they were by the resulting movement of the parts. I believe kinetic art has a particular ability to captivate the attention of the viewer. However, these very characteristics of physical interplay and motion, coupled with the novelty and technology of the art form, runs the risk of distracting some viewers and critics from a deeper analysis of the works themselves.

Your practice is intrinsically connected to the possibility of creating an area of deep, almost physical interplay with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience and I definetely love the way "Abandoned" takes such an intense participatory line not only on the way we enjoy art, but also and especially on the conception of art itself. In particular, your investigation about the intimate aspect of constructed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The way "Abandoned" unveils the intrinsically erratic feature of technological evolution has suggested to me a reflection about the nature of our relation with it. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays come out on top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the materiality of the artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I dare to say that art and technology are going to assimilate each other... what's your opinion on this?

I cannot answer for others, but in my case personal experience is a critical part of my

First of all, I hope that art is never assimilated by technology, but as the recent warnings

detail from myFunerals, Performance


Glen Farley

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Abandoned (photo by Glen Farley)


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about the dangers of artificial intelligence from Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking show, there are reasons to be concerned that the boundary between human and computer creativity could blur in the future. I see my works as part of the tradition of art as “a tactile materialization of an idea,” as you put it. That this view could be seen as a form of nostalgia does not bother me. There are many exciting developments in new media art, and the use of technology can multiply the artist’s possibilities while simplifying his or her production. I myself have experienced many times that it would have been easier to solve some of my motion, sequencing and control challenges by just popping an Arduino* board into my works! However, I have consciously steered clear of digital components and methods, favoring purely physical interaction with the viewer, and old-fashioned electric and mechanical components. I am joined in this approach by a whole group of contemporary kinetic artists. In other words, it is not that we cannot use modern technology (we are submerged in it and exploit it on a daily basis); it is that we choose not to use it in our art. As long as technology is the servant of people in the creation of art, and not the reverse, I will be happy. * Arduino is a simple programmable microcontroller that can sense and control the physical world – www.arduino.cc

Another feature of your approach that has particularly impacted on me is the way you have been able to bring a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not

Surveillance (photo by Lavasir Nordrum)

only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of


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the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your opinion on this?

Some of the found objects and even colour

choices used in my works are chosen to symbolize something else, like the candies in Up North that represent several countries in Europe which refugees are desperately trying to reach. Some are a private homage to


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Just Going Through the Motions (photo by Lavasir Nordrum)

another artist - Jean Tinguely is a favorite - and other objects were just in the right box at the right time in my studio. I agree with your observation that art can

reveal unexpected sides of our inner nature. It also has a special power to access and activate our emotions and thoughts. In Up North, I wanted to probe our ambivalence to the plight of refugees and immigrants. I say “our�


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circle of caring often stops just short of the thousands drowning in the Mediterranean or the millions languishing in refugee camps. I just want to us all to think about this and maybe take a small positive action. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of each of them: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Although all my work has elements from several different disciplines, one piece, Secrets II, is probably the best example of your insight that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve the desired result. For this work I collaborated with two other artists based in Norway. Graphic artist and photographer Sarah Rosenbaum produced a series of 80 collages using pictures from the family albums of all three artists. Mats Claesson, who is an associate professor of music technology at the Norwegian Academy of Music, composed and produced seven original soundtracks. Each time the sculpture is activated, eight images are projected and one soundtrack is played so the viewer has a completely different experience each time. because I am ambivalent myself. When a family member is in trouble we do whatever we can to come to their aid. We are willing to do a bit less when it’s a neighbour, and a bit less still when a fellow citizen of our country is in need. Our

Combining these disciplines, and especially using professionals from each discipline, raised the quality of the work immensely, and not just in the separate disciplines but across them as


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everyone came with suggestions for improving other aspects of the work. Your investigation about the dichotomy between the superficial and the real is expressed in Just Going Through the Motions: in particular, as soon as I happened to get to know this work I tried to relate all the visual information and the idea of regular movement to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of what it symbolizes. Rather than Hermetism that often marks out contemporary sculpture, your work seems to express the desire to enable us to establish direct relations: it speaks with clarity... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

This work does operate on a couple of different levels. The metaphorical, to which you refer, explores the difference between what we promise and what we actually do - our personal reliability compared to these machines, which have kept lawns, bushes and trees alive for several generations. This leads to the other, more easily accessible dimension of the work - the esthetic and mechanical beauty of the sprinklers themselves, which for obvious practical reasons we seldom get to see up close (without getting very wet.) Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some time is entitled Research, which can be considered an allegory of current sociological and political themes. I have appreciated the way your

Just Going Through the Motions (photo by Lavasir Nord

approach forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants to the act you perform... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰ve, I have to admit that I'm


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rum)

sort of convinced that art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical issues: not only just by offering people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state

that art could even steer people's behaviour: what do you think about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I do not think your belief that art can play an


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Research (photo by Peter MacCallum)

effective role in sociopolitical issues is na誰ve. Art has an immense power to influence behavior, in the service of either positive or negative goals. Research was begun as a reaction, and almost a form of therapy following a very stressful period in my working life. Exhibiting it was

never a goal. It explores the monotony of working life, the international war on terror, blind spots in the conduct of social research and several other sociopolitical issues. It also includes a stack of paper comment cards and a pen for members of the public to comment on how they experience the work. The over 200 comments I received are as interesting for me


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Research (photo by Peter MacCallum)

as the artwork itself and included everything from detailed, thoughtful and insightful reflections to children’s drawings to four-letter words. I enjoyed them all equally as I do all audience reception of my work. During the last few years you have had the chance to exhibit your works on many occasions and in the near future through

your participation in the group exhibition Art in Motion, that will be held at the Trafo Art Center in Asker, outside Oslo in Norway. So, before taking leave from this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being an important component of your decision-making process


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Secrets II (photo by Sarah Rosenbaum)

in terms of what type of language you choose for a particular context?

Audience reception plays little or no role in my choice of language or themes for my work. Audience experience on the other hand is very important for me – more important than I first believed. As I mentioned

previously my first artwork was never intended for exhibition, but once I experienced overhearing a group of people having an animated discussion about my art at one of my first exhibitions, I realized that creating art, like preparing a meal, is much more fun in the company of others.


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the pedestal of Surveillance to the control board of the work, which is a small kinetic sculpture in its own right. Since I use motorized switches and components labelled with their origin: USA, Russia and China, the modern giants in domestic and external surveillance, this provides a second level of audience experience. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Glen. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Secrets II (photo by Sarah Rosenbaum)

This plays out in many practical considerations. Things like lighting, soundtrack levels (a crowded gallery space demands about twice the volume of an empty one), durability and accessibility for viewers of all ages and heights are just some of the considerations. In response to feedback from other artists and friends, I have provided visual access through a hole in

On the production side, I have several new projects at the concept stage. I would like to continue exploring different scales - my moving insects in Surveillance were a challenge because they are so tiny while Just Going through the Motions fills a small room. On the exhibition side, I would like to participate in many more exhibitions, in Norway and especially abroad. I just need to keep applying, and of course getting rejected, which is a part of every artist’s life! A particular dream of mine is to organize a joint exhibition of Norwegian and Canadian kinetic artists (since I am Canadian living in Norway.) I would also like to organize children’s workshops in kinetic art, have more collaborations, and create outdoor sculptures that can stand the test of time. Thank you for including me in LandEscape and for the work you do in supporting and showcasing artists.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Daniel C.White landescape@europe.com


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A still from Ode To Lines


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Joon Sung Lives and works in Bowling Green, USA

An artist's statement

O

riginally from Korea, currently based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S., Joon Sung is a media artist and professor of Western Kentucky University, has produced a diverse body of work comprising of painting, video, and computer animation. After studying painting in both Korea and Japan, he attended the graduate studies in computer art at Syracuse University where he met prof. Edward Zajec who was among the pioneers of computer graphics in the 1960s, and he was strongly influenced by his realtime artworks originating in his early paintings. Joon Sung’s recent work is mainly derived from the idea of extending the minimalist painting into motion. He particularly concerns invariant beauty generated in the digital technologies that transcends time and space, and constantly explores another type of

beauty by reinforcing the concept of creativity can be defined as recombining the familiar into the new. The simple forms he normally uses in his pieces are the result of a distinct learning toward the nature of purified art in which essential aesthetic value is the foremost concern. His work has been included in many exhibitions and festivals in the U.S. and abroad, more recently at Inconnu Festival, France (2015); Enhanced Vision - Digital Video ACM SIGGRAPH, USA (2015); FIFE International Experimental Film Festival, Romania (2014); Presentism: A Short Short Film Festival, USA (2014); Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, Canada (2014); Beacons Festival: Lumen, Beaconstruction & The Space Between, England (2014); 6th Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival, USA (2014).


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Joon Sung An interview by Josh Ryder and Dario Rutigliano landescape@europe.com

tones deafen the ear. The five flavors dull the taste.”

A stimulating synergy between sound and video allows Joon Sung to conceive works capable of offering a multilayered experience, urging the viewers to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of space and time. In his recent Particle Daydreams that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he investigates the roots of the relation to moving images, displaying an extraordinary synergy between sound and images: his approach suggests an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investiogate about the relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production.

Before I moved to the USA to attend the graduate studies in computer art at Syracuse University, I was a painter who was genuinely absorbed in the concept of Minimalism which is not about the least condition of art but about the necessary condition of art. I was fascinated by its simplicity, moderation, novelty and magnificence, and thought it’s the most sophisticated art form among others. My aesthetic standpoint about art has not changed even after I employed digital technologies as my creative mediums.

Hello Joon and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after your studies in Painting both in Korea and in Japan, you attended graduate studies in computer art at Syracuse University, where you had the chance to meet prof. Edward Zajec one of the pioneers of computer graphics in the early 60s. How did these stimulating experience influence you as an artist and how did impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Laozi, an influential Chinese philosopher, said that "The five colors blind the eye. The five

I was fortunate enough to meet prof. Edward Zajec at Syracuse University who was among the pioneers of computer graphics in the 1960s. He initially started out as a painter and dived into the world of computer graphics. I was strongly influenced by his real-time artworks originating in his early paintings. It wasn’t until I began to work with computer that I did consider computer graphics as a serious art form as painting or sculpture. Having come from a traditional art background, experiencing this new media was a big change for me—going 'from stillness to motion', 'from silence to sound', and 'from suspension to life.' Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Particle Daydreams, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I


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would suggest our readers to visit directly at https://vimeo.com/112364277 in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

I believe in the accident of art. Art-making often begins with an accident that you never expect. Paul Virilio sees it is positive, and he says that “The accident reveals something important we would not otherwise know how to perceive.” In order to increase the chances to meet a nice accident, you should make an effort and focus on things around you. If you don’t know what you have, you can’t make. You can only make what you can see, notice and perceive. Spontaneity and instantaneity are crucial characteristics of video as a creative medium. I love the immediacy I can get from the act of seeing. Seeing is a great starting point for a creative impulse and results from whatever stimulates my eyes, brain and nervous system. I seek the accident that happens before my eyes. The idea of <Particle Daydreams> was derived from an accident. One sunny day, I was sipping a cup of buckwheat tea on the table, and noticed that minute particles generated by the tea that flew up in a line like a flock of ephemeral mayfly. I had curiously observed the mystique of the phenomenon from which I found a visual catharsis that ultimately led to this piece of video. One of the most epiphanic feature of Particle Daydreams is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporary panorama. The way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities as has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could detail from myFunerals, Performance

A still from Particle Daydreams

be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic


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ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal

experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be


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A still from Particle Daydreams

disconnected from direct experience?

Whether it is intended or not, an artist

inevitably conveys a subjective world, unless he is commissioned to make something for clients. The art video is born from what an


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normally recognized by public. I always tend to scan things around me as a discovery process. Shooting video is about learning to see differently and to think in a different way. I am collecting video, hunting for video, and editing is how I make them. My video therefore is centered on a process of personal experience and realization. It also follows intuitive and unconscious approaches to the video as visual poems in which I grapple with all visual phenomena that I meet. This piece is minimalist poetic video that is made by without an interactions with the contents or manipulation in composition. It consists of a series of discontinuous moving images containing all experimental and non-objective forms, and its intent is aesthetic rather than representing reality in nature. Your recent work is particularly concerned with invariant beauty generated by digital technologies and the way it transcends time and space, in a way that has reminded me of Henri_Bergson's view on the nature of Time: the impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the materiality of the artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

artist directly perceives and experiences. I think that one of the main roles of an artist is like an explorer to discover something that are not

In the history of art, many art movements have risen and declined. While some of them are treated as anachronistic forms that do not function anymore, some are still valid and influential to many contemporary artists. New art-making tools are emerging at breakneck speed and are being applied creatively to


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produce new ideas. Artists are always seeking for a new way to express what they envision. The technical side of art is constantly evolving ever since cave paintings. Each art-making tool has its own characteristic, and pros and cons. Contemporary Art-making is inseparable from technology. New media such as computer and video are just preferable media among artists today partly because it allows artists to imagine and materialize something that was not conceivable for the artists in the 20th century. With digital technology, artists can easily go back to a certain point where he wants to do it all over again by hitting a key and are allowed an unlimited number of experimentation without losing its original quality which was not possible with watercolor. The artists who give weight to ideas and concepts like Sol LeWitt stressed that â&#x20AC;&#x153;No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.â&#x20AC;? The theory of conceptual art suggests artists to use their spirit. Nobody, until conceptual art, was saying that an artist could be primarily a thinker just like a philosopher. This appeals to artsits who like to think. Many artists like to think. I do like to think. A work of art that is technology-driven may be quite nice and elegant but it lacks spirit. It is worth nothing Kant says something can be in part a work of art without possessing spirit, which is the power of arousing aesthetic ideas. This leads artists believe that spirit is not merely a value of artworks, but a necessary condition for being entirely art as well. The geometrical and refined composition of Ode To Lines has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of

A still from Particle Daydreams

perceptual reality. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the


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common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some information

& ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of


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Joon Sung


Joon Sung

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A still from Ode To Lines


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the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

My creative impulse is normally derived by fairly trivial things usually overlooked by a wide range of people. I am often infatuated with certain visual fragments stuck in my head that I had run into at various occasions. The final documentation is resulted from re-collecting those visuals, and they are the materialized forms containing my artistic voice, nuances and metaphors. I assures that the experience and intuition are more significant than abstract rationalism for understanding what I see. <Ode to Lines> is geared towards producing a delight in abstract beauty. Forms are constantly rearranged to create alternative compositions. I like the unpredictability in art making. This piece can be considered as a computer animation, however more precisely speaking, it is a work of painting, a painting that moves, a painting that contains sound. So, this piece lies somewhere between painting and digital animation. This piece is also heavily in debt to Wassily Kandinskyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s approach to his abstract painting. He said that â&#x20AC;&#x153;pure painting that would provide the same emotional power as a musical composition.â&#x20AC;? Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Into Great Circles: In this video you explore the blurry boundary between collective memory and identity, investigating the psychological nature of the cinematic image. In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its

A still from Into Great Circles

symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct


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relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

systematic person. As Henri Bergson regarded

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an intuitive process besides I am not a

impossible, since time itself unravels unforeseen

planning beforehand for the future as


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A still from Into Great Circles

possibilities, my work normally begins with a

tangible but often abstract, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know

rough storyboard. Brainstorming may

what you get at the end because many

generate a good idea not always necessarily

unpredictable accidents are awaiting for you.


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so tightly continually interact with each other, as if they were two individuals having a conversation. I think that I’ve been still doing what I was doing when I was a painter, however not with traditional media but with new media. I’m interested in creating a work of art that transcends time and space as a fine painting does, and constantly looking for another type of beauty by reinforcing the concept that creativity can be defined as recombining the familiar into the new. The simple forms that I use in my recent work like <Into Great Circles> are the result of a distinct learning toward the nature of purified art in which refined aesthetic value is the foremost concern. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Video as well as of Sound... While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I don’t know, but one thing I am sure about is that an artist with varied experience in not only visual arts but also other fields such as music or performance art as well as humanities, would likely create more uniquely meaningful work and have advantage over the artists trained in only area. Ultimately, you are what you have experienced. <Into Great Circles> has some similarities to <Ode to Lines> in the ways they both followed intuitive senses. Sound and visual intertwined

Visual studies such as painting, video and computer animation are the art disciplines that I have involved, but I don’t have any expertise in sound that is still a crucial part in the


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majority of my work. I am working closely with several great musicians as collaborators, their names are Neal Williams, Monti Medley and Dylan Tinlun Chan. They generously give me permissions to use either existing or customized music for my work. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: during these years your works have been exhibited in several important occasions around the world, including your recent participation to the Inconnu Festival, France. What impressions have you received in these occasions? And in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Although audience reception to my work isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t my primary concern, earning recognition for my effort in peer-reviewed competitions or festivals is always great, and it gives me strong motivation to get into another project. For me, creating a work of art is the way I express who I am. It would be great if someone understands what I am doing and appreciates what I think beautiful.

It is an anti-clichĂŠ animation that doesn't work its magic right away, and tends to avoid certain orthodox types of storytelling. This piece will be somewhat ambiguous and beyond full comprehension but emotionally more accessible. Each artist has a very particular taste, interest, and likes-dislikes. Likes- dislike sounds somewhat childish behavior, but I feel our reasoning functions are often steered by those low-level binary reactions of like or dislike, interest or indifference, trust or distrustâ&#x20AC;Ś these decisions are made immediately and are as unpredictable, irrational, and unmanageable as acts of nature. I like the world that is well moderated. I do not like the weather to be too sunny. I do not like a work of art that I may wholly understand. I do not like whatsoever that is too obvious.

An interview by Josh Ryder and Dario Rutigliano landescape@europe.com

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Joon. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Besides experimental video and animation, I am currently making a character animation through which I like to bring up some philosophical topics about life.

A still from Into Great Circles


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Faridun Zoda Lives and works in Lincoln, NE USA

An artist's statement

I

n my artworks, I try to find a visual language in which to express how I see the uniqueness of forms in nature and in the visual expression of ideas. I try to animate the uniqueness into a tapestry by use of composition, design and color. My approach to my artworks encompasses diverse themes serving as stimuli, and each artwork is based on its own approach. Some concepts are based on a visual experience, some are based on the written and heard word and some are inspired by memory and imagination. For me the landscape of art keeps changing, and I use different methods and

media that can best project the image and find the best means of expression. In the process of shaping an image, the technique develops. While my artwork is expressed in different forms, the recurring formal concerns are consistent throughout my work. I am always thinking about new ideas. I write down or sketch the most interesting finds and develop them for future projects

Faridun Zoda


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Faridun Zoda An interview by Stephen J. Ellis and Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

One of the most convincing feature of Faridun Zoda's approach is the way he accomplishes the difficult task to create a point of convergence between a refined Eastern sensibility with a pragmatic Western approach. A skillful combination of different media conveys memories and imagination to a coherent unity, capable of creating an area of interplay that transports the viewer in a hidden dimension behind the world we perceive, discovering unsuspected but ubiquitous connections. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Faridun, and a very warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and received his Masters in 1982 at the Moscow Surikov Academy of Fine Arts. How did this experience influence your evolution as an artists and how does it impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

I was born in Dushanbe in the Republic of Tajikistan in a family of teachers. My father was a professor of Philology at the university and my mother was an elementary school teacher. I started drawing at a very young age, my father noticed my interest in art and enrolled me in

an art study program for children at the university. At the age of 12 we travelled to Moscow to compete with students from across the Soviet Union for the limited admission to the Surikov high school for the arts. I was accepted as a student and so I began my training in art. It was very intense study, we lived in a dormitory and I was with very talented students, most of the time we learned from each other. I was there for six years, this training prepared me to attend the Moscow Surikov Academy of Fine Arts where I studied for another six years. Following graduation from the academy, I returned to Tajikistan and continued my work. To support myself, I began to accept public art commissions for murals and traveled with my shows in the region, to the Middle East and to the United States. In 1994 I relocated to the United States and settled in Lincoln Nebraska with the help of my friend. At the Academy we gained skills and were introduced to age old techniques which helped me to understand why other artists took the paths they did in art, why they looked for a particular kind of idea. I was inspired by the beauty of the works and themes by artists like Botticelli, Rueben, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van gogh, etc., to create the themes they used from my own point of view. They gave me a push, mountains can be an interesting idea, rocks can be an interesting idea. In the course of gaining an understanding about the art world, that Juerg Luedi


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process helped me understand and shape myself as an artist. Formal training gave me a platform of skills and information as tools to create and express my ideas. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I have to think about ideas, subjects and themes, it can be anything. I start with a sketch, next I do a water color or guache sketch and when I’m satisfied with the results, I begin working on the piece in it’s final form. The most important aspect of creating the artwork for me is the composition, then design, then color. These are the basic concerns in all my works and all these elements have to support the idea. Some works take more time than others depending on the subject. Sometimes forming the idea and the initial composition takes the longest, some paintings have a lot of detail and the process of creating these pieces takes the longest, I am constatntly reworking and changing until I’m satisfied with the result. It depends. Now let’s focus on your artistic production: I would start from Grapevine and Roses and Yellow Fish, an extremely stimulating couple of works that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit directly http://www.zodaart.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of detail from myFunerals, Performance

Yellow Fish

these interesting projects? What was your initial inspiration?

“Grapevine and Roses” is based on memories and feelings. That house was my childhood home, later it became my studio. It was a beautiful place with grapevines and roses, it was like my little paradise. It was important to me because that house was demolished and only the garden remained, to keep it alive I created the painting. For


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Grapevine and Roses


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Niobe

the shadow from the grapevines I created a pattern to express the happy summer sunny day. “Yellow Fish” is inspired by designs from nature, so vivid, colorful and limitless. It’s all about fantasy, design, line and color.

What has particularly impressed me of the refined composition of Niobe, is the way by heightening the tension between reality and an oniric dimension, this work explores the concept of emerging language and direct experience. I can recognize such a hidden feedback between


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absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience is the seed for the creative process. You have to feel it, it has to cook inside you. It has to touch you otherwise you don’t have a connection, it’s like a bridge from reality to dream. Because it’s a rock, it has character, for me it’s a living object, like Niobe who turned to stone, because I can see the form, the soul, it tells about its character and its uniqueness. Direct experience helps me move forward to the creative process. You have to have some kind of luggage to create ideas. with “Expectation”, I started with a model, then through the creative process the painting changed but the idea remained. It’s a transformation from one stage to another stage. When I was in New York City, I saw a group of young people with unusual hairstyles colored in pink, blue, purple, green, etc., they also wore unusual clothes but were similarly dressed. This inspired me to create the painting “Tribal Country”, “Campephilus” and “Rupicola”. Expectation

the complex act of painting and the idea of sharing a feeling, that allows to an emotion to go beyond its intrinsic ephemeral nature, emerging from an a mere perceptual dimension: this is a quite recurrent feature of your works that is clear also in Expectation, that I gave to admit is one of my favourite work of yours. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an

The ambience created by Hunters and Road to Beatrice has reminded me the concept of non-lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to the sign of absence, that invites us to rethink about the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach and as you once remarked, the core of your work consists of looking at the reality around, attempting to deconstruct and assembly of those endless sights... this urges the viewers’ perception in order to challenge


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Road to Beatrice

the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I’m sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even “encrypted” as microscopic grains of sand in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of

our inner Nature...what’s your point about this?

The painting “Road to Beatrice” is one of my earlier memories of when I first moved to Nebraska. It was a big change for me, a new location, a different culture, lifestyle and heritage, an agricultural state with a different spirit from where I came. It impacted me as


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Hunters

an artist. I was travelling a lot through the midwest through the landscapes of the plains with small towns and farmland. In “Road to Beatrice”, the road continues to take me from one stop to another stop endlessly. In this rolling provincial landscape of cultivated fields and quiet towns I saw a simple existence with its own charm, yet I felt disconnected from it. “Hunters” is about the predator and prey, I saw in my life collections of so many killed and taxidermied beautiful

animals by hunters as trophies. Sad picture. The thoughtful nuance of yellow and the spontaneous geometry of your brushstrokes in Quince has suggested me such a tactile sensation: any comments on your choice of “palette” and how it has changed over time?

For me color is the soul of the painting. When I was working in Tajikistan and Russia, my pallette was more dramatic, I was using


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Maisun in Red

colors based on academic training, later I went in a different direction and my palette became more varied. Some of my paintings require more color than others, some a more vivid palette, or more neutral, depends on how the color expresses the idea. “Quince” did not require much color, in order to maximize the effect of the

nuances of the shape and its inherent character, I used two colors. In the “Fish Ball” series, I used black and white and orange and white. “Maisun in Red” or “Green Valley” are more vivid for the same reason. The idea for the painting tells me how much color and which colors I should use.


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Quince

The capability of discerning the essential feature of a view and to translate it into an accessible visual is a key point of your works and plays a crucial role in your process: you seem to reject mere decorative aspects, in order to focus to

the inner nature of the stories you tell with your paintings. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your images?

In all my paintings there is a narrative of how I


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Magic Shadow Show

Faridun Zoda


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Bouquet

phenomenon in nature, the forces which over time have shaped mountains, rivers, and rocks, the beauty and the harmony of their existence. In the painting “Magic Shadow Show”, the image is a narrative inspired by a quatrain by the eastern poet Omar Khayyam: Timeless

see and what I see, certain themes require more explicit narrative than others. In “Timeless”, the narrative is in the form of visual expression of what I see, the distinctive character of a strongly expressed

“For in and out, above, about, below, ‘Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show, Play’d in a Box whose Candle is the Sun, Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.” For me there has to be a seed of an idea in a painting, otherwise the painting will not be interesting for me to work on.


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Babylon XXI

Cranes

The fruitful synergies of different media that you incorporate in a coherent, consistent unity as in Babylon XXI creates an area of subtle but deep perceptual interplay that establishes a vivid involvement with with the viewer. At the

same time, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in an absolute and almost atemporal form and allows to your works to go beyond the ambiguos dichotomy between Tradition an


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and conemporary approach?

Babylon is a historic theme that has been used most frequently in the past by Dutch artists. As a theme it can be blended or destroyed by using a different approach to the traditional idea. I present my own alternative on the past, re-examin past themes. What Babylon means to me in contemporary form is a community absent the abstract idea of reaching an imaginary god. Contemporary art is still expanding in technique, philosphy and approach, there are artists who use traditional established techniques to represent contemporary life, I think artists like Pollock or Basquiat break away from traditionsl schools. There are many different approaches to contemporary art, and this expanding arena allows for many directions including opposing ones. Time will tell which ones will endure. During your over 30 years long career, your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions around the world, including a recent exhbition at the Capital Museum in Beijing. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception and viewers’ feedback as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Black Fish Ball

Contemporariness. In particular, do you think that there’s still a contrast between Modernity and Heritage? Or there may be such an osmosis between past’s techniques

It is valuable feedback to know how my work is being perceived by an audience, It is more important for me to express my ideas regardless of how they will be received by others. For me the act of creating a piece is very private and intimate, I don’t paint for a certain audience, different people might have different interpretations of a particular piece of work. There are certain themes in art that


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Fish Ball

are cross cultural and are universal, that transcend language and culture, they are human stories. This is the case with most of my works, my artwork is not culturally specific. To show my work in China or any other country, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to speak their language, this is the privilige of the visual art. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Faridun. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something

Cappadocia

about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

My work is always in movement and evolving, and I am open to exploring new possibilities. I have recently been working with found objects, with wood, steel, glass and papier mache to explore new ideas. I am also currently working on a series of paintings of themes that I want to explore in depth. We will see where this journey takes me. Thank you for having me, it was my pleasure.


Sharks


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Nork Zakarian Lives and works in between Egypt and Armenia

A

notable conversation with an elder villager lady in the Haghpat village of Northern Armenia (where this video was shot) prompted the conceptualization of Elizabeth of Nazareth. The living conditions in her village are dire; with regular shortages in electricity and water, poor infrastructure and no opportunities for the youth. Almost all factories in the nearby cities have been shut down since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the village has almost no more youth left due to high rates of unemployment and geopolitical instability. Privatization and the lack of collectivism has left entire households unable to sustain themselves forcing them to emigrate. Unless subsidized by the state, new machinery and technology are not affordable to individuals or households and so they have fallen behind on agricultural efficiency. She went on to explain that for 42 years under communism she had learned that God, the church, the saints, and the cross are institutions of deception and should not be revered, touched or kissed. As a school teacher, she channeled these instructions to her classroom, until after the collapse of communism, where she found herself having to teach them the exact opposite. "Today," she confesses, "even I don't know which is true, but one of them must be the truth." Transposing these stories and realities to the visual medium, I was interested in experimenting with discontinuity to project the inherent paradox in religion and war, industrial life and rural life, as well as folk traditions and modernity. Breaking away from the linear and logical progression of the narrative form, this video relies on soundscapes,

poetic mise-en-scene, tableau vivant style of frame compositions, and mimed facial expressions as the carriers of the piece's dramatic weight. With the absence of dialogue, it was interesting for me to see how such contrasting elements would collide visually and on an emotional level, when an unemployed motherly figure, a weeping child, a religious figure, and an elderly woman are placed in locations like a medieval Armenian monastery in Haghpat, an abandoned Soviet factory, a rural landscape and a jet fighter aircraft. Influenced by the bleak industrial look of Michalangelo Antonioni's Red Desert as well as the mystic style of Kenneth Angers videos, Elizabeth of Nazareth hopes to convey the architecture of anxiety and unease in the Armenian reality. Set in our contemporary age in the largely patriarchal society of modern Armenia, the title of the film is suggestive of some kind of biblical legend, and righteously so, as it hopes to venerate a new prophet; this time manifested in the form of a working class heroine.

Nork Zakarian Nork Zakarian is born in Cairo in 1987 of Armenian descent. Since 2007 he has been working in the field of digital media both professionally and independently as a filmmaker and musician. His works include video art, experimental video, documentary films, installations, live music and sound design for films. For three years he worked with one of Egyptâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most progressive film production house MiddleWestFilms, as a production assistant and audio/video editor for documentary productions, most notably for the award winning documentary "In Search of Oil and Sand". Nork is also a musician and is currently studying composition in the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan.


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Nork Zakarian An interview by Josh Ryder with the colllaboration of Stephen S. Myers landescape@europe.com

The synergy between sound and video allows Nork Zakarian to conceive works capable of offering a multilayered experience, urging the viewers to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of space and time. In his film Elizabeth of Nazareth that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he investigates the roots of the relation to moving images, displaying an extraordinary cinematography: his approach suggests an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investigate about the relationship with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Nork and a warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? During these seven years you have earned a vast experience working in a wide range of fields, from video and documentary films to live music and film sound design: in particular, how does your current experience as a student of composition at the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan impact on the way you conceive and produce your works?

Being in an environment of musicians and artists is definitely more inspiring than being stuck in urban traffic jams. Yerevan is an interesting place to be if you are interested in art or studying; even more if you are

interested in both. Yes, it is not the best place to make a living, especially as an artist. It is a fairly small city with many talents particularly in music. But at least out here one has enough freedom and space to focus, create, and get inspired, and I am lucky to be in such an environment. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "Elizabeth of Nazareth", an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at https://vimeo.com/user9951266 in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

Hard working women in patriarchal societies. Especially in modern Armenia with its religious patriarchy. I was interested in making a video that venerates women, more specifically sanctifies them, hence an epiphanic tone in the title. Given the harsh economic conditions in Armenia, women face a practical quandary of working a low-paying job or a high paying deviant profession. It is an ode to this predicament. We follow a young working class prophetess through abandoned factories and medieval monasteries, folk traditions in modern life and rural landscapes with Mig-21 jet fighters in the background. There's not much action or dialogue, and not much is needed in a contemplative piece, as the spliced disparate scenes should act as tableau vivant for our desolate times.

Juerg Luedi


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One of the most epiphanic line of "Elizabeth of Nazareth" is concerned with the relation with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporariness: "even I don't know which is true, but one of them must be the truth". The way you question the intimate consequences of constructed and imposed realities as has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Apart from Thomas Demand, we also have Thomas the Apostle who doubted the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth because he had not witnessed it. Seeing is believing, and we are diseased with an enthusiasm to experience. However, it is not a must to experience something directly to genuinely create, but direct experience is full emersion without selectiveness. You are not to choose what you want to hear or see or taste or touch or smell when you are directly experiencing. All your senses for things desirable or imposed is there for you to intake as an artist. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the most inspiring things come mystically and unexpectedly from unknown places. A whistle or a signal, street sign or a rambling of a street philosopher can open unexpected doors for a greater creative process. An artist must be adventurous in their search. Essentially the creative process is an abstract cerebral or emotional activity in its conception as an idea or feeling. But in order to be called 'art' it must be produced or detail from myFunerals, Performance

shared, otherwise it remains an idea or a feeling. When produced, its perception starts a similar activity in another. So it is an abstract


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activity in its conception in the beholder and in the final stage when it has reached "the other".

In my case as a filmmaker, to put together an interesting film scene would cost a lot money to produce and I usually work like a guerrilla


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filmmaker, or dogma 95 style. I have learned to dream simple dreams. And that isn't always a simple thing.

You have mentioned Michalangelo Antonioni among the directors that have influenced you. But I daresay that while


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Armenian contemporary reality that you explore in "Elizabeth of Nazareth", is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep interplay with the viewers: in particular, your investigation about the dichotomy between industrial life and rural life, as well as the way modernily leads to a progressive but overwhelming disappearance of folk traditions has reminded me of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini. I have appreciated the way your approach forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants to the act you perform... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Antonioni's touch is marked out with recurrent reference to alienation, the social estrangement and the unease in the

Our generation is overpowered with the massive access to information and knowledge thanks to technology. While it's a good thing that we can keep ourselves informed and reach out to a global audience, we end up with a flood of available information which is distracting. We should become more selective and organized in what we want in our social media. Art could change the world, but we need to be organized. Revolutions fail when there is a lack of common goals and some kind of direction. I have learned this from the Egyptian experience (as I was there during the first couple of years when it started) and addressed it in a documentary I made in Egypt about the forgotten priorities of the revolution which were food, literacy, healthcare and social justice. I document this by following the national dish of Egypt 'fool' beans and falafel, which helped me reach out to almost all Egyptians regardless of class, religion, color, and status in an honest and


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direct way. This documentary was part of Gyumri Biennial in 2012 and you can find the shorter version on my vimeo page under the title "Fool Tool" . In the cinema world, Pasolini has this great neorealist way of working; even in his documentaries and video journals where he finds a common tongue to reach out to the masses in Italian or Indian or African villages , and that is very much inspiring. As far as the look of Elizabeth of Nazareth, I was interested in the alienated look of the factory scenes in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Red Desert" film. I admire his meticulous attention to image detail and design over the narrative story in creating his mood pieces. The direct but refined composition of "Elizabeth of Nazareth" has some references to the concept of heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I've seen a fascinating lecture by William S. Burroughs for a creative writing class that was designed to develop the students' habits of observation and awareness. He devises an exercise for increasing the range of focus and attentiveness of "what we know and what we don't know that we know". The exercise starts off with taking a walk, and paying close attention to what you see and hear, and

particular attention to what you were thinking "when you read that sign past that person who walked by that car". After doing this for a few


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days you begin to notice that "street signs, car license numbers, passing strangers, are saying something to you". After carrying out these

instructions, one of his students got quiet paranoid because "everything seemed to mean something", to which Burroughs reaffirmed,


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"yes, everything does mean something". This process best describes my scriptwriting experience for Elizabeth of Nazareth when I went location scouting in Northern Armenia. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Twin nuns: In this work you explore the blurry boundary between collective memory and identity, investigating the psychological nature of the cinematic image. In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this

work I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary element as water to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Symbolic content can be quiet systematic, but the intuitive process creates something more


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atmospheric. Twin Nuns, which is about two sisters born a few minutes apart in constellations, has an atmosphere of dark imagery, soundscapes, and mythological content. It was shot mainly in Alexandria, in a boutique atelier from the colonial 40s, inside the Alexandrian opera, and also at a Christian cemetery under a lunar eclipse. There isn't a very clear sense of time, but more of dichotomy of two characters and lots of work on the soundtrack. I would say it is more intuitive, and even sound may act as a symbol in this piece; there's train sounds but no trains. It is the most

meticulous soundtrack I have worked on, and I'm proud of the outcome. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Sound as well as of Video: I would like to suggest to our readers to visit your soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/user2424533 since I think that there's such a channel of communication between your video


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production and your compositions... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I think sound can really make or break a video or a film. It is absolutely crucial to have a soundtrack that can elevate the moving image. Sometimes, as is the case in Twin Nuns, sound was the initial inspiration and plays a leading role in the piece. It adds a whole new layer of ambiance to the image and absorbs the viewer into becoming a listener first. Thanks to my background in music, I can be in control of composing a score for an image, and it is necessary for all filmmakers to become more directly involved in harnessing their sound design. When you visualize a film in your head, you can't convince me that you don't hear things too! Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: during these years your works have been exhibited in several important locations as the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, the Alexandria Contemporary Art Forum and a couple of years ago you took part to the 8th Gyumri Biennale. What impressions have you received in these occasions? And in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Language is important in the communication process and translation may limit you especially when you are being poetic or expressive as is the case in art. I speak 4 languages and sometimes I become confused which to express with or even to think in. Every

language is unique and translations may mislead. For example I have made an interactive installation in Art el Lewa in Egypt and the same one in La Capella Barcelona. The English working title is "Peephole" and when translated to Arabic the peephole on your door is actually called 'el ein el sehreya', literally meaning 'the magic eye'. Actually in this context, the translation is beneficial as it makes more sense in communicating the installation since a video stops when a person enters the room. Then they become anxious and must follow their eyes to catch the next video playing on the door outside, which also stops and the one inside starts again. The best way to watch then becomes by viewing through peephole or 'the magic eye'. I did this using Pure Data (Pd) programming language for interactive technology which is a whole other language! We 'learned' the 'language' over a 4 months workshop with the founders of Pd You can find the video on my vimeo page. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Nork. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I will continue to work with stories and realities that inspire me using the two mediums of expression which are dearest to me; film and music. I'm in post production stage of an independent documentary I'm making called Poetic Livers. It's a docudrama in Yerevan involving real characters but shot in the style of a short narrative film. It stars Levon Harutunyan an elder professional Armenian pianist, and his fretful relationship with his piano tuner. Their confrontations reveal an interesting dynamic in their volatile friendship, while exposing viewers to the struggle of underpaid artists and artisans in Armenia whose livers have fallen out of tune.


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LandEscape Art Review - Anniversary Edition 2015  

LandEscape Art Review - Anniversary Edition 2015  

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