The idea for the NEUBAU installation came to us when we first visited the Vertical Gallery. It's a very unusual place, even for St. Petersburg. The main exhibition space is situated in an abandoned fifteen meter elevator shaft and adjacent stairway in what used to be a factory during the Soviet period.

The gallery's atmosphere reminded us the architecture and mood of the suburbs in Russian and Eastern European cities. These are overwhelmingly gloomy places with monotonous and grey architecture, but at the same time the they inspire mixed feelings of rejection and affection in people (like us) who grew up in such neighbourhoods. These conflicted feelings served as a source of inspiration for the general mood and specific visual aesthetics of the NEUBAU exhibition.

With this in mind, we sought to design a site-specific installation that would depict these feelings—to build a virtual residential building inside of a another dilapidated building. The spatial characteristics of the shaft determined shape of NEUBAU, making the elevator shaft appear even more vast and imposing than it is in reality. For this purpose we created video content from simple geometric patterns and pure colours and synchronised this with a soundtrack. We used a single beamer to project video onto thirteen PVC frames that were suspended from top of the elevator shaft.

One funny thing here is that the production and representation of media-art objects is usually associated with hi-tech solutions in specially prepared spaces, but in this case everything was quite the opposite—an empty elevator shaft that required alpine equipment to install a suspension mechanism, with many parts of the installation simply tied to gears in the former engine room. With dust, the freezing cold and the remains of discarded machinery at the heart of its creation, the inspiration behind and creation of NEUBAU was entirely low-tech.

Video & sound-design: Nikita Golyshev


Making of


Concept, production, video and sound-design: VOLNA
© VOLNA (2016)


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