In Dialogue with Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko

In this interview with Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko, we delve into the complex intertwining of their experiences from the real and virtual worlds in their art. Their works, displayed at Pragovka Gallery in Prague, explore the nuanced intersections between nature and technology through a mix of video, photography, and sound installations. In this double interview, we discuss their thoughts on how technological advancements shape their interpretation of natural landscapes and the impact of specific locations on their art.

Fakewhale: Ewa, Jacek, how do you integrate your experiences from both real and virtual journeys into your artistic process for Overlooked Horizons?

Jacek Doroszenko: The works displayed during the exhibition “Overlooked Horizons” at Pragovka Gallery in Prague are primarily linked by their subject matter – the landscape, and by the questions we face – the shifting boundaries between the domains of nature and technology. The exhibition gathers our insights on how digital images and the latest technologies mediate the perception of the natural world. The formally diverse works (video productions, photographic installations, sound installations) are only fragments of extensive and long-term projects that provide an insight into our duo’s working model. The exhibition in Prague collects our various reflections on the landscape that have emerged from travels or Artist-in-Residence programmes.

Ewa Doroszenko: As with the recent “Impossible Horizon” exhibition at the Foto Forum in Bolzano, at the core of our work is an interest in imagery and contemporary photography, which increasingly mediates our contact with the natural environment. We both feel that reality is so hidden behind photographic images that it is increasingly difficult to experience nature “live”. Both exhibitions focus on the landscape and showcase the themes of the evolving photographic and digital medium. Contemporary culture is increasingly becoming an environment of digital information streams, where the division between virtual and real is less and less valid. The same applies to our work. It is sometimes difficult for the viewer to recognize which parts of the photographic installation were made digitally and which depict a landscape captured with an analogue camera.

Fakewhale: In what ways does the duo’s exploration of the relationship between sound, image, and landscape manifest in the large-format photographic prints and sound installations featured in the exhibition?

Jacek Doroszenko: We experiment with different methods and technologies, both traditional and digital. The visible and audible spheres of the exhibition interact in many ways. The photographic images arise from previously recorded sounds and are their visual representation. We seek to draw attention to the need to restore the sense of hearing to its proper rank in a culture dominated by the visual. We are interested in a holistic experience of reality, including the natural landscape, which is impossible without the acoustic factor. We try to create a subtle and thought-provoking character in our exhibitions. We arrange the space with attention to detail. Through our style of arrangement, the works can evoke positive associations. However, underneath the layer of aestheticization of form lies a present and profound problem. We like to use visually appealing images to create a different, less positive message.

Installation View: Overlooked Horizons. Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko at Pragovka Gallery, Prague, 2023, Photo: Marcel Rozhoň.

Fakewhale: How does the use of technology in creating video works, graphic, and photographic installations influence the duo’s interpretation of natural landscapes in “Overlooked Horizons”?

Ewa Doroszenko: We are embedded in a particular culture, so beyond purely biological conditions, our actions are determined by the influence of the environment, including culture. The Western tradition of landscape painting, the evolution of the photographic medium and contemporary technologies determine how we perceive the world around us. As reality is increasingly questioned by the virtual world and technologies evolve rapidly, our exhibitions are also becoming more engaging and intermedia. New tools allow us even greater creative freedom, offering completely new creative possibilities, including the ability to combine opposing elements. We tell stories about a mediated reality that we experience through a digital prism.

Fakewhale: How do you see your work having changed compared to the beginning? Where is your practice going in terms of artistic evolution?

Jacek Doroszenko: We are both professionally trained visual artists. We studied painting – Ewa received her doctorate in fine arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, and I completed my MFA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Over time, in addition to painting, we have expanded the scope of our artistic activities to include other media: photography, video, internet activities, and sound. Despite our rather traditional education, we deal with a spectrum of contemporary media. In my case, the basis of my artistic activities is the widely understood sound environment. Ewa’s work is dominated by an exploration of the structure and meaning of the photographic medium. Regardless of the chosen tools, our artistic interests have been oscillating around the relationship between man and technology. In the coming years, we intend to continue exploring themes related to the impact of technological phenomena on humans and the environment in which they function.

Installation View: Overlooked Horizons. Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko at Pragovka Gallery, Prague, 2023, Photo: Marcel Rozhoň.

Fakewhale: Can you discuss the influence of specific locations from their international Artist-in-Residence programs, such as Kunstnarhuset Messen Ålvik or AAVC Hangar Barcelona, on the artworks in “Overlooked Horizons”?

Jacek Doroszenko: We started our collaborative, audio-visual work in 2014 during an artist residency in Barcelona. Inspired by our soundscape research, we decided to document and process the ephemeral landscape of Barcelona. At the website https://soundreaming.org you can find a selection of archive of the sound and image compositions we created, which have largely set the stage for future work. At Pragovka Gallery, we are exhibiting the video “The same horizon repeated at every moment of the walk”. The video is based on the phenomenon of pitch, a perceptual property that allows tones to be ordered. Thus, the positioning of the figure in the landscape influenced pitch changes on a frequency-based scale. The composition consists of four static shots in which the moving figure determines the pitch on the scale of each frame, from higher to lower. The construction of the film is based on using the urban landscape of Barcelona as a space for musical notation. The urban landscape became the environment for a unique score of a piece performed at the same time by a set of virtual instruments.

Ewa Doroszenko: In Norway, as part of the Artist-in-Residence program at Kunstnarhuset Messen Ålvik, we have prepared a lot of audio-visual works. At Pragovka Gallery I show photographic installations in which I used fragments of recorded Norwegian landscapes. Large format rolls full of collage images are placed throughout the gallery space. In the thicket of various landscapes (lakes, seas, mountains, and forests), you can find majestic and raw views of Norway. The experimental form, distorted landscape motifs, and layering of images highlight the possibilities and problems of contemporary photography.

Installation View: Overlooked Horizons. Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko at Pragovka Gallery, Prague, 2023, Photo: Marcel Rozhoň.

Fakewhale: How do the works in “Overlooked Horizons” compare to the duo’s earlier exhibitions, in terms of thematic exploration and artistic techniques?

Jacek Doroszenko: Our previous exhibitions have also resulted from a fascination with the relationship between sound, space and visuality. Acoustic phenomena have provided the basis for visual activities, but in the case of each show, the exhibition space is significant and determines how the works are composed. During our exhibition “Metascore of new gestures” at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum in 2022, we presented sound installations, video works and a series of graphic prints on paper. However, the specific architecture of the building in which the museum is located affected the perception of our works, both visually and acoustically. The interior, which was curved in a circular shape, allowed for the placement of several sound works while keeping them somewhat separate from each other, allowing the viewer to move from one sound experience to another as they explored the exhibition. The arrangement of the exhibition accentuated the austerity, openwork, and claustrophobic nature of the museum space. A completely different character was set by the gallery space of the Polnisches Institut Düsseldorf, where we showed the exhibition “Parallele Schwingungen” in early 2023. In the historic, bright interiors of the building in which the Institute is located, we measured the reverb and echo levels of the space to adjust the appropriate level of sound emissions. Among other things, we installed a two-channel sound installation there, and thanks to the measurement we were able to reduce the lower frequencies to improve the resonance of the sound generated by the space itself.

Ewa Doroszenko: In my opinion, our previous exhibitions were more raw and closer to conceptual art. The “Unstable Oscillations” exhibition at the Witold Lutosławski National Forum of Music in Wroclaw (2023) and the “Acoustic Gestures” exhibition at BWA Bydgoszcz (2023) are good examples of such an approach. Those exhibitions can be set closer to the tradition of the avant-garde of the 1960s/70s, i.e. at a time when art began to break out of its framework more than ever. The works shown during the exhibitions were more abstract and graphic. Using clear, black, and white structures, we tried to capture the shifting sound in time and space, capturing it in a static form.

Installation View: Overlooked Horizons. Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko at Pragovka Gallery, Prague, 2023, Photo: Marcel Rozhoň.

Fakewhale: How do you reinterpret the concept of “genius loci” in a contemporary context through their exhibition?

Ewa Doroszenko: According to Roman mythology, “genius loci” is a nurturing force, something that makes a particular space unique. When we travel, we search for elements of the landscape that best reflect its atmosphere. Just as, at the end of the 18th century, people travelled in search of “genius loci”, places, sights and moods that transported them to another time and allowed them to distance themselves from everyday life, we undertake “acoustic journeys”, during which we focus on aural exploration of places and regions, discovering spaces with unique acoustic qualities. Furthermore, we concentrate on the positive effects of soundscapes on human psychological well-being. As residents of Warsaw who regularly experience urban “noise pollution”, we are aware of the need to popularise “soundscape ecology” – the science of acoustic relationships between living organisms, human and otherwise, and their environment. Referring to the healing function of the landscape, we create works – videos, sound installations and musical pieces – that subtly reveal the inextricable relationship between humans and the surrounding nature. Following this theme, we research natural landscapes based not only on the visual aspects of space but also on the more non-obvious, invisible auditory realm.

Fakewhale: If you were to identify a few contemporary artists whose work you feel closely aligned with, who would you choose?

Ewa Doroszenko: There are so many amazing contemporary artists that it’s hard for me to choose a few. Besides, what attracts me most about art is the diversity. I am fascinated by phenomena that are different from what I create myself. Frequent trips as part of Artist-in-Residence programmes have allowed me to get to know artists from different parts of the world and have opened my eyes to the formal and thematic richness of contemporary art. I am very fond of the work of Mario Santamaría, Stine Deja, Nico Krijno, Marcin Dudek, and Raphaël Barontini. But I have been most influenced by the work of artists from the avant-garde era, including the Dadaists and Futurists, especially the work of Kurt Schwitters. Schwitters was obsessed with creating an art that encompassed all forms of artistic expression and this idea is very close to my heart.

Jacek Doroszenko: That’s a difficult question. There are many artists whose work I appreciate, especially in the context of artistic exploration. In my case, it is mainly artists who create musical works that are my main inspiration and among them, I could mention composers such as Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis and Gérard Grisey, as well as contemporary artists who, like us, work at the intersection of different media and are deeply aware of the technological aspects of their art material, such as Carsten Nicolai, Taylor Deupree or Kali Malone. Because I play the piano myself, I am also close to the piano scene, where I greatly appreciate performances by artists such as András Schiff, Víkingur Ólafsson and Murray Perahia.

Installation View: Overlooked Horizons. Ewa and Jacek Doroszenko at Pragovka Gallery, Prague, 2023, Photo: Marcel Rozhoň.

Fakewhale: How do you envision the evolution of your work and approach over the next twenty years?

Ewa Doroszenko: Twenty years ahead is a long way! Over the past few years, the core of contemporary audio-visual culture has undergone significant transformations, such as the emergence of platforms such as Instagram, the move of music publishing or cinema into the digital domain and, more recently, the almost exponential rise of the category of artificial intelligence. In the context of these developments, we are very curious to see where the attention of cultural audiences, including our own, will be directed.

Jacek Doroszenko: We will be developing several categories of our work: the use of digital information streams, video art, the evolution of the photographic medium, and sound installations that transmit distant places and react with space. What is certain: we will work together!

Ewa Doroszenko – polish intermedia artist, Doctor of Fine Arts, lives and works in Warsaw. Graduate of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, scholarship holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2019 and the City of Toruń in the field of culture in 2013 and 2011. Winner of many international competitions, including Preview – Fait Gallery Brno 2016, Debuts 2018 – doc! photo magazine, Debut 2018 – Lithuanian Photographers Association and finalist of Noorderlicht International Photo Festival 2021, Kranj Foto Fest 2021, International Festival of Photography FIF BH – Brazil 2020, Athens Digital Arts Festival 2020, GENERATE! Festival for Electronic Arts 2019, Der Greif and the World Photography Organization open call 2018, FILE Electronic Language International Festival Sao Paulo 2015, Fisheye Youth Art Biennale 2013, Grey House Foundation Competition in Krakow 2011. Participant in numerous artist residency programmes, including Re_Act contemporary art laboratory in Portugal, Atelierhaus Salzamt Linz in Austria, The Island Resignified Lefkada in Greece, Petrohradska Kolektiv Prague in the Czech Republic, Klaipeda Culture Communication Center in Lithuania, AAVC Hangar Barcelona in Spain, Kunstnarhuset Messen Ålvik in Norway. She has exhibited her works at the Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wozownia Art Gallery in Toruń, Fait Gallery in Brno, Propaganda Gallery in Warsaw, Exgirlfriend Gallery in Berlin, Witold Lutosławski National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Polish Institute in Düsseldorf, among others.

www.ewa-doroszenko.com
instagram.com/ewadoroszenko

 

Jacek Doroszenko – polish audio-visual artist, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. Scholarship holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage 2020, the City of Toruń in the field of culture in 2011 and resident at, among others, AAVC Hangar Barcelona in Spain, Kunstnarhuset Messen Ålvik in Norway, Atelierhaus Salzamt Linz in Austria, The Island Resignified Lefkada in Greece, Petrohradska Kolektiv Prague in the Czech Republic, Klaipeda Culture Communication Center in Lithuania. He has participated in The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale in Rio de Janeiro, FILE Electronic Language International Festival in Sao Paulo, Transmission Arts Festival in Athens, ISEA International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, Athens Digital Arts Festival, Future Places Festival in Porto, European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück, R>>EJECT Radicals Festival in Rotterdam, CoCart Festival in Toruń, Open-Source Art Festival in Sopot, Mediations Biennale in Warsaw, among others. He has presented his works at Propaganda Gallery in Warsaw, Exgirlfriend Gallery in Berlin, Jedna Dva Tři Gallery in Prague, Starak Family Foundation in Warsaw, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Witold Lutosławski National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Polish Institute in Düsseldorf, among others. The artist’s visual works are reflected in the field of music and sound art. His musical compositions have been released in the form of albums of international reach, including Infinite Values, Time Released Sound in the USA; Wide Grey, Eilean Records in France; Soundreaming and Bodyfulness, Audiobulb Records in the UK.

www.doroszenko.com
instagram.com/jacek.doroszenko

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