Trigger and the City
Urban life depicted in art projects
Author: Daria Khasaia-Sinelnikova
Modern life is concentrated in megapolises and the urban environment can be overwhelming for many people. The constant stimulation and pressure to keep up with the pace of city life can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and burnout. Additionally, the lack of nature and green areas in urban areas can contribute to feelings of disconnection and isolation.
Visual artists interpret "urban trauma" in their own way. In this article we will explore how the perception and experience of urban life is reflected in the works of six contemporary artists.
Nick Mironov is an experimental semi-documentary video artist who explores relationships, inner emotions, complexities and contradictions in the experience of urban dwellers through his video art projects. His project "Youth" addresses the topic of human development in urban residential areas, examining themes such as maternal love, loneliness, protest, and dreams about the power of the wild free world in contrast to the urban grey reality. Through his work, Nick aims to explore and interpret his own life experience aiming to extract the universal truths of human experience from it and to invite his viewers to re-consider their own experience from a more empowering perspective.
Roman Genttcelt's artworks deploy the palette of light and shadow; these creations are multifaceted and complex. In his piece "SOHO", the artist uses a seemingly chaotic set of objects and the play of light to suddenly reveal an image of a famous neighborhood in the New York City. Roman's unique concept is that each object and material has their own meaning, and by connecting them together, a metamorphosis can occur and a brand new interpretation can emerge unexpectedly. This interesting alchemy has an underlying connotation which can be applied to modern urban life: a city is not merely a sum of its various parts but rather a place where dreams energies and material structures are transformed and transfigured to form something new entirely: the spirit of a city.
Stacy Saturday's work explores the impact of virtual reality on modern cities. Her mixed-techniques collage "Are you scared or are you thrilled" highlights the tension between fear and curiosity as the real world merges with the virtual. Through the use of layering techniques, such as overlaying a 3D model of a female body onto a photograph of a real girl and incorporating newspaper clippings, she creates a sense of chaos and the intersection of two worlds. The work humanizes the transition of the real world into the virtual, and encourages viewers to consider the implications of this process on society.
Digital artist Alina Snitnikova is drawn to both the real world and the fantastical worlds of video games. In her minimalistic sketches "Trees", she depicts trees in "new cities" that have been modified by the fast pace of modern life. The artist was inspired by Albrecht Durer and his detailed pencil works, and used a simple black pencil, a smudge tool, and eraser to create her pieces. This approach allowed her to focus on understanding the shapes and structure of nature. The sketches reflect her interest in the changing nature of technological cities and how nature must adapt to keep up with this rapid pace.
"Video Portraits" by Lidiya Ladyzhina is a project that explores the inner struggles of a hero living in a big city. The tight spaces of the city exacerbate feelings of existential loneliness and the isolation of being alone in one's own apartment. The project uses powerful images, an atmospheric palette, and dynamic editing to take the viewer on a journey into the depths of the hero's emotional experience. Lidiya’s approach immerses us in the madness of the hero. Through the work we see how the pressure and stress of city life can have a negative impact on one's mental health.
"Face Time" by Polina Filippova is an artwork that explores the relationship between body and space in various domains using digital technology. The artist is particularly interested in how we connect to each other and ourselves, and the role physicality plays in it. The work uses silence, light, freezing and micro-movement, and a figure waiting for someone or something to convey the message. The medium and genre of the work are classical portrait in a long tradition of female self-portraiture, and it is this form that Filippova chooses to talk about how gender affects our lived experience.