Inna Kazazeva / Oulun läänin taidetoimikunta – IDENTITY

1.3. 2005 - 31.3. 2005

Contemporary world is a very dynamic flexible multi-cultural field.
And a human being is not any more a carrier of just one particular culture but mostly combines “different informational flows” in oneself at a particular moment of time. So the problem of self-identity is one of the most actual today from my point of view. Another problem is how much our comprehension of other people depends on the context in which we see them? Isn’t that a basis of prejudice and stereotypes? Our image is often formed by our surroundings. Isn’t it?
For me, it seemed exciting to try to find some formula to express the mechanism of identifying and self-identifying of a person in today’s world.
The most adequate language for such a social discussion is multi-media language of contemporary art – which is itself a combination of different social and cultural times and layers, a mixture of traditions and innovations.
It has always been an interesting question for me – how much is the inner space of a person linked with the outer space of reality? What is prevailing? Is there any balance in this complex image? And is harmony possible at all?
The starting point for my project was the fact that so often in all my multiple journeys – people were asking me to make their photos with the background of local places of interest. What were they expecting to get? Did they wanted just to fix happy moments of their life, to add something to their album of memories? Or were they trying to make other people see them in a different context – may be contrast to the traditional one for them?
Making photographs for a long time I’ve collected quite a big number of my own impressions of the “outer world”. The people whose images I’ve used in my project belong to different nations, to different generations and have different life stories. What I’ve done – it’s joining together photo images of real people, different samples of “cultural landscapes” and sounds, – all together creating a unique combination.
My project is an interactive game, which is giving a chance to the viewer or to the “user” (to be more exact) – to observe the changes of images and think a bit about correspondence and the lack of it between a person and a place. It’s about positive and negative, about modern times, about journeys.
This “active role” gives a viewer also another chance – to identify oneself, to understand something about oneself – choosing more preferable context for this or that face.
The structure of the project is very simple. The screen is divided into several parts. Same as the composition of the old Russian Icon: the central, “main image” (there are twelve versions of them) and the surrounding smaller pictures, showing different towns and landscapes.
Changing the “Hero” of the game we can also change the background. Moving it a bit horizontally we can correct the “final image”.
You can see that some “heroes” have stronger “identity” which is impossible to change with any manipulations with the surroundings and some of them become even unrecognizable in a new context.
Correspondence with Russian Icon is not by chance. I wanted to stress the idea of different lives which one and the same person can live changing his or her position in space, in different countries or in different times.
And of course there is a good portion of irony in my project – which is definitely not a scientific research but my attempt to invite other people to play a game, which was keeping me excited for a long time.
The project was demonstrated for the first time in Kirkenes during the travelling exhibition “Tales of Passage” in January 2003 within the framework of the «Migration», Barents region art project. After that the exhibition tour sites were: Kirkenes, Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Jokkmokk, Luleå, Kiruna and Kemi.
Later the “Identity” project took part in the Nordic art exhibition “Karelian Diary. Dialog” in Petrozavodsk and in Stuttgart (Germany) the same year.
The printed version of the project – computer generated images were shown at the “Train of Culture” exhibition touring through towns of Karelia and Finland.
After the publication about this project in the “Kaltio” art magazine of Northern Finland — I’ve got a suggestion to install the “Identity” in the Internet.
So now it’s living with it’s own life.
Inna Kazakova
Yhteydet: Oulun läänin taidetoimikunta, Hannele Pappila, puh. 0205178238, 040-744 2713.