Tatyana Mogilevskaya , Olga Shishko
Some Words about History and Perspectives of Development of Media-art in Moscow (1993)
Тематика: Медиа-технологии
Язык оригинала: английский

Any attempt to “draw”, as critics say, an artistic circle, representing this or that stream in art has a sense either in historical investigations, when temporal remoteness influence the quality of the analyses or gives a very superficial result.

To the historical geography of Moscow “underground”, Kabakov’s studio, studios in Furmanny, Chistoprudny, Trekhprudny, Contemporary Art Centre one can add one more point - Moscow Art New Media Laboratory. Mostly educational project, created by the SCCA, unexpectedly led to the change of Moscow art situation. Mostly that happened because the pupils and projects’ authors chosen for that laboratory were not students but professional artists, those who had particular aesthetic experience and developed ideology. Nowadays we can tell that a new kind of art exists and it has new possibilities, its own aesthetics, ideology, fashion, style, production time. Although that couldn’t happen at an empty space and in a second 1.

This article does not pretend to embrace the whole range of facts and information, it’s only the first attempt of possible description of the history of this kind of art.


On the one hand, it is connected with the dreams of some artists and curators inside the circle (among them the first “associates”, Sergei Shutov, Kirill Preobrazhensky (with constant assistanse of Michel Hentz), Tatyana Mogilevskaya, Ilya Tzintziper (at that time working in Art-MIF and who nearly created a new organisation connected to video and new technologies art), Irina Piganova (a curator of “School” Gallery, she was the first who started to work with this kind of art). All searches, desires to give the situation some organizational character finished with the organization of the Institute of Art Technologies (its working group consisted of Sergei Shutov and Vladimir Mogilevsky and curatorial functions were taken by Tatyana Mogilevskaya)2.
There were several independant non-profit video-studios3 which existed separately. They were
organized by VGIK graduates (“Studio of Egocentric Peculiarities”) and Vladimir Kobrin’s pupils and also some artists, professionally working on the equipment 4.

Exhibitions, curators, organizations, festivals

1992 - “Replics”. “School” Gallery. Curator - Irina Piganova. The exhibition was devoted to Dziga Vertov and became the first video-istallation in Russia, representing cinema within a gallery space 5.

1993 - “Virtual Garden”. Curators: Tatyana Mogilevskaya, Sergei Shutov within the First Moscow International Festival of computer animation “Anifraph 93” (under the support of the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation) - one of the first attempts to represent media-artists of professional computer business. The exhibition was held within the borders of the commercial exhibition of modern software, organized by “Joy Company” on VVC (ex VDNH). The exhibition “Virtual Garden” united 8 installations within the range of painting with optical illusions to the usage of self-generating computer software (“Life tree”, Sergei Shutov), including night vision devices and lasers (“Other, dark side of unreverted events” of Alexei Blinov, Georgy Litichevsky) and computer graphics (“Without a title”, Vladimir Mogilevsky, Eva Rukhina).

1993 - “World of Feeling”. Koka Ramishvily, Kety Kapanadze, Gia Rigvava, Oleg Timchenko, Contemporary Art Centre. Curator - Vladimir Levashov who included video and audio installations. The exhibition stressed the communication with the audience - sound installation with lack of an expositional object - an exposition of a sound, an installation built on the basis of a dialogue with an artist - “a speaking” face on several monitors, headphones, contact with the audience, slaid-projections.

1993 - “Sensitive Experiments”. Sergei Shutov, “School” Gallery. Curator - Irina Piganova. The exhibition was devoted to Love, Sex and Eros, and the material used was real author’s experience. The objects - a monitor with pornography and a letter text, children’s iron bed, shaking with thunder and lights are the image of an interactive sculpture, shining sexual acts and hologramms of an erotic form. Shutov chose technique which even forced the effect 6.

1993 - “Fenso Lights”. The group “Fenso Lights”. Galleries “School” and “1.0”. Curator - Vladimir Levashov. Artists Anton Smirnsky, Vasily Smirnov and Denis Salautin demonstrated children’s game of interplanet knights: the performance which happened before was shot on video, then developed and a musical clip and photos with green pop foreground were shown to the audience. A black box, three monitors put in front of each other and three arm-chairs created an atmospher of a secret, romance and comfort.

1993 - “Open-doors Days”. Anatoly Gankevich and Oleg Migas. Gallery “1.0”. Curator - Vladimir Levashov. The exhibition reflected an illusional world: an effect of an endless corridor created transparent and refrecting mirror surfaces. Ambient life was shown on monitors, everything was moved to the side, which led to the feeling of loss of an object of art.

1993 - Festival of contemporary art “New Territories of Art” in Krasnoyarsk Cultural-Historical Center. For the first time video art was included into the exhibition organized by the state structure - Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation. An installation by Sergei Shutov was shown.

1993 - Festival of experimental video, computer animation and projective synthesises. “Reservation of Art” in Petrovski Boulevard. Organizer - Studio of egocentric peculiarities. For the first time the festival put forward a desire to demostrate coexistence of arts and clarify the peculiarities in the approach towards this problem of video-artists, theatre people, musicians, directors. The system of chosing the works as well as an idea of improvization within an interactive space, had been forming around four sections: “Video and theatre”, “Video and music”, “Video and visual art” (project “Video screenplay”), “Video and teleart”. Video-performance created by the participants of the festival project - theatre “Saira Blansh”, a musical group “Three O” and a quartet of an avantquarde jazz from Switzerland, based upon the creation of an interface between theatre, video and music - is one of the most successful experiments of the synthesises of art at the festival. The final videoproducts were the audio visual appendix to the festival - video-catalogue, created by Vadim Koshkin, Alexei Isaev and other participants of the Studio of egocentric peculiarities. The exhibition “Videoscreenplay” was held within the borders of this festival.The participants were: Alexander Brener, Georgy Litichevsky, Natalia Abalakova and Anatoly Zhigalov, Alexei Isaev, Georgy Vinogradov. Curator - Alexei Isaev. The concept of the video screenplay was projected at the idea of inner and outer opposition of the author and a work, an artist and a spectator. The video screenplays of the authors were used as a base for a film “Video and visual art”.

1993 - “Without a Title”. Anton Olshvang and Olga Chernyshova. Cinema Museum. The exhibition represented a video-installation, where the image was projected on the other side of the screen and on six plates with the pictures of different scenes (from air-photo shooting to film fragments). The tape-recorder produced texts of the dialogues.

1994 - “Insertion”. Kirill Preobrazhensky. “TV Gallery” 7. Curator - Nina Zaretskaya. The author clarifies its difference from the traditional art exhibitions, when an artist represents a universal myth - an insertion does not pretend to be a final model, it’s some commentary 8.

1994 - “Meditational Rooms with a Menu”. Alexei Shulgin in Leipzig within the borders of a festival “MedienBiennale” (1994). Exposition represents four small separate and numbered (1,2,3,4) rooms with one mutual exit, in front of which there was placed a “shiver”, separated into 4 pictures in one frame with the image of different nature. There was a device registrating people’s approaching. Four pictures were numbered in correspondance to the rooms, where the same picture was placed but on the screen of a monitor.
Alexei Shulgin in the projects at the exhibitions “Televisions” (XL, Moscow), “Minima Media” (Leipzig), “Exchange 2”, NewMediaTopia” works out an idea of transition of mechanical movement into the electronic one.

1994 - “The Light of a Far-away Star”. Tatyana Dober and Alexander Alexeev. “School" Gallery, curator - Irina Piganova. During thier work the authors of the exhibition work over the auto-biographical topic, thinking that an artist nowadays is an artist-viewer, describing his own behaviour. Inter-disciplinary problematics in their projects become clear in connection with natural desire to fix modern technology of a thought in a visual form. The basis of this exhibition consists of the feeling of the strange character of the interest towards the idea of time. In the installation the authors look at the temporal space for 30 years. Through the transparent screen with a colour portrait of the artist we are as if looking at another screen with a black-and-white portrait of the artist’s father (shot from the film). 30 year ago he played a violent and heroic character from Pyriev’s film. The plot of the film is connected with the idea of installation - some double “non-meeting” in a real space of a hero with a woman and a son with a father happens.

1994 - “NewMediaTopia”. Central House of Artists. Annual exhibition of SCCA. Curator - Vladimir Levashov. The exhibition illustrated all possible approaches towards new technologies, existing at that moment at artists’ disposal. There were 17 works of different artists and groups.

1995 - “Videovision”. Anatoly Gankevich, “Fenso Lights”, Andrei Ventslov and others. Curator - director of St. Petersburg SCCA Ekaterina Andreeva. Within the forum “Looking for the third reality”, Planetarium, St. Petersburg. A new situation let the Centers to exchange exhibitions, these works are chosen by the principle of the development of psychodelic problematics. The curator didn’t want to hide the St.Petersburg situation where actively work only two artists in the field of video-art - Olga Komarova-Tobreluts and Andrei Ventslov.

Videoart and actions and video-performances documentation

There are several periods and places of materials concentration within the section “Video-art archive and an art of new technologies”. The period of “parallel cinema” is connected with the names of Igor and Gleb Aleinikov, Boris Yukhananov, Natalia Abalakova and Anatoly Zhigalov, Leningrad “Parallelists” and necrorealists.

Video has fixed performances of Moscow conceptual school. Sabina Hensden and Gunter Hirt published in Germany in 1994 a set of video-works, which united all these materials 9.

Some artists, beginning from 1988 have been fixing their actions and theatre-musical performances shot on video. In this case, film, made at home, hade a status of an art work (Vadim Zakharov, Mironenko brothers, Tatyana Dober and Alexander Alexeev, Alexei Isaev, Alexei Beliaev, Boris Yukhananov).

Musical video and documentary actions, mainly of “post-industrial” and “low-tech” streams were gathered by the festival and TVprogramme “Exotics”.10 Due to this program we met video works of provincial artists who were not known in Moscow.

Tatyana Didenko in the programme “Tishina No 9” made the first attempt to show Russian video-art. Having chosen a role of an archivist, she quite subjectively comments the materials. Sometimes she narrows the interpretation of the work.

Nina Zarezkaya and Sergei Savushkin in the program “TV gallery” paid lot of attention to the projects connected with new technologies. The connection of the program with the gallery (which has the same name) and later demonstration of the materials on TV attracted artists. As in case of “Tishina No 9” that was a real possibility to make a professional variant on Betacam, as most of Russian artists could use only VHS. The example of quite substential in video-art sphere - Sergei Shutov. At the end of the 80s he was one of the first who turned to computer and video-technologies. In 1992 Shutov asked artists, suggesting them to work with his equipment (computer ATARI and video recorder VHS). Vadim Fishkin was one of the first, who made a video-work together with Shutov “Ornamental Orbit”, proceeding his previous project.

Shutov made several remakes of the old Soviet films, exposing them as a fragment of his installation. He made some kind of musical clips. “Surprising how silent it is” (1993) uses the principle of elementary superposition of plans&documentary, connected with old film and geometrical ornament. Using the bestsellers of Soviet age, Shutov takes new senses, using destruction as a device. In his works different territories of television, video and cinema exist as a unique field and a problem of language difference is removed. The works of other artists very often become the reaction towards their predecedors. The stylistics of “parallel cinema” and documentary turnes upside down in video works of the art group “Oblachnaya Komissia”, founded in 1992 (Tatyana Detkina, Arkady Nasonov, Vladimir Mogilevsky and others). Having refused irony and critics the authors poetise the Soviet chronicle style. In this stylization is an attempt not to explote “Soviet facture” but experience and live over “working enthusiasm”, “romamance of working weekdays” (“Oblachnaya Komissia represents”, 1992).

Vladimir Mogilevsky who took part in the actions of “Oblachnaya Komissia” created in 1992 a work which was far from chronical usage. In “The Book” quite primitive 3D-graphics made on 386 computer where video usage was hand made. The film was created in 1992, when computer graphics was only at the first stage of its development and started to be used in advertisement. It was not integrated into non-commercial space of contemporary art and served as a demonstration of the latest software. Media-art is so narrow in quantity of artists that each of the represents his own trend. Gia Rigvava, one of the most active Moscow author, in 1993 made a TV performance “You are forceless, but everything is not so bad” in the Contemporary Art Centre. It was a model of production and consuming of information. In two halls of CAC, being controlled by the mobile telestation, a studio with a telecommentator and three cameras, was the audience. An informational-analythical program which had been written beforehand was some kind of the observation of art-life. The program was 35 minutes long and consisted of three parts: information on separate people and events, given consciously transformed. The performance represented the level of violence from the side of those who rule mass-media. There were also two types of behaviour depending on different ways of information about the same event.

Another tendency in Russian media-art is connected with New Media Art Laboratory. Some graduates, having studies computer software with Sergei Shutov and Vladimir Mogilevsky, after the course created a 16.minites two-part project Delitiun Upgrade, which played the role of a manifest. There Ruslan Rubansky, Sendy Revizorov, Alex Zubarzhuk, Michail Adianov give their idea as a crimil cyberspace - hackers and virus creators religion. They refuse of elementary author’s ambitions and their art accumulates different texts and images, simulating hypertext (the same way their desire to be in networks is demonstrated. The plot of the film is a frequency, amplitude and rhythm of the transformation which fling the potential spectator into the state as techno-trance (it seems as if somebody pushes the button of remote control, looking for an interesting program).

They explote the topic of speed and images of technospaces. At the same time this art has a character of “closed” sub-cultural origin and the sound was ordered to the famous Moscow techno-composers- Alexei Chernorot (Compass Vrubel), Roman Bykov (Digger).

Young artists dream in the style of cyber-culture and at the same time try to overcome painting traditions, which is often represented in new-media art 11.

Speaking about Russian video-art we have to stress that artists nearly always become the producers of their own works. From 1993 to 1994 “Studio of Egocentric Peculiarities “was the only producer of non-commercial video. There is not a structure, similar to European centers of multymedia technologies, supported by a state. The result is a very low quality of the works. Then the problem of distribution, which is difficult for most of the works. The curator of the collection “Vent d’Est” uniting video works of Russian artists, Jile Morelle, having met this problem had to take the final stage of production on his own account 12 .
He also met the problem of law, artists were afraid to sign a distributional contract and they didn’t know what copyright meant.
Club life and high-tech parties.

The term videogeys was born in “Ptuch” (videogeys were officially accepted to work). It developed during computer parties. The firm “Novell”, producing software for networks, invited video-artists so that they help with a high-tech party “Novell party” for the dillers of the company in restaurant “Continental” in Hammer Center (curator - Oleg Filyuk). There were several technologies in the project, the whole videorow was projected at the TVwall - some video-works, a small film, made in computer graphics in an intensice technorhythm, mixed with the films, made in high-tech stylistics - mix in real time from 3-4 sources (a camera in the hall) and a background consisted of space landscapes. Especially for the party, a sputnic TVstation “Liana” was brought which got weather forecast, then transformed into the computer image which became the object of an artistic gesture. This mixwd image could be printed (there were about 300 photos of the participants).

“Doom party” in “Ptuch” club was a network version of a cult game, played in cyber-space in a mixed sound row.
The co-existence of a video-gallery with a night artistic club PTUCH gave an original result: video-artist turned into vigey together with di-gey, making mixes and “collages” in real time.

The Gallery “Ptuch” declared that their main idea would be art which uses video and computer technologies, audio and light effects, slaid projections, holograghy and tele-communicational networks but this idea was realized only for 10 %. There were exhibitions of the young graduates of the Laboratory - Revizorov, Rubansky, Zubarzhuk, and also Vladimir Mogilevsky and Alexei Isaev.
One of the main actions held by “Ptuch” Gallery was an exhibition by Alexei Isaev which demonstrated a hidden polemics between biological and machine intellect. The exhibition was called “Neuromancer. New Cannibals”. He used a principle reminding of French situationism of the 60s - using an ordinary contest for other ideas. The author gave to the audience an illusion of being inside some virtual space, leading him through different electronic spaces - an alive biological brain and its artificial analogue. Then the transformed into the animated abstract painting under the influence of “Thunderdome” rhythm. Isaev used fetishes and attributes of a fashionable place, which image was formed due to the reiv-pioneers in Russia, brought from Petersburg, during a famous Gagarin-party in 1992 in Cosmos pavillion. The space was transformed with the help of audio and video effects which led the public into some trance state. In “New cannibals” the space was organized according to the same principle. The physiological effect during the shooting of a hunam brain has an effect, contradicting to any entertainment. The serious problem - threat to the culture, intellectual independancy which appeared in the period of new technologies, is introduced through the distance between the purpose of a place and physiological character of some animation, through contradiction between the electronic image and alive participants of the show - dogs, introducing an element of threat and violence.

Electronic gallery and networks

In Moscow situation everything is built upon private links and relations. It was impossible to imagine an artist who on a commercial basis would come to the net. So, from Evgeny Peskin’s transition, who had become an organisator and a supervisor of such projects, from one net to another, also network projects moved from one net to another one - from “Relcom” to “Sovamteleport”. Alexei Shulgin created a net exhibition “Hot pictures” (“The news of erotic hot pictures”) which became the first Russian photogallery in the nets. The exhibition thought about the changing of the functions and sources of photography when new technology had come into art and created the possibility of manipulation of photo-images. Shulgin was an internet administrator in “Sovamteleport”, gathering all the information about telebridge “Check point 95” in Internet.

Then Institute of art technologies, mainly Oleg Filyuk on the basis of Sovamteleport opens an electronic gallery by the exhibition of Adrei Kazndzhia “The Sea of Hrone” (opening files of a digital picture “The Ninth Wave”, floating faces of sweet girls give a picture of the transformation of the sea of death and life). The author of the net exhibition “Sensor experiments in digital space” by Ruslan Rubansky continues the beloved topic of hyperintensive bodiness within the world of digital transformation (Evgeny Peskin himself creats electronic interface for this exhibition).

Symposiums, conferences and educational programmes

1993 - Seminar on video-art within the Festival “New territories of art” (Krasnoyarsk cultural-historical center. Under the assistance of the Ministry of culture of Russian Federation)
1994 - Montage of 30-hours video-archive, devoted to Russian media-art (produced by Vladimir Mogilevsky). The series of informationl shows in Sochi art museum within the Festival “Bordering zones of art”
1994 - Forum “Looking for the third reality (“Cinema House”, Moscow)
1994-95- New Media Art Laboratory
1995 - Symposium “NewMediaLogia”
from 1995 - studio “Cross-Media”
1995 - Forum “Looking for the third reality (St. Petersburg)

Foot notes:

1. Artists in Rissia who somehow worked with this kind of art: Yuri Lesnik, Anna Novikova, Michail Matus, Alexander Sidorov, Vadim Fishkin, Gia Rigvava, Alexei Isaev, Vladimir Mogilevsky, Avdie Ter-Oganian, Sergei Shutov, Ruslan Rubansky, Alexei Zubarzhuk, Michail Adianov, Sergei Sidorov, Alexandre Novikov, Dmitry Anokhin, Dmitry Fiodorov, Denis Trusevich, Maxim Vasilenko, Vladimir Yashkin, Olga Komarova, Nina Zaretskaya, Sergei Savushkin, Boris Yukhananov, Gleb Aleinikov, Igor Aleinikov, Arkady Lusin, Tatyana Didenko, Alexander Shamaisky, Alexei Beliaev, Arsen Savadov, Georgy Senchenko, Oleg Ponomarev, Alexander Kaminnik, Tatyana Fillipova, Alexander Gnilitsky, Vladimir Kromin, Vadim Koshkin, Alexander Kuprin, Michail Gnedovsky, Leonid Tishkov, Andrei Ventslova, Evgeny Yufit, Alexei Shulgin, Tatyana Detkina, Arkady Nasonov.
2.The Institute of art technologies didn’t only collect old materials but also stimulated the appearance of a new one. Quite soon IAT gathered a big archive of Russian video-art and video about artists. This programme more than once was demonstrated among professionals - at the seminars for provincial museum workers in Krasnoyarsk in 1993, Sochi 1994. These shows played an important educational role as that kind of art hadn’t been known before. The first action in Moscow - video show during Art MIF.
3. Studio of Egocentric Peculiarities (director- Vadim Koshkin, an artist - Alexei Isaev and Vladimir Kromin) worked with the realization of art projects in the field of experimental video, computer animation. Its participants had been dreaming of an idea to turn regional and cable television upside down, to create an arternative TV - “a system of their own television”. Together with leading musicians, theatre groups Moscow artists organized a festival in 1993, where they synthesized music, video and cinema in interactive improvisation (curators - Alexei Isaev, Vadim Koshkin, etc.)
4. Groups and studios working with media-art:
“Studio of Egocentric Peculiarities”, “Institute of art technology”, “North”, “Oblachnaya Komissia”, “Artologichesky Garden”, “PPT (Petersburg Pirate Television)
5. In “School” Gallery there were exhibitions of Nikolay Selivanov, Sergei Shutov, Tatyana Dober and Alexander Alexeev, “Workshop of Individual Art direction”, Vadim Fishkin where video and optical devices were presented.
6. Sergei Shutov’s interests and activity spread both to the investigation of technological possibilities and realization of sensitive-aesthetic projects, aimed at the emotional influence on the audience (ascetical installations “Terminal TV” - Anigraph 94 or compositions-attractions, special emotional traps for spectators (“Sensational experiments”) up to the alive musical accompaniment on computers - remade version of the bestseller of 20s “Doctor Calligary’s Study” (blitz forum “Looking for the third reality”, Cinema House)
An installation Terminal TV was devoted to modelling of the situation of the extended perception of audiovisual information. Shutov made an attempt to construct his own system of interactive television - the mostly exploited topic among video artists of different streams.
7. TV gallery during last three years constantly makes video shows and video exhibitions. Among them are: exhibitions by Gia Rigvava, Arsen Savadov and Georgy Senchenko and others.
8. Probably, in 1991 there was not an artist who knew and collaborated with such a quantity of structures, working with an art of new technologies, but for Kirill Preobrazhensky. Together with Michlel Hentz they involved curators, artists and critics of different streams in the space of new technologies. Especially he was attracted by alive transmittance and a work of an alive operator. In 1993 he made a radio-performance with Girt Lovink, mediacurator from Holland (the result of the performance in Odessa on video topic)
9. The set consists of 3 parts “Poems” (Dmitry Prigov, Andrei Monastyrsky, Lev Rubinstein), “Actions” (“Collective actions”, Iosef Bakstein, Ilya Kabakov, Andrei Monastirsky, “Atellier” (Nikita Alexeev, Vladimir Naumez, Vadim Zakharov, Irina Nakhova, Ivan Chuikov, Eric Bulatov, Oleg Vasiliev, Ilya Kabakov).
10. Together with the program “Exotics” Finnish producers Anton Nikkile and Mike Taanile managed to make a program in 1993 “Notes from the celler”, having included not only Moscow artists but also authors from provincial towns. Later, the exhibition got another title “The Double - Russian industrial music and low tech videos”.
11. Participation of the Laboratory graduates’ works at the festivals - Petersburg Festival 666 (curator - Vladimir Zakharov), Videoprogram from the collection “Vent d’est” during Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles, France. A special program WRO media art festival, Wroclaw, forum “Looking for the third reality" (St. Petersburg)
12. A French studio Coronado Films, from 1995 has been forming a collection of Russian audio visual art “Vent d’est” (curator Jille Morelle) and now has about 50 works. One of the studio’s associates, Fillipe Etienne, was a teacher at the Laboratory.

In Russian: Немного об истории и перспективах развития медиаискусства в Москве

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