directors lounge monthly screenings
anthropological travel notes
Thursday, 29 Januar 2015
Katya, artist from Russia, currently works as an artist-in-residency at ZKU Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik. Her work is closely connected with a number of residencies and art projects she created in very different countries, such as Norway, Tanzania, Italy and India. Always trying to connect with local people, the artist is always interested in working with the stories the people tell her. With those stories she uses very different genres, like interview, paper-cut animation or straight documentary. And in the same way of personal narration, she also tells about the place her mother lives: Sevastopol.
Ekaterina Craftsova's works with video are mostly connected with places she visited as artist-in-residency. She uses the opportunites to visit different countries and places, which only recently has become a common way for international artists to create work and to connect with people. Craftsova, who studied painting and graphic design, loves to listen to local stories and follow story-lines to create videos. For her, a video is similar to designing a books, which to her is “time based medium” as well.
Her residencies often take her to rather unknown places commonly not connected with art programs. When going to Karasjok in Norway, she did not know much about Sami culture, a people largely suppressed until the 1970's. And she was surprised to find stories and cultural artifacts very similar to rural Russian traditions. A matriarchal oral tradition that nowadays mixes in similar possibly “strange” ways with contemporary technology. She combines animations about an old “joik” song with the voice of a young boy trying to tell the story in Sami language.
The artist who now lives in Moscow, was born in Tajikistan. She left the country with her mother to live in Sevastopol before the civil war became prevalent, which was connected with the independence from Soviet Union. Her interest in the stories of “common people” may be connected with her own experience of change that is only indirectly connected with “big politics” but always affected by the political circumstances. Her film “Mum”, was a way to reconnect with her mother, who still lives in Sevastopol, after a time of dissociation. Not connected in any ways with recent political changes around Crimea, the film shows a mixture of biological knowledge with private mythology of her mother connected with health issues and the problems to be connected in difficult private conditions.
It is this kind of personal relations in her work the artist seeks also in foreign countries. When in a residency in Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, the most difficult place to be in for the artist so far, Katya combines her own story of being robbed with the experience of insecurity most of the citizens in Dar es Salaam have to deal with, and the almost cynical official warning for visitors issued by the US-embassy. (“Hauna Matata”) Having lost her camera, the artist creates animations with very low-fi material of corrugated cardboard, which can also be related with the simple material local children have to use for their games.
A better personal experience but an equally disputable residency project may be the project in Rajasthan, in India, organized by local artists. Here the group of artists works in a rural place with local people, and Katya chose to work with young girls. In this very conservative province, girls often hardly get a real education and get married at very young age. Craftsova uses the non-verbal communication with the local girls to create a story that may be of universal meaning and is still specific to the place.
In her new project the artist started in Berlin, of which we will see a work-in-progress, a more international phenomena appears: spam. Though Katya tells me, that she found it curious, that many artists seem to collect the messages that otherwise would just be discarded and relates it to the idea of recycling that seems to be stronger in Berlin than elsewhere. And, there is another connection with her previous work: the number of strange “personal” stories about Africa that appear in spam messages.
The artist will be available for Q&A, moderated by Cordula Gdaniec. Curated by Klaus W. Eisenlohr.
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