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House on the Embankment

Moscow, Russia

Caviar on instant noodles

06  /   05  /   2019

Artists: Artistic Collective from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna

 

A journey with the Trans Siberian Railway

 

Intro

 

Assistant Professors Gabriele Edlbauer (Site-Specific Art) and Stefan Wirnsperger (Painting & Animated Film) from the University of Applied Arts Vienna are organizing a trip with the Trans Siberian Railway in spring 2019. Together with students of both departments, they will transform the narrow passenger spaces on the trains into mobile studios: while moving from Beijing to Moscow the artists will engage in the creation of new works individually and collaboratively. At the end of the trip, the projects will be finalized and presented in Moscow.

The romantic idea of travelling artists, experiencing unknown and challenging settings during their extensive journeys, is mirrored in a contemporary form by a nomadic art world. Living, working and exhibiting takes place all over the globe. Simultaneously, travelling itself hardly is the moment anymore where artistic production happens, due to rather short travelling times. At its best, the atmosphere of airports invites to answer organisational emails. 

 

In contrast, riding the Trans-Siberian Railway creates a situation that turns the journey itself into the principal goal, considering its spatial and temporal dimensions. While the traveller’s radius of movement is limited to a couple of square meters by the outline of the waggon, the train crosses thousands of kilometres with a variety of geographical landscapes, cultures and political entities. This juxtaposition of a very limited and very expanded mobility creates a productive tension, to which students of the departments Site-Specific Art and Painting/Animation will expose themselves and react.

 

In an open call, the students were invited to apply with a specific project they suggested to realise during the journey. Four students of each class were selected, taking into account the quality of their proposals, diversity of topics and approaches as well as variety in media.

 

Concepts

 

Department of Site-specific Art

 

Ana Likar (SLO)

While travelling with the Trans Siberian Railway, Ana Likar will continue developing her

current work focusing on perceptions of time, intervals of wakefulness/sleep,

orientation in space/time and displacement. Likar plans on approaching those interests

through various settings. One attempt is based on the timetables of the trains, which run

on Moscow-time, thus enabling the artist not only to move physically but also to time-

travel. Another interest of Likar is to examine what the absence of dark skies means for

flora and fauna and is hereby hinting at the recent attempts of Russia and China to put

systems of constant daylight in use.

 

Laura Hatting (GER)

For her project “sounds dislocated/async” Laura Hatting will combine recordings of

time-structuring rhythms from each stopover of the train trip to an async beat as her

production base. Hatting’s project is a way of production and reflection on the state of

dislocation with and during the trip; feeling async whenever going places, being off-beat

to surroundings as a stranger/tourist. The artist will merge her beat with texts from her

notes taken during the trip, which she will sing or read. At the final stop in Moscow,

Hatting will play the piece live and then move the record to Vienna.

 

Florian Berger (AUT) & Sara Bissen (KAZ)

For their first collaborative work, Florian Berger and Sara Bissen want to explore social

interactions of passengers in transit in order to try to debunk common myths and

prejudices about Russian, Mongolian and Chinese culture, as well as sharing artistic

practices. The artists will connect every mobile device within a radius of 100 meters (on

the train or in stations) to a single network and as such be able to: send messages to

passengers and receive answers. Such communication with other passengers will lead to

joint authorships when for example collectively putting together an “art vendors tray” or

offering tattoo nights on the train.

 

Department of Painting and Animation Film

 

Jiyoon Lee (KOR)

Through drawing daily portraits of her fellow travelling artists, Jiyoon Lee will explore

and document shifts in appearances and moods on the quite lengthy and hence possibly

socially challenging trip. Lee will combine those drawings with video footage taken of

certain situations and her surroundings while travelling. The final work shown in

Moscow will be a short animated film depicting not a very factual, but rather personal

narration of the journey’s timeline.

 

Sophie Vitovec (AUT)

Sophie Vitovec’s project is an investigation into the train as microcosm. She is interested

in how passengers are passing time while travelling for such long periods. Through for

example using card games, newspapers and knitting as her artistic base materials,

Vitovec plans to put together an installation comprised of “pastime-pieces”. Those

objects will partly be created by the artist herself but also partly by collaborative efforts

such as collective knitting or storytelling.

 

Sebastian Doringer (AUT) & Lukas Dworschak (AUT)

In order to capture their trip in an abstract or experimental way, Sebastian Doringer and

Lukas Dworschak will join forces on developing a film during the journey on

the Trans Siberian Railway. With the help of simple every day tools, such as

smartphones, cameras, pen and paper, the artists attempt to produce one chapter per

day and to finally connect those stages to one whole. Content-wise a potential focus of

Doringer and Dworschak will be the economic circumstances of the countries visited,

since both China and Russia as super powers are in strong contrast to Mongolia.

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