December 27 in the Moscow "Manege" the Great Expectations exhibition will open - it contains the works of young Russian media artists. Throughout 2014, the Manezh hosted personal exhibitions of 13 authors who explore the surrounding reality and fix it with the help of video, photos and installations, and at the end of December, the works of all project participants will be shown in the exhibition hall. We spoke with one of the most famous young video artists participating in Great Expectations, Antonina Baever. A graduate of the school. Rodchenko, participant of the XXXV MIFF and XII Cannes Video Festival and curator, told Wonderzine why there is no corruption and sexism in art and how video art is inspired by television and YouTube videos.
In my work, it was important for me to point the finger not at others, but on yourself
At first it seemed to me that I wanted to make a movie. When I got to the courses at VGIK, I realized that this does not interest me at all. This was not my world, and the ideas and problems of the characters that acted in this environment did not bother me at all. I was lucky that I found out about the school to them. Rodchenko and went to study with the artist Kirill Preobrazhensky. There I found my environment: the school was attended by guys with whom I wanted to communicate, work and share something important. And this is still happening - for example, recently, with students and graduates of the school, we made an exhibition "Troublers of Calm" at the FLACON design plant.
I love to watch movies as a consumer and tend to go for the mainstream, high-budget and entertainment films. As an artist, I am not interested in the problems of relationships, the experiences of an individual who rushes between work and relationships - in general, all the stories of one person that are often shown in films. Art, in my opinion, solves other problems, such as social or aesthetic. I am interested in how art is created, but I do not want to be involved in film production.
The process of creating a thesis at the school. Rodchenko took me a whole year. It is based on real research - now this word has become very hackneyed, but in this case, field reconnaissance was really carried out. I wanted to know if it was possible to buy a diploma for an art school from a commercial firm, and went through all the first few pages of Google that appear when asked to "buy thesis." I talked with dozens of employees of companies that offer their services, and tried to order a diploma - if everything went well, I could defend myself with him at the school. Rodchenko. All the results and the most striking moments of my research are reflected in the film, which was made later. It shows that there is a market for diplomas, term papers and dissertations in Russia, which is no secret to anyone. Depending on the size of the amount, you can defend yourself with the purchased work with more or less success. But they could not offer me something adequate to the request - fortunately, in art this is not yet possible.
Gender inequality problems exist
in other territories, and artists
should talk about it
When I decided on the idea and started the market research, I did not know in what form I would present the result, because it was not clear how the research would end. I didn't want to do the installation, because it would be a sluggish form for this work. It wouldn't be mobile enough to show it to a lot of people, and I wanted to talk about this issue. Only based on the results of the study, a script was drawn up for the film, in which among the heroes there is my graduate director Alexander Evangeli and my colleagues who gave me advice. Since all the material had already been collected, walking again with a hidden camera would be pointless, and making a film with actors would be ridiculous. Artist Dmitry Venkov advised me a service for creating animation Xtranormal. I liked this platform because it had funny characters that add extra irony to the work. It turned out, in fact, a documentary film - all the dialogues and what I was offered to buy are real.
At the Great Expectations exhibition, I will be showing the work Socialism in a Dream, an installation made up of video and a series of photographs. It is also linked to social issues, although not based on research. In it, my heroine talks about three of her dreams, which are associated with the reality around her. In her dreams, she tries to fix things that don't suit me. For example, I lived in a house where there was a notice that workers in overalls were not allowed to use the elevator, and it seemed to me that it was wildly unfair, but I did nothing about it and walked by, like everyone else in this house. All my motives remained at the level of conversations, as well as many intentions of my comrades and other people who want to change something for the better. In this video, it was important for me to point the finger not at others, but at myself, and, I hope, I succeeded.
It is almost impossible to simply capture reality - there is no genuine documentary, the image is always manipulated, and here the question is what the person wants to say. The fact that some of my work is based on real events does not mean that I am a documentary filmmaker. When I was doing my diploma, my task was to find out to what extent the corruption that exists in all spheres of life has reached modern art. It turned out that it does not exist in the field of education in contemporary art yet. School diploma. Rodchenko does not give much prestige, you cannot get a high-paying job with him. What you do comes to the fore, and if it's interesting, education doesn't matter.
I naively want to think that in the environment of contemporary art there is not only corruption, but also sexism and homophobia. It seems to me that horizontal ties and equality should prevail in the artistic environment. Problems of gender inequality exist in other territories, and artists need to talk about it. For example, recently at the FLACON design plant, Sasha Priymachenko showed a work related to the scandalous persecution of the Canadian game journalist Anita Sarkisyan - he took a selfie of the Mario brothers against the background of famous paintings depicting women (the work is called "#savingprincess").
I am interested in the history of the relationship between television and video art. This is a big topic in the history of the genre, because in the 60s everything started with reflection on television. At some point, my interests and the interests of art critic Valentin Dyakonov and artist Dmitry Venkov converged, and we shot a show about contemporary art. We invented it when we were at the Bergen Triennial, which was curated by Ekaterina Tar and David Riff. There we got to talking and realized that we all love the American late night shows of John Stewart, Colbert and others. We decided to do something similar, but about contemporary art. At first it was only at the level of jokes and frenzy, but then we embodied it in the videos we shot. There were two issues and a special issue, which we showed at "Great Expectations" - the program "Not Time".
Many artists are interested in new ways of conveying information, it doesn't matter what many are interested in, “what is art” - these are some very general questions. I'm interested in what Albert Soldatov, Polina Kanis, Dmitry Venkov, Dmitry Fedorov, Lyosha Taruts are doing. As for foreign authors, I like Hennessy Youngman, who became famous for his YouTube channel, and Ryan Trekarten. I was also interested in doing work that is shown only on YouTube, and the show with Valentin Dyakonov was made specifically for the Internet, these episodes were not shown in exhibition halls, because modern television is online television.