Keep Yourself Clean
The first lockdown 2020 inspired us to create an online exhibition of the VOLNA collective’s main works from our founding up to the start of the pandemic. Using video game creation tools, we tried to transfer our installations from reality to the virtual world and simulate real-time lighting effects and scenes. And you have the chance to walk around the exhibition Keep Yourself Clean, which is now available as a desktop application.
The exhibition spaces and installations were created using Unreal Engine video game development tools. Exhibition visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the surroundings of each installation and can move freely throughout the room, choosing whatever observation points speak most to them.
This online exhibition represents the first time our ardor for pragmatic production processes found reflection in a simulated world. For this reason, only works that were realized in the material world were selected for display. The following works were reconstructed for the exhibition: the audiovisual installations NEUBAU (2016), Powerline (2017) and Rotor (2018), the light installation Octave (2018), the installation Vague (2019), and two kinetic light installations, Duel (2019) and Nymphéas (2020).
The original sound design, created to interact closely with the light’s dramaturgy, and ambient sound environments are reproduced, and each work’s context and theme are discussed in an accompanying text. The virtual exhibition space itself is heterotopic and at the same time proportional to the original exhibition locations. We made the model exhibits displayed inside as close as possible to their real prototypes and preserved the original structural details, including the nature of the lighting and scenarios behind each of the live installations.
The primary expressive element in our work is light and its various characteristics, its movement and interaction with space, the rhythm of chiaroscuro and the way chiaroscuro scenarios unfold in relation to time. Despite the site-specific nature of the works, the overarching artistic principle behind all of them is the search for a universal language of pure forms. These forms, which correspond to the abstract subjects of the installations, are refined and freed of excessive details, minimalistic in their expressiveness and often even have a functional nature.
The exhibition illustrates how real space can live according to its own laws in another (virtual) space, as well as the merging of virtual and real spaces, a synthesis of various methods for transmitting information and the interplay between them. As media historian Norbert Bolz once put it, in media reality “thematically structured visual worlds are supposed to bring a surreal condensation of the experience: more real than reality.”
This online exhibition represents the first time VOLNA’s enthusiasm for pragmatic production processes has been reflected in a simulated world. For this reason, only works that were realized in the material world were selected for display. The exhibition is characterized by the presence of real space, living according to its own laws in another (virtual) space, as well as the merging of virtual and real spaces, a synthesis of various methods for transmitting information and their hypertextuality. As media historian Norbert Bolz once put it, in media reality “thematically structured visual worlds are supposed to bring a surreal condensation of the experience: more real than reality.”
Accepting this challenge, the exhibition Keep Yourself Clean attempts to embrace all the real and virtual layers of information that make up each of the works, and then let the works themselves become the determinants of perception. With their help, each of the contexts will “re-sort” in the virtual world, rethink and obey the laws of perception, and each work, in turn, will become an experience of sensory contemplation.
The exhibition has eight rooms you can navigate through using simple control commands. You can move from one room to its neighboring rooms and return to the entrance hall. You can access any of the seven exhibition rooms with installations from the entrance hall.
You can always get information about the installation you are viewing and choose from three languages (English, German, Russian). Using the QR-codes, you can find more information about the real-life installations, as well as download an exhibition catalogue in English or Russian. Navigation is controlled with a mouse or trackpad and a keyboard. Tooltips for the control commands can always be found in the lower right corner of the screen.
If you have a relatively modern PC with 64-bit Windows 10 you can download an offline version of the exhibition via Itch.io
- Curators and creators: VOLNA
- Editor: William Cohen
- Proofreaders: Martin Baumeister, Alexander Felch, Justina Fink
- Back end and technical support: Kiberchaika
- Teaser video: Polina Korotaeva
- Music for the documentation video: Benoît Pioulard – Shoals
- Special thanks: Konstantin Goriachev, Lev Goloviznin, Eugene Novikov, Konstantin Stavrov, Valentina Rusinova, Pavel Golubev, Olga Bulatova, Galina Polikarpova, Pavel Arsenev
- © VOLNA (2020)