Unpredictable Mutations in Video Art

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Unpredictable Mutations in Video Art

Video art mutates and pulsates, and this is fine. Once upon a time, this genre of contemporary art was revolutionary, but nowadays it seems to have become completely conventional and conformist. We are no longer surprised by a screen displaying pears turning into unicorns, placed in the middle of an exhibition of Victorian waist portraits. We are no longer shocked by gigantic projections of documentation of transgressive bodily performances on the facades of towering skyscrapers. Contemporary video art becomes interesting only when it ceases to be video art, when it incorporates the functions of other practices and approaches, when it transcends institutional or social agreements, and when it becomes something completely different. We have compiled a selection of five video art artists who are following their own unique paths and developing video art through its deformation, unexpected symbiotic connections, and deliberate diffusion of its institutional constraints.

Contemporary art

"Purge" by Sofia Malemina

This 39-second video artwork is a prime example of extreme minimalism. It captivates the viewer with its monochrome grey tones and the mesmerising transformation of a person into a mere shadow. What is truly impressive is the interplay between blurriness and clarity, which adds an element of mystery and intrigue. The constant appearance and disappearance of the human figure immerse the audience in a state of flux, leaving them to question the transient nature of existence. The manipulation of perspective creates a captivating visual experience, challenging traditional notions of space and dimension. One cannot help but see this video art as more than just documentation or a dance study. It transcends these labels, transforming into an absurd post-minimalist theatrical or musical piece. 

The lack of a concrete narrative or familiar structure allows for a deeper exploration of the human condition and its inherent contradictions. The use of grey as a symbol of overcoming darkness is brilliantly executed. The human figure, devoid of gender or identity, becomes akin to a stone dissolved in the air, embodying both fragility and strength. This dichotomy serves as a powerful metaphor for resilience in a world constantly on the verge of collapse. The hermetic and enigmatic nature of this artwork adds to its allure. It invites the viewer to delve into their own interpretation and explore the depths of their emotions and thoughts. It is a testament to our unyielding determination to survive and thrive despite the chaos and uncertainty that surround us.

"Tree of Time" by Nesibe Bostanci

This video artwork is a mesmerising exploration of visual storytelling and the complexity of perception. The artist skillfully manipulates the elements of text, title, and imagery to create a fluid and enigmatic narrative that defies categorization. The intermittent appearance of texts and titles serves as a clever diversion, leading the viewer down a path of confusion and intrigue. It is as if the artist is intentionally playing with our expectations, challenging us to unravel the underlying meaning of the piece. These textual interjections, akin to the fluttering of butterflies, disrupt the serene journey through the video, adding an element of unpredictability to the experience. The overall tone of the video is both detached and calm, immersing the viewer in a contemplative state. The artist's adept use of disjointed frames, reminiscent of nostalgic films, intertwined with snippets of documentary-like footage, creates a sense of visual poetry. 

These diverse elements seamlessly blend together, forming a harmonious and unified flow that captivates and engages. What sets this video artwork apart is its ability to evoke a paradoxical response. On one hand, it serves as a testament to resignation and acceptance in the face of overwhelming and monumental events. The subtle yet powerful imagery conveys a sense of humility, reminding viewers of their insignificance in the grand scheme of things. Yet, at the same time, it celebrates the value of individual perception and the unique aesthetic experience it can bring. The inclusion of the fire engulfing the male figure at the end further adds to the layers of interpretation. It symbolises destruction and transformation, an embodiment of the cataclysmic and immense events referenced throughout the artwork. It serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of existence and the inherent beauty that can be found amidst chaos.

"ARKHE" by Burhan Tekçe

What do we see? Water, sheep, green meadow, walk in the forest, sounds of water, two female figures, forest, footsteps, young woman's face, old woman's face, coughing, conversations, Turkish house, coughing, teapot, boiling water, coughing, child next to red liquid, two trees, women reading prayer, blurred figures, clarity and blurriness of the image, yawns, young woman's face again, mountain landscape, old woman's face, hand with a ring crawling with ants, sandy beach, turtle crawling towards water, young woman, twitching eyelid, opening eye, male figure instead of a pupil, partially submerged in water. This breathtaking work captures the essence of avant-garde video art, pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling. The use of processuality and plotlessness challenges the viewer to dive into a world where the narrative unfolds organically, without the constraints of a linear plot. Cinematography plays a crucial role in creating the immersive experience this work offers. The visual compositions are meticulously crafted, showcasing the visionary talent behind the camera. Each frame is a work of art in itself, with carefully selected angles, lighting, and juxtapositions that transport the audience into a mesmerising visual journey. Theatricality is another key element that sets this work apart. The performances are not confined to the traditional stage or screen; they transcend those boundaries, blurring the lines between reality and performance art. The actors seamlessly merge with their surroundings, becoming one with the carefully constructed set designs. This combination creates a powerful and unique viewing experience, pulling the audience into a world that feels both familiar and otherworldly. One of the most fascinating aspects of this work is its use of parables. 

The narrative subtly explores timeless themes and societal issues, inviting viewers to interpret the story on multiple levels. It serves as a mirror to our own lives, forcing us to reflect on our actions and values. Moreover, this work successfully captures the essence of immersive storytelling. The audience is not mere passive observers; instead, they become active participants in the narrative. They are invited to explore the unspoken, to delve deep into the layers of symbolism and meaning embedded within each scene. This interactive aspect elevates the work from a mere video art to an experiential journey. Finally, the fusion of video art, historical sources, rituals, and post-dramatic elements adds a depth and richness that are rarely seen in contemporary works. The incorporation of historical references provides a context that enhances the understanding and appreciation of the story. The rituals and post-dramatic elements further blur the line between fiction and reality, leaving the audience questioning their own perceptions and assumptions.

"Desert" by Alexey Vyatkin

"Desert" is an exceptional video artwork that captures the essence of minimalism. Set in the vast expanse of the Moroccan desert, the video depicts the shadows of camels gracefully walking through the sand. With no accompanying sound, the artwork allows the visual elements to take centre stage. The simplicity of the piece is captivating. The artist's decision to focus solely on the shadows of the camels creates a sense of static. The absence of any other distractions allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the calm and serene atmosphere of the desert. The minimalistic approach contributes to the overall impact of the artwork, as it emphasises the beauty of simplicity and the power of suggestion. This choice also adds a timeless quality to the piece, making it feel as though it could have been captured in any era. The pacing of the video is deliberate and deliberate. The slow and deliberate movement of the camel shadows creates a sense of tranquilly and stillness. It allows viewers to appreciate the simple beauty of nature and the delicate balance between light and darkness. The video's unhurried tempo invites the viewer to slow down and reflect, making it a truly immersive experience.

"Desert" by Alexey Vyatkin

"Velvet Light" by Can Köroglu

This video art represents unparalleled artistry that delves into the deepest and most intimate aspects of human interaction. The video artist skillfully combines various elements to convey the complexity and beauty of our existence. The colour palette, transitioning from blue to purple, creates emotional tension and invites viewers to immerse themselves in the intimate atmosphere of the artwork. The fast-paced editing and pulsation creatively depict movement and energy while emphasising the unpredictability and multifaceted nature of the human experience. The depiction of skin, small facial details, body curves, hands, and nails symbolises physical presence and the feeling of a genuine human being. Viewers can feel every texture and every movement as if they are in direct proximity to the character on screen. The female voice, accentuated by its tone, adds an additional level of intimacy and emotional depth to the artwork, evoking complex sensations in the viewer. Through its boldness and wit, the video artist undermines the monopoly of vision, offering viewers an immersion into alternative senses and tactility. This is an art form that demands active perception and interpretation from the viewer, breaking stereotypes and resonating deeply within the soul of each observer.

"Velvet Light" by Can Köroglu


Jenya Stashkov