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СЕКЦИИ:    [ Global Media ]     [ Tactical Media ]     [ Screen Media ]     [ Hybrid Media ]     [ Sound Art ]     [ Media Festivals ]

[ Selection Committee ]     [ Expert Board ]     [ Exhibition of OpenCall winners ]     [ Contacts ]


PRO&CONTRA International Symposium
Moscow, October 8-11 2011; Krasnoyarsk, October 14-16 2011

The project is realized with Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation support
Under the patronage of Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation
Organized by "MediaArtLab" Centre for Art and Culture
Co-organized by Artplay on Yauza Design Centre
Partners: Royal Netherlands Embassy, Goethe Institut, Moskau, Austrian Cultural Forum

2011 Theme: Total Observer

“Today media constructs reality. Digital technologies change the society, politics and economics, but we are also changing with them. Technologies are extensions of our nervous system. We mutate gradually and become part of it. Under the pressure of the infinite number of cameras, stucked in the web, on one hand, we loose our freedom. But on the other - we expand our rights day by day via technological innovations. Art is not an outsider now, it's a trendsetter with new ideas and introduction into various fields is not directly connected to it. Only art with its intuition and power of imagination not limited by either discourse, or status, or norm becomes able to perceive the vague outlines of the future...”

Olga Shishko, PRO&CONTRA curator


General partner

Under the patronage of

Supported by

Open Society Institute


Площадка проведения

Exhibition of OpenCall winners

In 2011 at the international PRO&CONTRA symposium an art project competition took place for the artists from Russia and the CIS countries who research various trends in new media art. During four months applications were accepted at the website http://procontra.mediaartlab.ru/, and at the time of the 4 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art opening the winners were chosen. The symposium’s board of experts appraised works in four nominations seconding the thematic sections of the PRO&CONTRA conference, where experts in each trend are to give a speach. This structure was suggested by the symposium’s organizers becouse their main goal was not only to create an exhibition of the most interesting competition projects but to organize an expert discussion of the works presented and to evaluate the current Russian situation and its prospects for development as well as to demonstrate to the audience the methods of media works analysis.

Nomination hybrid media

Julia Borovaya, Sergey Kasic, Vadim Smakhtin
LIQUID~DO performance
Interactive audiovisual performance
2011, Moscow

The interaction of liquids launch a chain of chemical processes, which create unique abstract visual images. The process is transmitted through a video-camera into a computer. The behavior of the liquid generates sound according to a prescribed algorithm. LIQUID-DO may be associated with LIBIDO in the context of birth of energy from a liquid substance of a chemical process. Energy interpreted through sound. We are interested in the nature of self-organisation of liquid – visual and sound. The way these two aspects interact within one liquid organism.

Dmitry Kawarga
Residual consciousnessstream-4
Interactive object
2011, Moscow region

“The residual streams of thought” are transparent 2 meter long glass retorts with in-build active speakers and devices of biofeedback at the butt-ends. Inside the retort there is a sculpture “stream of thought” made of polymers. The viewer (viewers) enter into the contact with the strem of thought, holding the metal needles on the both sides of the retort. For this the viewer must calm down the emotional state, slowing down his own stream of thought and achieving the maximal possible degree of inner silence. In case of synchronization of the efforts and achieving the desirable result, the sculpture responses with the change of the audio track.

Julia Bezshtanko 
Video, 8'14''
2011, Chelyabinsk

This video was planned as an investigation of disappearance of a human body by way of painting it. During the cutting of the video a dialogue between the characters was discovered. A dance which emerged in the process of painting — as “pro and contra” of a rhetorical character. Many parallels can be distinguished: gender battles, body contrast, different rhythms and accents.


Constantine Ager
Sound: Koji Asano 
Memory of Rain
Video, 8'43''
2011, Moscow 

A shrowd of shower washes out the contours of a landscape. You can just contemplate the endless metamorphoses of the pouring streams or try to find in them vague delineations of something once seen: sunrise, reflecting in a lake, or a sight which flashed by in a window of a train carrying you away.

The project of K. Ager, creating this fragile image of a slipping away landscape, touches upon the topic of the deep connection of human being with nature, which is a part of his past, his inner experience, his memory. Indirectly it conveys a thought about careful attitude to ecology, to nature, which is equated here with a spiritual value.

The effect of light flickering and rain is a result of multilevel processing of a video filmed with a simple camera. 


Where the dogs run group
Interactive video installation
2011, Yekaterinburg

The video is showing slowly falling potatoes. For some it seems to be with eyes.

Olga Kiseleva
Conquistadors at the North Pole
Interactive programme
2011, Barents Sea–Paris

The installation examines the tensions and conflicts characterizing the Arctic today. The Arctic space is being re-mapped / re-drawn / re-appropriated by the traditional stakeholders and newcomers, be it private or state-owned corporations, governmental or non-governmental bodies. The artist reflects on how the current situation is effected by the overlapping interests of geopolitical and corporate powers, referring to the «global conquests». Kiseleva’s work answers the question who is the Arctic today? First, logos of the companies appear where they are now located. Then the logos start invading the whole map following the rhythm that echoes rapidly growing activities in the Arctic. To build «Arctic Conquistadors” she has worked with the Departments of Economics and Political Sciences of Sorbonne. They have cooperate with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the International Barents Secretariat and Platform (London).

Dmitry Bulnygin
Video, 7'40''
2009, Moscow

In the ancient time, to show asshole — was gesture of fearlessness and contempt for the enemy. In a contemporary society, demonstration of ass is a sign of humility, subordination, a recognition of force and the power of the spectator, and also serves as a decorative element at leisure carrying out. “Flowers” fruits is visual embodiment of this semantic transformation.

Gor Chahal
Free Love
Multimedia installation
2008-2011, Moscow

Visual-poetical multimedia work about the ontological connection of essential, socio-forming notions of “Love” and “Freedom”.

Love is inseparable from freedom. If we think deeply the meaning of the great slogan of the French revolution “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood”, not understood by sansculottes, consists exactly in confirming the identity of freedom and brotherhood (brotherly love).

Freedom = Brotherhood

Freedom is love.

An the Apostles have it even more precisely: “The Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor.3:17). “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Gal.5:22). And “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 Jn.4:8).

Which means freedom generates love and without love there will be no freedom.


Taus Makhacheva
Video documentation of performance, bullet, 4'39''
2010, Republic of Dagestan 

When I flew home to Makhachkala from Moscow to shoot this video I found out, that on the corner of my house right by the school number 13 three policemen were shot dead on the same day. What can this work be about, when shot in such context? I shoot into the sand from “Makarov”, a service gun of russian police. I shoot, blow-back, sound, crater in the sand, as I start digging I realize that the crater was only on the surface. By the time I find a bullet I fired away almost the whole magazine. I leave a big hole behind. All other bullets, that I couldn’t find, stayed somewhere in the beach near the city of Makhachkala.

Tatyana Fedorova
I want to London
Video installation, 4'09''
2010, Republic of Moldova 

With the project “I go” I am trying to understand the country in which I live and identify myself as a citizen of Moldova. Sometimes I feel vulnerable and powerless in my country, and through my actions show my place in modern society. ” A checked bag in my works is functioning as a symbol of the former Soviet Union, of transition, and mobility, while on the other hand, it represents a symbolic wall between East and West. As a symbol of the barriers, boundaries, and limits, this wall has become an obstacle in the implementation of my dreams to be in London.

Natalia Arefieva, Anna Kolosova
HD video, 3'30''
2011, Saint Petersburg

In the womb of impracticability we bear unborn clear-eyed children of our feelings: tender letters, which we write only in thoughts, or the most important words, which we dreamed to say to the loved ones, but didn’t say for some reason… Why do we give birth to so many unnecessary phrases and words — meaningless noices and other harmful signals? Sometimes we do not understand ourselves, speak with pretense, elegantly walk hand in hand with lies. We pretend to have smile on our face and strangle a scream inside. While we want to sing true and pure music of soul, when the deafening numbness of inner passion bursts out.

Anna Khodorkovskaya
Video, 1'34''
2011, Moscow

This is a video recorded by a Photobooth camera built into my computer. I recorded my response to the bewitching video “Nanomedvedev” posted at YouTube by anonymous people. The New year speech of the president is accompanied by the Moon Sonata of Beethoven and the voice is distorted. Also during the recording of this video I was having an active online correspondence. The work has a personal character, therefore it is difficult for me to analyses it. One of its components is sadness and simultaneously understanding of pathological “non-unity” of the society, its lack of prospects for the beginning new year.


Victoria Lomasko, Anton Nikolaev
Forbidden Art
2011, Moscow—Saint-Petersburg

The book “Forbidden Art” belongs to the genre of a graphical reportage. It tells a story of a criminal proceedings against the organizers of the exhibition “Forbidden Art-2006” Andrey Erofeev and Yury Samodurov, initiated by ultraconservative movement “National Council”. Materials for the book are collected at the trial by the authors first hand. They document not only the events inside the court building but also those outside. At the time of the process the trial the reportages were published in the blogs of the authors and in periodical editions. One of them — “The witnesses of the defense give a counterstrike” — was nominated for the Kandinsky Prize in 2010.

Anne Brochet
Internet project
2011, Moscow

The project is devoted to the change in the priority of information about important personalities of the cultural pantheon in the internet space. Today everyone who is willing has a possibility to add his hero to WIKIPEDIA. The data will have a vague personalized source, often unchecked.

A new site, www.wikiantipedia.ru, is registered. It is created on the basis of mediawiki-engine and works on the same principle. On the computer screen the portraits of theheroes of the world cultural pantheon are as if penciled, with inscriptions by schoolchildren, characterizing them, with corrected features. Arrows denote relations, according to the jokes about the private life of the heroes, and not according to the school program, as in Kharms. Viewers may choose connections between two or more personages, add new stories and new personages. The computer program adds new data, new connections, continuing the chain, creating real contemporary mythology which the tomorrow’s schoolchildren will plagiarize.

Grigoriy Charushin
Pink Fountain
Photo and video documentation of action, 1'45''
2010, Moscow

This action was prepared especially for the day of airborne troops. Traditionally on the 2nd of August the former airborne troops gather at the centre of Moscow, get drunk and behave forwardly and aggressively. One of their favourite entertainments has always been bathing in a fountain, accompanied by fraternization and demonstration of daring. With the help of a food dye I dyed water in 2 of such fountains on the Manezh square pink. The goal of action was to substitute the context of what was happening, turning in that way its meaning over. To take down the false pathos from this ritual.

Street art project
2011, 19 cities

World-wide Wednesday exhibitions
Creators of the project: Dmitry Vrubel and Victoria Timofeeva
Date of creation:July 13, 2011
Number of participants: 172 (as for 06.09.11)
The number of the global exhibitions held (as for 06.09.11)
Geography of the project: the whole world.

Vrubel and Timofeeva choose the key moments in the news according to their opinion and instead of the ideological and political commentary, which usually accompanies the news information they take and give back to public some personal quotation from the collective consciousness, thereby suggesting their own variant of the historical evaluation of an event. The chosen and processed motives are printed and posited on Wednesdays in public spaces (building facades, fences, etc.) with the help of the activists of GAP in their cities. The plots must be somehow rhymed with the historical and landscape-architectural information of different cities of the world. Why Wednesday? Because the first exhibitions were devoted to the silent demonstrators in Minsk, who went out to the streets on Wednesdays. The main nucleus of the project is the world-wide online and offline GLOBAL ART gallery, open to free visiting and participation. The main goal of the work of the Open GLOBAL ART gallery is not onle the above described “technological” process, but also the involvement of the broad public into forming the processes of the contemporary art not only as audience, but also as active participants.


Yury Kalendarev
The Standing Wave
Interactive sound sculpture
2011, Russia/Italy

The installation consists of two opposed “Sound Plates”, squares of acoustic bronze, suspended by the ceiling on four strings at the distance of 1.5 m from each other (approximately on the level of the solar plexus of a person of medium hight), creating pendulums. Near the sound plate on another string another object is suspended, another pendulum — a piece of an old tree, a log, grinded smooth by the sea, which was picked up ashore after the storm. 

When a person is inside the installation and touches by his stretched hands one or both
of these squares, the emerging sounds interfere with each other and a STANDING WAVE OF SOUNDS appear in the centre of the composition, where person is at that moment. This unseen but perceptible sound vibrating cocoon, which physiologically can create resonance regime of harmonic oscillations in the cells of the “observer” himself, is this sound sculpture. 

Something inside of us resonates in time with these sounds, they drive into somnambula state in between sleeping and being awake.

Perhaps the main feature of these sound sculptures is that they take us beyond genres.

Beyond the music, beyond the sculpture, beyond the language, beyond everything…

Ludmila Belova, programming by Sergey Komarov, Alexey Grachyov, Cyland
Time capsule "Tower"
2010, Saint Petersburg

One of the variations of a “letter into future” is the so called time capsule, which contains not only letters but also objects, characterizing the time in which they were created. Time capsules exist as electronic messages into future and as information recorded on different media which is sent into the cosmic space. There is also the International Time Capsule Society. Audioobject Tower also may be a time capsule. It is open for reading information and, having been placed into the field of art, is time capsule in itself. The object is made in the form of a tower, which personifies progress and arrogance at the same time — an artifact, in any case referring to the parable of the Tower of Babel. In its creation details of household appliances and a musical instrument which are out of use. Audio files collected in the object are connected with the technical progress. These are the sounds, which have surrounded human beings recently and even now: since the 60-ies up until 2010-ies.

Denis Perevalov, Nina Rizhskaya, Igor Sodazot
Interactive installation
2011, Yekaterinburg

This is phonograph, which writes sound on the sphere. During recording and playing performer can rotate the sphere in any way, which gives opportunity for making new athmospheric sounds from prerecorded one.

Valery Aizenberg
Simone speaks Russian
Audiovisual installation
2011, Moscow

The heroine of the project, German woman Simone, reads Russian text transcribed in Latin script ad finds herself in a situation, when her speech apparatus produces combinations of sounds, which she, Simone, never had to pronounce. With her eyes she sees lines of unknown words, unintelligible combinations of letters, written in a familiar script, she is not aware of what she reads and says-hears. The meaning is preserved only in the abstract sounds of the voice, and not in the text or the content thereof.

At the same moment the listener, a Russian speaking person, hears as if his native speech, not only pronounced with mistakes and a strong foreign accent but as if underdeveloped.

Simultaneously with her reading an Artist projects the previously taken photos of the lips of Simone – the place from where the sounds are coming -onto a multilayered screen. With a knife he draws on the screen, gradually immersing into the depth of the layers of contrast colours. As a result of these manipulations the visualization of a breakage happens on the screen.