Digital Artists Believe in World without Walls

ALMATY – Invisible Wall, an installation created by the Kazakh duo The 2vvo, was presented at Kuona Trust Gallery in Nairobi last year as part of the Kenyan Art Fair exhibition dedicated to digital art. The interactive light-sound-physical display, coupled with the cultural and social project of the young artists, attracted considerable attention from the local audience.

Its creators, musician Eldar Tagi and architect Lena Pozdnyakova, have always been fascinated by visual and digital art. After studying and working abroad, the two Almaty-born artists created The 2vvo project, an experiment and personal challenge.

“We try to find our place in this hectic world, a place that would be far from the business, non-personal, product-driven society. A place where we can say what we want, make art that our souls strive to make and to do things the way we wish to do them,” said the project developers in an exclusive interview with“The Astana Times.”

Project Geometry, Kosmos for Bauhausfest 2014. Photo credit Laurian Ghinitoiu.

Project Geometry, Kosmos for Bauhausfest 2014. Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu

The duo derives inspiration from their travels and their impression of the world is based on personal experience rather than the experiences of others. While participating in the art residency programme at Kuona Art Centre, they were supported by the centre and the German embassy and did a series of lectures and workshops on art and technology with local artists, college students and children from a German school. By the end of the programme they created the interactive installation.

“It was a piece for a pitch black gallery room with truss rod sculpture, photocells, flashlights and speakers. The public would interact with the installation by walking in the room, taking a torch and flashing at different parts of the sculpture. Based on the amount of light on the sculpture, the sound in the room would change. It was an amazing experience. People were very supportive and interested.

“Both the Kuona Trust and German embassy gave us all we needed to make this experience great for all the parties. In Africa, we were amazed how art is developed and supported. It seemed to us that art is everywhere. Of course, art is so unique there. It is raw and brutal, yet very visionary and highly developed. We visited local galleries and even bought one small piece by Adam Masava,” they said.

Each artist has participated in separate cultural events, including the Secret Solstice Festival in Iceland, Life and Death of Urbanity, Schizo Hybrid and the Look exhibitions in Germany and We Are What We Eat, Dedicated to Clerks and Almaty, that I Haven’t Noticed in Kazakhstan.

“A concept for the project was to travel to various places and document our experiences through art works. The project started entirely on our shared enthusiasm to collaborate, travel and make things. We wanted to feel the freedom to make and share whatever we wanted, without thinking much whether it is good or bad. We feel that the thing that makes art special is the ability to transform any kind of personal experience into an abstract, metaphysical form. If somebody other than us can connect with it too, it means that we were able to do something successfully,” they added.

The artists have worked with each other remotely for several years, exchanging ideas and creating a number of joint works for exhibitions.

“The Melting Glacier installation at Goethe Institute of Central Asia in 2013 was the first project that we did together. It was our introduction to each other and our work practices. The Kosmos installation at Germany’s Bauhaus Fest in 2014 was really an upgrade from it. Many more people were involved and there was a bigger budget and better thought-through art pieces. Both of those projects happened before we decided to unite under the name The 2vvo and they pretty much facilitated the creation of our duo. We are always somewhere in the world with feelings, thoughts and ideas that may be similar to or different from yours, but it does not matter. It is our experience that may be interesting or inspiring to you and that is enough for us,” they said.

The 2vvo creators admitted while 2015 has been a very productive year, the displays in their hometown were special ones.

“Last year we participated with installation pieces at Eight River exhibition funded by Soros Foundation and UNESCO. Also, we performed a couple of live audio and visual improvisation sets at SubStation radio show and In a Museum exhibition. We did the Art, Sound, Electronics workshop as part of the Open Mind project. When we stayed in Almaty we really wanted to do more exhibitions and shows and it is not always easy, because projects like this are not of priority and thus are not well supported financially. We personally think that it is really important to develop an art scene in the city and, more than this, to facilitate experimentation and new ideas. Events like this open up the society and are great indicators of progress,” they said.

Tagi and Pozdnyakova always keep in touch with their followers. They recently shared blogs, videos and photo collages on their website about their travels to India and Africa.

“We are quite open to what we will create. There is no set plan, we go project by project. The project in Africa is finished and currently we are working on creating a record label and artist hub titled Aetherial Records in the U.S. We will not say more about this project, but it will be launched very soon. Also, this year we will be releasing a lot of music, sound works and printed media. Our goal with this project is to find new ways to sustainably release music and art to the public and make it more available. We wouldn’t say that there is some sort of ultimate goal, as it will mean a particular limit to our endeavours. We wish, however, to find a way to sustain our practice, grow and develop personally and as collaboration with it,” they said.

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