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Outdoor Media Installation, 2023

Fusion 360; 3D printing; 3D engineering design; welding; PVC "mobiles" attached to metal poles, motors, solar panels, speakers, motion sensor, drive belt

Engineers: Alexey Grachev, Denis Markov. Sound Engineer: Sergey Dmitriev

A futurist opera Victory Over The Sun, staged in 1913 and co-authored by Aleksei Kruchonykh (the libretto) and Mikhail Matyushin (the music), was intended to underline parallels between literary text, musical score, and the art of painting. It became an exemplary collaborative work of poets and artists. It is about how the group of budetlyane (from the Russian word “budet”, “will be”) set out to conquer the sun. Commonly, it is interpreting the win of advanced technologies of the future over old nature. In this artwork, a supposed victory is put into question. Humanity depends on sunlight which is essential to the ecosystem it is part of. Even slight change in sunlight immediately shows how vulnerable we are as well as our aspirations and ideas for our future.

The work of the installation depends on sunenergy. A set of solar batteries accumulates the energy and puts it in motion via motors the installation components — Futurist-like kinetic “mobiles”. The motors are connected to a set of solar batteries which follow the movement of the sun to collect power. The direction of movement of the installation components is defined by the trajectory of the sun and will change during the day. The installation is active as long as the batteries are charged.

The installation has a sound component. A set of speakers is playing a new version of the opera Victory Over The Sun staged on May 3, 2007 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The noted St. Petersburg composer Georgy Firtich created a new score for the opera (only fragments of Matiushin’s original score have survived) and came to Vassar in order to take part in the performance with a company of Vassar student singers and musicians. It was envisaged not as a historical restoration but as reinvention from the perspective of the present, one that aspired to convey the explosively innovative impulse of early twentieth-century avant-garde. This year celebrates the 110th anniversary of the premiere of Victory Over The Sun and, by happy coincidence, the 85th anniversary of Georgy Firtich's birth. Engaging in a dialogue with its predecessors, this installation continues its explorations and offers its own reflection on the opposition between technology and nature.

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