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Tatiana Gerasimenok about her work

‘The machine becomes the next surrogate mother of the creator’s imagination’

Tatiana Gerasimenok is a Belarusian multi-artist and researcher based in Berlin and Moscow. Her works are experimental and focused on combining inseparably several art forms and the latest technologies. In the framework of the Virtual Residency Program 2020, fellow Tatiana Gerasimenok composed an interview with 25 questions and answers about her artistic visions, telepathy, ritual of sacrifice, art of the future, and her new projects.

1 What is high art? Something as artificial as possible.

2 What is the most important thing in a work of art? Imperfections. They are the breath of a living organism.

3 How to distinguish an art object from just an object? The art object must have value. Anything that passes through the sieve of the mind gains value.

4 Describe the synesthetic concept of your work. I am interested in working with various senses of the human body. Combining and activating different art forms in one piece reminds me of the different coexisting and equally activated human sensory organs.

5 How do you build your composition? Various senses such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, temperature, and space become the main layers of my composition. I first create a composition between elements within each layer and then between the layers themselves.

6 Is there a specific principle by which you select elements for each layer? For example, speaking about the layer that works with the ears, or say speaking about the musical art form, I am always interested in combining two extremes such as the primitive time and the modern time of humanity. Thus, the wild and instinctive sound behavior of humans is combined with the latest musical technology: electronic sounds and sophisticated sounds of acoustic instruments.

7 What will the art of the future be like? A new kind of pure art is a laboratory creation of the human. The masterful work with biological and genetic material will lead to the emergence of an artificially derived superbrain that no human, created ‘the old way’, can compete with.

8 What is most important to you in your compositional work and creative process? It is important to me to erase the boundaries between life and art. As well as to make the audience and musicians equal participants of the ritual, just like group prayers in a church.

9 What will be the next step of artificial intelligence? The machine will want to know who created it and why.

10 How do artificial intelligence and new technologies affect society? New technologies and artificial intelligence are encouraging distance, privacy and individualism. The Internet and artificial intelligence will be free like air. At least for now, air is freely available. Thus, people will have the opportunity to erase the boundaries between consciousness and artificial intelligence and combine them into one whole.

11 Tell me about your Instagram Stories music. This is an audiovisual project for which I use my already existing recordings as compositional material. One completed Instagram composition is 240 seconds long, which equates to approximately 16 Instagram Stories uploaded in different weeks. Thereby, the composition appears gradually, in real time and in real life.

Instagram Stories composition by Tatiana Gerasimenok (YouTube channel of the artist)

12 What about your webcam performances? In this project, I am considering the webcam as an audiovisual and digitizing tool. The performer follows video instructions on a laptop screen; simultaneously, the performance is recorded with a webcam. The video instructions not only regulate the performer’s actions, but also turn the performer’s face into a canvas that reflects the constantly changing screen colors; the reflections from the laptop screen modify the performer’s appearance. Thus, machine and human being treat each other as objects that can be creatively transformed. The performer may follow the video instructions from any moment within the fixed 15-minute duration of the performance.  

13 What work has been done in this direction recently? The composition “4bkl” for a mixed group of musicians and actors from Spain and France will premiere in October 2020. The performers record their videos separately. The finalized recordings are then combined as several windows on one screen. This allows a group of participants to work together remotely and independently—all they need is a laptop with a webcam.

Picture #1: Score cover—instructions for Tatiana Gerasimenok’s piece “4bkl”

14 Does a person need to be a musician to perform this video instruction? To participate in this project, the performer needs to be person.

15 What is your favorite instrument as a composer? The human brain.

16 How would you like to play the human brain? I am interested in working with quantum sensors that can instantly digitize visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and other information from the brain and illustrate it to the audience through holograms and other tools. In this way, the creator rehearses and plays composed and improvised spaces on her or his imagination in front of the audience. Thus, the machine becomes the next surrogate mother of the creator’s imagination.

17 What is hindering human evolution? Any important innovation that turns into stability becomes hindering.

18 Tell me about your piece “Bohemian Algae”. “Bohemian Algae” is a Holy Trinity ritual of sacrifice to the God of High Art. The ritual consists of Three Degrees: Ritual, New Knowledge and Sacrifice. In the Second Degree, performers evoke the spirit of birds by scratching the piano lid. The ritual ends with the deprivation of the performers’ involvement in high art.

Video of Tatiana Gerasimenok’s piece Bohemian Algae (YouTube channel of the artist)

Picture #3: Score of the Third Degree from Tatiana Gerasimenok’s piece “Bohemian Algae”

19 What does the specific arrangement of the instruments on stage mean? The closed piano in the center is the coffin, inside which the God of High Art rests.

20 For how long has he been resting there? If one term is a hundred years, then he has been resting there for several terms.

Picture #2: Instruments arrangement on stage in the piece “Bohemian Algae”

21 What is chaos? Chaos is a masterpiece of structure. There is no chaos, and everything is chaos until you start analysing it.

22 What role does the Internet play for humanity? The Internet is the power of telepathy and teleportation in the 21st century.

23 What do you think of Homo sapiens? And what helps humans to evolve? Humans today are in a constant struggle between instinct and reason. Art that brings pleasure makes Homo less sapiens. Sexuality makes humans less civilized. The desire to control animal instincts distinguishes Homo sapiens from Homo instinctive.

Picture #4: Illustration by Tatiana Gerasimenok in her Instagram Stories

24 How to perform the Third Chapter of your piece Guide to the Epiphany? Graphics are played from top to bottom for 4 and a half minutes. It consists of coughing, turning on fans, playing an instrument, moving a chair, scratching the table and floor, reciting a Bible text while inhaling, and performing silence. You can see this in the illustration below.

Video of Tatiana Gerasimenok’s piece “Guide to the Epiphany” (YouTube channel of the artist)

Picture #5: Score of the Third Chapter of Tatiana Gerasimenok’s piece “Guide to the Epiphany”

25 What do you appreciate in the human being? The power of subjectivity.

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