Churches and Factories

Anastasya Koshkin

Churches and Factories: Contemplating Surrounding Environments of One's Own/Constructions of Spatial Environments Within a World of Image and Sound

Anastasya Koshkin

This point of the outside, is it grace, or chance? (Deleuze 177)

Independence and autonomy of a physical, background world and the constantly shifting relations, or lack of them, between material and social being. (MacDougall 300)

...As for the empty spaces, without characters or movement, they are interiors emptied of their occupants, deserted exteriors or landscapes in nature. (Deleuze 237)

The focus of my body of work considers sound as visual artifacts in spatial environments. I am interested in places and the perception of remote places of the earth. My work strives toward a time-image capturing spatial environments as accumulations of time within fixed audiovisual durations. An audiovisual recording may be viewed to accumulate presences of spatial environments as moments of rest and escalation. As a reflection of a particular place within a duration of time, an audiovisual recording is a time-image reflecting the presence of distance within the material world that evokes meditational powers. Capturing the physical environment within time-based constraints, I am interested in the specifics of a place that is at a distance to human knowledge or perception. Within interdisciplinary art, I try to extend my practice to remote regions via environmental recording. To initiate and establish a method of contact with the natural environment via technological means, I try to capture the surrounding environment as an area dense with possibilities of contemplating space and nature.

Churches and Factories is an audiovisual installation, which includes recorded sounds of water and land. It is composed of recordings from various environments (it also integrates pre-recorded piano and euphonium performances) compiled to create a sound composition. In the project, the behavior of the sound alternates between moments of rest and escalation. Visually the composition is expressed via satellite footage recorded at the Dunlap Institute. [1] The use of a range of elements was created in the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration inspired by the poetic work “Paterson.” The poem by William Carlos Williams is suffused with an examined landscape of one's own place and nature. The title of the composition has been selected from the following passage from “Paterson” (1992):

churches and factories

(at a price)
together, summoned them from the pit

– his voice, one among many (unheard)

moving under all. (55)
The video of the moon is a visual reference toward a sensation of space. The telescopic footage evokes a perception of distance (that is both continuous and present in the night sky) before the viewer's eyes. A single channel video format shapes the image as a container of space evoking a sense of contemplation.

Documentary films inspire me. They reflect and guide my perception toward distant places and spatial environments of the earth. The presentation of remote uninhabited regions of the earth is common within notable documentarians such as Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Werner Herzog. For instance, Fata Morgana is a documentary film by Herzog. Fata Morgana presents a physical background of the Sahara dessert as a reflection of the director's gaze. The camera traverses uninhabited landscapes of the desert. Within the visual frame, landscapes of the desert remain silent thus engages the audience in an ever present and ongoing contemplative and meditation moment.

The narrators’ voice evokes a "non-diegetic" presence. Through textual speech, the narrator creates a performance of presentness, as Chion opines, "unlike theatrical speech, " in silent film, the voice is used to "act upon" the images (73, 172). The narrator’s voice emphasizes the human presence as a presence that is external to the spatial environment (as in Fata Morgana, when the narrator speaks within long durations of video footage.). The visual representation of the desert alongside the narrator’s voice yields a juxtaposition between the presence of the desert and the presence of the human voice. Within long durations of film, the visual presence of the desert and the auditory presence of the narrator's voice emerge as a constructed reality. The narrator’s voice serves as a witness, building zones of comprehension about uninhabited zones of the dessert. It is the images and the sound that evoke a performative inbetweeness, moments of solitude, presentness, a moment of pondering what it means to be human. Churches and Factories.


[1] This project was greatly enhanced by the technological expertise of Michael Williams of the Dunlap Institute.


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Anastasya Koshkin received an advanced fine arts masters degree from Brussels’ Sint Lukas University, and studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University. Her points of inspiration are folklore, and items of ancient and ethnic origin. Within her written and music work, she incorporates symbols and elements from the natural environment, philosophy, psychology, and creative writing. Her academic and artistic work is developed alongside learning about and utilizing cultural artifacts and time-based processes as points of importance. Intersection points, such as the horizons between earth and air, are of particular interest to her work, as well as the intersection points where nature and culture coalesce, within the thread work of past and present.

Anastasya works with music, language, and interdisciplinary media. Her childhood was distributed across an array of cultural borders. Born in Belarus, she lived in Israel, Canada, and the United States. She currently serves as teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Music Department, with a focus on composition and technology.

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