Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanoff will present some of their collaborative art projects in the field of digital video. They will talk about the video installations presented as public art projects screened on the facades of museums and other public buildings. The artists will discuss how screening of this kind tranforms the building, becoming part of the video instalaltion, as well as how this affect the surrounding. The presentation will include the technical aspect of these projects and the audience impact.


The projects included in the presentation:

Au-delà du Visible
video installation intended to the façades of museums or public buildings, variable dimensions, 2004

The video installation is composed of scenes without audio, situated in different contexts - huge visages (4x5m), that are attempting to communicate with the viewers or passers-by, talking to them, calling to them and gesticulating. Despite their efforts, the visages remain isolated, misunderstood behind the grating of the window. The theme of the installation is the relation mass-individual, isolation, the loss of the individual's personality. Utilizing this specific method of presentation, the artists desire not only to incite the random passer-by toward contemporary art, but also to present a series of sociological questions and problems.

Phases of Accumulation and Extraction in a Limited Space
window projected installation, 2005

The video installation explores the cyclical relations between the space, the matter and the body. Departing from these primaries given facts, the installation requires the viewer's or the inhabitant's gaze and attention, analyzing the spaces hidden behind the windows, which subsequently become filters. The viewer see four hands, working the most organic matter of all, the soil - the rhythm of the human action - a circle completed with the existence's rotation - life and death, reducing and increasing, picking and spilling, accumulating and extracting, begin and end.

Play for Two Hands and Black
window projected installation, 20 min, loop, 2006

The viewer is attracted by the movement of two hands - a man's and a woman's. Both hands are within the shots on a big window. The sheer size of the hands transforms the size of the building, which becomes part of the work. The black background and the specific lighting personalize the hands, morphing them into two portraits, two symbols of a male and female beginning. Upon appearing, each hand is within its own box, delineated by the frame of the window. The hands touch, gradually their movements become aggressive, and the first black spot appears on one of them. They fight, love, hate each other. They gradually become darker as they are covered with the sticky, black substance until they almost disappear into the black background. Realizing their imminent demise, the hands try to clean each other off until they become visible once again, separate, personalized.
The circle begins anew, instilling the feeling of an endless cycle of love and hate, of depersonalization and re-personalization.

In the Out
video installation, 60 min, loop, 2002

The installation employs the given architectural environment to modify and weave into it elements stemming from another architectural environment.
The projection is visible from two sides: from the interior of the building - by the visitors and mainly from the street by the passers-by, provoking them to become part of the author's life. The authors transfer their private world (the window of their studio located at one of the busiest public places in Paris, the square facing the MNAM, Centre Georges Pompidou), overcoming the limits of space and time joining with the social life of another city.
The project aims at fading/mixing the notions of inside/outside, private/personal/social.

Wet Contact
video projection, 30min, loop, 2002

A big screen separated in two. A split screen. Two faces - man and a woman, the faces of the authors. Both of them are looking straight into the camera. The camera does not move. At the first minutes nothing happens. The viewer has an illusion they are looking at him. They observe him… They are expecting something from him…
Suddenly water slaps the face of one of them. The slaps alternate between the one and the other. Some of water slaps are very strong and painful.
The lighting changes as if the day is passing.
The sound track was created from sound samples recorded from everyday life in conjunction and mixed with a music composed by Heinz Weber.    

The other – no other than the self?

Each lover has a theory of his own
About the difference between the ache
Of being with his love, and being alone:
Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone
That really stirs the senses, when awake,
Appears a simulacrum of his own.
Narcissus disbelieves in the unknown;
He cannot join his image in the lake
So long as he assumes he is alone.

Could it be that we are able to experience the sensuous quality of contact with the other only in our dreams? Could it be that there is a loss of reality in the real world?
Could it be that we are at peace with ourselves only if we never accept that we are doomed to be alone? Could it be that in the quest for the other, even if it is an image of our own self, we can hope to dispel the doom of being alone?
Is there actually a fundamental difference between the pursuit of the other and the pursuit of the self?
These are just a few of the questions that the failed yet fertile cross-gender encounters in this video suggest.
Lubomir Terziev

Visual description:
Two dark rooms painted in black and connected with a gateway. In each room, there are projections on the walls facing each other. The projections are vertically oriented, which makes them reminiscent of the gateway.
The viewer finds herself between the two projections, i.e. between two human figures - female and male - running towards each other. They are both dressed in light-hued clothes and are captured against a dark background. The two figures are frantically seeking contact but they will forever remain at one remove from each other.
Gradually, the male figure fades away. A female figure, “the other self”, fades in to replace it. There are now two identical women running towards each other in a quest for contact and coincidence – she and she.
The first female figure fades away to make room for the original male figure. Gradually, the second woman also fades away. It’s he and he now, running towards each other in a frenzy.
After a while, one of the male figures fades away and is replaced by the original female figure. It is he and she again. We are back to square one.
The video is shot with a high-speed digital camera, which allows the action to be considerably slowed down, so that the image can have a dreamlike quality. The impression is reinforced by the multilayered, almost abstract sound of the score.
Watching the installation feels like voyeurism: it’s as if you are caught up in the middle of a private scene. Who are these people?
This work is about our yearnings, about our moving towards each other and towards ourselves, without ever getting to know or reach the other and ourselves.
Regardless of the room the viewer is in, she can watch the action in both rooms at the same time, but she cannot pass from one room into the other since the gateway, albeit seemingly passable, is actually a transparent wall made of Plexiglas.
There’s a text on it.