Fan, Atina 2019

Veronica Shimanokskaya – Ephemereye

in Art/Music/Spotlight

I started my life in St Petersburg, then moved to the San Francisco Bay area, then to Cambridge Massachusetts, and then came to London, from where I returned to California. All of this was happening in pursuit of a fresh perspective and driven by an insatiable curiosity (the one that in some people’s opinion killed the cat. I am not sure whether all this was related to my wandering nature, or inability to deal with a routine. Of course all the movements were triggered by some personal jolts, but in-betweenness has proven to be fruitful for my practice.

In London I did a Professional Doctorate – DFA, the equivalent of which doesn’t exist in the US or Russia. It’s not a purely theoretical PhD, typical for art critics and art historians, but rather a combination of theory, criticism and art practice. Essentially, you are your own proverbial guinea pig, subjected to all kinds of experimentation and analysis you perform while studying the artistic and academic methods of others. I was fortunate to meet the masters of our time, who were my tutors and advisers, and whose work I love and admire. Grenville Davey, a brilliant sculptor and Turner Prize winner; John Smith, whose films and video work are included in every avant garde film history book; painter Lee Maelzer, who is forever included in my private Pantheon; as well as my artistic colleagues and friends.

Hamartia (2012), Fragments of the triptych: Hamartia, peripeteia, catharsis.  Rovin, concrete block

It is there, at the UEL, during my final year I was able to formalize my methods, for which the apperceptive state of being is a necessary and sufficient condition for my work. The term is used in psychology to describe perceptive innocence, cognition of the world as being always fresh and new. Heraclitus’ idea that everything is changing, and that opposite things are equal, makes navigating reality an exhilarating journey, with Time being a force of equilibrium, the stakes sky high. Travelling is very helpful for sustaining a fresh perspective, as you are always exposed to the unknown. During my years in London, I worked in different genres, and media that eventually all wrapped up in the form of immersive installation. Going beyond semiotics, I am interested in purely subjective – and therefore non-systematized – reality-defining systems that facilitate communication despite all odds.

I moved to Silicon Valley after I finished my DFA to start a company. Not a profit-ripping exploitative corporation, but a new type of company that would benefit art: Which I did, but, in the absence of ready-made capital, I am sponsoring it myself by working as a designer. I’ve been a digital designer for many years, a profession that grew into so-called experience design, where human behaviour is an important part. Essentially, facilitating effective communication. Unfortunately, the state of affairs in this field is not always up to par, as, in this part of the world, the driving force is profit. I truly hope that it will change some day, as the world is changing with the gasps of old outmoded ways, producing strange waves. The new world is germinating. A world where the industrial education system that emerged two hundred years ago won’t make sense any more, and creative and critical skills will be essential. That’s why I believe that this century is a century of the arts. And that’s where I am.

Atina projection 2019

My business partner, Kishore Paravastu – a technological genius with a humanitarian’s heart – and I are building Ephemereye as a digital social platform supporting moving image art and artists. It is different from Vimeo or Youtube, as we focus on moving image and video art work. We want to make it a point of destination, and a library of Alexandria for video art. I also curate and produce live shows, partnering with various organisations and companies, from local cafes to movie theatres and cultural centres. The most recent one was at the oldest movie theatre in San Francisco, Victoria, as a double bill with Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and Richard Marriott’s Club Foot Orchestra who wrote the score for the film, but accompanied our video art show Moving Silently with extemporaneously played sound. There is an editorial and curatorial part of Ephemereye, but we also have a portfolio feature, which is completely inclusive, so we invite anyone working with moving image and video to build their page on Ephemereye, and also maybe a page for their favourite artists. Our next artist call will be published on the website and in January 2020. The topic is Coffee stories, and of course it can be interpreted in any way, the only limit will be time (no more than four minutes). In 2020, we are also planning to build social communication capabilities as an alternative to mainstream social networks. There is more to say and do, but it’s an ongoing project, and we are always happy to publish art and ideas.

I am always thinking about new places and destinations. Things grow, mutate, and sometimes cause change in geographic location. I love Argentina and Uruguay, last year I was showing my work at the MACO Contemporary art museum of Oaxaca as part of the EMPIRE II exhibition curated by Vanya Balogh, and I loved my first visit to Mexico. It would be nice to spend some time on those shores. Russia is also a very interesting part of the world. We’ll see.  

Nest, Atina 2018

Moving image is the most democratic media for art education, just as pencil was before: Everybody can doodle, everybody has a smartphone. Fine art requires practice. Practice changes things, but for entering into artmaking, moving image is unique. More so than photography, as it requires sustained focus, even at the initial stage. Dismissed and patronised by the traditionalists as it may have been, it only has about 60 years of history. In the grand scheme of things this fact places it somewhere at its dawn compared with other art forms. It is however the harbinger of a new world – fluid, transient, fleeting and contemporary – a world that doesn’t thrive on the fundamentals, but rather on mutability and adaptability. A moment. Or re-purposing of such. The palette is very strong, as it holds the deep sea of the human condition (e.g. Shirin Neshat’s Turbulent)  as well as lighter impressionistic waters (e.g. Laura Provost’s Swallow). I also don’t believe that painting is dead, or that photography and sculpture has ended. I came from traditional classical training – painting, drawing, composition, sculpture, art history – and then, via architecture and theatre, to the moving image as a sculptural medium for my site-specific installation. The state of contemporary art is another conversation, but it seems to be reinventing itself, crashing the received wisdoms of the last century. Digital has just emerged as the medium of our time.

I take part in the art residency in Atina, Italy, run by Jude Cowan Montague and Chris Simpson. It is a magical place in the original sense of the word. La città di Saturno. Not every town is founded by a god, but Atina is just that. All the history and geography is steeped in magic, serendipitous encounters, and odd occurrences. The ancient gods Mefitis and Janus knew what was important and are definitely still present. There, I feel like a piece of a puzzle that, together with other pieces, make a new daily reality. I always wanted to take part in that residency, but not until I learned that Jude was curating did I join. I was very much inspired by Jude’s Livio song, and my first year there was a bucolic trans-species communication work Sheep and their sense of colour. There I have met Chris Simpson, and so many other wonderful artists, poets and musicians. Atina became an annual checkpoint for me, a refuge and a switch from one reality to another. Orazio Ricardi, a benevolent patron of the residency; Ornella Di Paolo, a fairy who appeared with a magpie abandoned next to her garden, just as I was working on the Nest piece; and all the Atina residents that we have become friends in the last few years are just an honour to know.

A piece I am working on now is called Coordinates, and it is actually a small sculpture or an assemblage. It’s going very slowly, it has a life of its own, and is coming from very old feelings and thoughts that are sprouting into materiality now through ready-mades. I am also working on an installation for the Memory and Landscape exhibition curated by Jude Cowan Montague. I consider memory a foreign country and it was an unexpected turn for me, but I got through with the help of my dear cousin and friend Natalia Spigina who lives in Saint Petersburg. I am also planning the next Ephemereye live shows for 2020. 

Call for Artists see below link:

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