CYFEST-12: ID. The International media art festival. Digital Media Screening: Personal Identity
curator Victoria Ilyushkina
“The technological progress of recent years has strengthened the ties between humanity and technology, machines and artificial intellect, and made the interaction between organic and synthetic life more intimate.
People and machines learn from each other with the help of neural networks. People’s consciousness undergoes certain changes. They develop a different outlook on the notions of life and death, moral problems of scientific experiments, territorial and virtual boundaries, tracking systems and total digital control. Personalities surrounded by a mirror cube of social networks hide behind their avatars and continue to exist in their accounts even after death. If you are absent from social networks, does it mean that no one knows about your existence, or is it a way of avoiding media control? The preservation of memory and transfer of information onto a digital database, and the fast development of artificial intellect and its humanization makes us face the inevitable question of personality identification. Who are we? What is our future going to be like? This program is dedicated to a contemplation of these problems by modern artists”.
This video presents a dialogue between an experiment participant IJWL80 and a scientist from a biotech laboratory after the completion of Phase 1 of the experiment — copying consciousness and creating an archive of memory of the elderly person with Alzheimer’s disease. The interview is based on a medical assessment. IJWL80 remembers all biographical details and enjoys scenes of his life that could be lost due to the disease. This video raises the issue of merging a machine and a human being and their mutual influence. The work suggests considering controversial and unresolved questions: the cost of technology and its commercialization, the new perception of death and mortality, the problem of ethical experiment.
Masha Godovannaya – The last flight (2017, Russia)
Laika was the first dog which the Russians successfully sent into the Earth’s orbit. One of the many Soviet space-dogs, the first astronauts, who paid with their lives for humankind conquering Space. This film is a letter from the dead dog. Its haunted spirit re-tells the story of her heroic deeds and martyrdom. The letter is not a call for a revenge or restitution, it’s rather a document of a life, one of many lives that were considered “disposable” by the well-known human strategies of conquest and domination.
Industrialization, technological progress and morality make possible such unusual forms of self-realization as “reborn” or motherhood. Our connection with technology is growing more and more intimate, Youtube collects new practices of self-display and provides access to this unknown reality. The artist explores the phenomenon of manifestation of ideal motherhood where a “reborn” – an artificial baby-doll is brought to life with the help of a video blog on Youtube. The light, the color of clothes, the characters’ poses and their movements are taken from the canvasses of Michelangelo and Da Vinci.
This allegorical portrait, created by editing older footage for the exhibition “Coming of age” (Athens, Greece) and it synopsizes in a symbolic way the harsh and tough side of growing old: a series of falls, which rhythmically thicken as the video progresses, refer conceptually to hits and consequently wounds. Our personal identity is “sculptured” by all these falls.
“Psychogeography” is a stream of conscious narrative touching on time, geography and memory that weaves in and out over images of landscapes, water and woods. The narrator reflects on how each landscape acts as a memory trigger for other places she’s been, other times in her life. As the setting and narration shift, our perspective of nature as healer and sanctuary change to a backdrop where our deepest fears and anxieties are played out.
Mahta Hosseini – Where ever I am, let me be; the sky is mine (2018, Iran)
In this video performance by Mahta Hosseini, she is like an immigrant who starts to walk away from her hometown Tehran. She is wearing a mirrored backpack depicting the same sky all the way. The sky is very much like humanity and human souls as both cannot be limited by the territorial borders and walls being built every day between people. The artist depicts Sohrab Sepehri’s poem of the same name with a poetic vision.
Citron / Lunardi (Selene Citron and Luca Lunardi) – Back up my memories (2018, Italy)
Back up my memories is a reflection on the disquieting perspectives offered by cryopreservation. Can memories be frozen before death to be defrosted in the near future thanks to new scientific discoveries? Back up my memories is about the fear of losing memory and therefore of dying. Recovering memories means to long for immortality. And certainly, the more we are connected to machines that will keep us alive, the more we will be imprisoned inside a global crystalline structure of data, information and technology from which we will no longer be able to separate ourselves as it could mean accepting death.
The surveillance camera and the smartphone, one is passive and the other is active, represent two types of societies, disciplinary society and society of control as described by Gilles Deleuze. Today, people can do anything in China with a smartphone in hand, including making payments via services like Wechat or Alipay in even the most unimaginable places and situations. A smartphone contains a whole life and has become life itself.
The image of women has been used and molded to the taste of the societies and historical events of each era generating visual codes and stereotypes: the working woman, the mother, the housewife, the muse, the sexual object, etcetera. These models have been filtered in one way or another from strata of masculine power that have used them, introducing at the same time different norms of ethical and moral behavior, assigning functions and specific spaces. The utility of women was thus subjugated to the service of man and family without promoting their autonomy and personal growth as an individual.
Virgina Lee Montgomery – CUT COPY SPHINX (2018, USA)
CUT COPY SPHINX is a surreal, sculptural short art-film about metaphysics, myth, and destruction. A feminist twist on the classical myth of Oedipus and the Sphinx, CUT COPY SPHINX recasts the sphinx as the uncanny hero who endures ‘cuts’ across time. SPHINX is a historic and often-copied 18th century garden sculpture of Madame de Pompadour, a controversial member of the century French court who served as politician, arts advocate, and chief mistress to King Louis XV. Both the film’s conceptual conceit and choreographic action explore themes of reproduction, destruction, power, and ambiguity.
Stasis in an experimentation of animation’s potential to mimic the real. Artist began by building a functional zoetrope within 3D space to test if persistence of vision is replicated accurately. From this experiment, he realized 3D animations potential to go beyond the physical limits of the real, allowing him to coordinate movements between both the camera and the zoetrope to replicate much more advanced cinematic techniques. The result is a carefully choreographed animation that represents the ebb and flow of the creative process.
It is based on the civil code of Belgium, in which lies the origin of the common walls, and all its societal implications. The docufiction shows a critical approach of a traditional living culture and its accompanying urban structure. It investigates in an ironical way the relation between space, living conditions and people’s habits.
The work is a video documentation of the experiment of communicating two smartphones. In the course of which they translate to each other the word “we are Russians, god is with us” from Russian into English and vice versa. The work has no video editing or other interference from the author.
There are three persons on the playground, each of which use own semiotic system (the nursery rhymes, the body language and “adult’s” verbal cliché). Each of performers creates their own game and rules of interaction with the space.
DVENEODNA – How and What I remember (2018, Russia)
Folders with photos turn into a portal which connects memories with what happened in our lives. An imaginary heroine is leafing through her photo folders. But what she sees is not the photos themselves but the feelings they evoke which are revealed by the tone of the image (white, grey or black). She doesn’t know how to master her judgmental thinking: whether to delete all the negative memories or to preserve them carefully, together with rest, as part of her personality.
Reza Masoud – Everything is under control (2018, Iran)
The artist talks to himself to figure out his personal situation, and tries to frame his identity and control his life. Although there are many things that seems not to be managed for his comfort, and much distress from the outside, and a feeling of loneliness and confusion. Because it is better to feel that everything is under control. Birds with the body of an eagle and human male head. The artist found them to be close to the garuda, a mythical being in Hinduism and Buddhism mythology.
Marina Blinova – Who is the player? (2018, Russia)
A mini-film made in Minecraft (“creativity” mode). We can hear the main character’s inner monologue. Torn away from his past and unable to make sense of the world around him he questions his own identity, the reality of things happening and his consciousness. We see the level of perception of a certain “streamer” who is possibly controlling our character in the game. Are the personalities of the player and the character the same? Who is the player? Whose monologue is it? Of a person who has lost his memory or is it an artificial intellect who acquired consciousness in the game, or is it just the stream of thoughts of the film’s creator? Made in compliance with the brand use rules – https://account.mojang.com/terms#brand. The product has not been issued or approved by Minecraft. For non-commercial use.
The collective unconscious exerts overwhelming influence on the minds of individuals. These effects of course vary widely, since they involve virtually every emotion and situation” Our emotions alike bursting bubbles – are they personally ours?