The idea for the NEUBAU installation came to us when we first visited the Vertical Gallery. It was a very unusual place, even for emerging artists. The main exhibition space was situated in an abandoned 15-meter elevator shaft and adjacent stairway in what used to be a factory during the Soviet period.
NEUBAU is an allusion to modernist architecture and its image of a future that never came and quickly became outdated. Its ambitious formal exploration and thoroughly thought out notions about how a bright future should look were rejected by reality and forgotten like childhood dreams. NEUBAU is a utopian mode of existence embodied in life. It collapsed even faster than the children living in it grew up. Looking at the suburbs in Russian and Eastern European cities, known for their gloom and neglect, we attempt to colorize them with memories from childhood.
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 another dilapidated building. The spatial characteristics of the elevator shaft determined the shape of NEUBAU, making the shaft appear even more vast and imposing than it was in reality. Using generative video content from minimalistic geometric patterns, repeating elements and pure colors synchronized with an original soundtrack, we gave expression to conflicted feelings of rejection and affection, combined with a dizziness from unfulfilled hopes.
This was our first installation. 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.
- Concept, production, video and sound design: VOLNA
- © VOLNA (2016)