New frontiers: creating, collecting, preserving and displaying digital based art of Russia and Eastern Europe



New frontiers: creating, collecting, preserving and displaying digital based art of Russia and Eastern Europe

Saturday, February 19, 2022

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM (CST)

CAAs Annual Conference, Chicago, February 16-19, 2022

Participants: Christiane Paul, Anna Frants, Alexandra Dementieva, Olga Shishko.  

Chair: Natalia Kolodzei

Digital, computer, internet, software, and multimedia art forms have been created for many years and have entered the mainstream art world, the Whitney Biennial included digital works as early as 2000 and the Whitney Museum’s artport, devoted to net art, was launched in 2001. The history of digital art in Russia and Eastern Europe has a complex history due to several factors including geopolitical (isolation from Western art movements) and lack of access to multidisciplinary institutions such as MIT Lab. The discussion will trace the inception of digital art in Russia, starting from mid-1990s community driven – digital interfaces to exchange visual and political information online to today’s complex hybrid works or techniques that rely on digital technology in creative and display processes, new viewers’ experiences and interactions, artificial life and intelligence. The panelists will review the historical context for inception and evolution of art institutions, festivals and art exhibition devoted to Digital Media, including CYLAND Media Art Lab, MediaArtLab Centre for Art and Culture (Moscow), MMAM. As well as the panelists will outline challenges for major Russian institutions such as Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, MMOMA, Tretyakov Gallery, Garage Digital as they launching accession of works in digital media into their art collections. The panelists will address challenges of archiving and preserving the context of digital artworks and sharing the viewers experiences across the continents.

Christiane Paul is Professor of Media Studies at The New School, and Adjunct Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation’s 2016 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art, and her recent books are A Companion to Digital Art (Blackwell-Wiley, May 2016); Digital Art (Thames and Hudson, 3rd revised edition, 2015); Context Providers–Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011; Chinese edition,2012); and New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008). At the Whitney Museum she curated exhibitions including Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art 1965 -2018 (2018), Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools (2011) and Profiling (2007), and is responsible for artport, the museum’s portal to Internet art. Other curatorial work includes The Question of Intelligence – AI and the Future of Humanity (Kellen Gallery, The New School, NYC, 2020); What Lies Beneath (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); and The Public Private (Kellen Gallery, The New School, NYC, 2013).

Olga Shishko, senior curator at the department of contemporary art, cinema and media arts in the new direction Pushkin ХХI, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. Olga Shishko graduated from the Department of History and Theory of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow. Art historian, curator, educator. Organizer of international events, festivals and exhibitions, exploring the problems of interaction between past and future, processes of innovation in the art of the 20th and 21st century. Established MediaArtLab Centre for Art and Culture together with Alexey Isaev in 2000. Curator of «Pro&Contra» International Symposium for Media Culture (Moscow, 2000, 2011, 2012), art director of MIFF Media Forum Moving Image Festival (since 2006). Author and curator of «Projections of the Avant-Garde» project («Innovation» Prize 2016). Curator of exhibitions: “Bill Viola. The journey of the soul “(2021, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts), «There is a Beginning in the End. The Secret Tintoretto Fraternity» (2019, Venice, special project of Pushkin XXI), “Man as Bird. Images of Journeys” (2017, as the Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition «La Biennale di Venezia»), «House of Impressions. Classic and Contemporary Media Art» and «House of Impressions. Wandering with a Troubadour» (2016, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts), «Mocumentary: Reality is not Enough» (2013, MMOMA), «Video Holes: I Do Not Know What It Is I Am» (2012, Manege Exhibition Hall), «Immersions: Towards the Tactile Cinema» (2012, Ekaterina Foundation), «Expanded Cinema — 1, 2, 3» (2011-2013, Garage), «Gary Hill. Spectator» (2010, GMG Gallery), «Transitland. Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe after the Fall of the Berlin Wall» (2010, MMOMA). Editor of books and collected essays: «Projections of the Avant-Garde» (Manege, ArtGuide, Moscow, 2015), «The Mythology of Media. The Experience of Historical Description of an Artist’s Biography: Alexey Isayev. (1960-2006)» (NLO, 2013), «Expanded Cinema— 1, 2, 3» (Moscow, 2011-2013), «Immersions: Towards the Tactile Cinema» (Moscow, 2012), «Anthology of Russian Media Art» (Moscow: Russian Video Art, 2001).

Anna Frants is an internationally renowned New Media artist and curator who co-founded both CYLAND Media Art Lab and the St. Petersburg Art Project. CYLAND is one of the most active New Media art nonprofit organizations, and houses the largest archive of Eastern European video art online. CYLAND collaborates with museums, galleries, universities, information resources, research facilities and other media labs, including the State Hermitage Youth Educational Center, Pro Arte (St. Petersburg), Center of Studies of Russian Art (CSAR) at Ca ‘Foscari University in Venice, ITMO University (St. Petersburg), School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen. In September 2020, CYLAND Media Art Lab has become the official representative of The Leonardo / LASER Talks in St. Petersburg, Russia. As Co-Founder of CYLAND Media Art Lab (, Frants organizes exhibitions at top art and technology institutions around the world; as a curator and artist, Frants is an important voice in the cultural dialogue surrounding experimental and new media art. Frants has served as a contributing writer to NYArts Magazine as Art and Antiques Magazines and contributed to symposiums and panels for universities, festivals. Her works are  exhibited worldwide, including Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Video Guerrilha Festival (Brazil), Manifesta 10 Biennale (St. Petersburg), Museum of Art and Design (New York), Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), Chelsea Art Museum (New York), Russian Museum (St. Petersburg), Kunstquartier Bethanien (Berlin).

Alexandra Dementieva is a multidisciplinary artist, professor at Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels, Belgium. In her installations, she uses various art forms on an equal basis: dance, music, cinema and performance. Akin to an explorer she raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means. Dementieva received the first prize for the best mono-channel video at VAD Festival (Girona, Spain). Dementieva is an author of multiple publications (including Leonardo Journal) and organized and contributed to symposiums and panel discussions (including hosting The Leonardo / LASER Talks in Brussels) for universities and festivals. Her works are exhibited worldwide, including Rubin Museum (New York), MMOMA (Moscow), MACRO Museum (Rome), the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow), Neuberger Museum of Art (USA).

Chair, moderator:

Natalia Kolodzei, an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts, is a curator and art historian specializing on the art of Russia and Eastern Europe. Ms. Kolodzei is also Executive Director of the Kolodzei Art Foundation, and, along with Tatiana Kolodzei, owner of the Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art, containing over 7,000 artworks (paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photography, kinetic and digital art) by over 300 artists from Russia and the former Soviet Union of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Since 1991, Ms. Kolodzei has curated over eighty shows in the US, Europe and Russia, including: Oleg Vassiliev: Memory Speaks (Themes and Variations), the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow and the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; Moscow-New York =Parallel Play, Concerning the Spiritual Tradition in Russian Art, From Non-Conformism to Feminisms: Russian Women Artists, and From Leningrad to St. Petersburg, Chelsea Art Museum, New York. She is an author and editor of multiple publications and organized and contributed to symposiums and panel discussions (including co-hosting The Leonardo / LASER CYLAND Talks in St. Petersburg) for universities and exhibitions worldwide. In 2010 she was a member of Culture Sub-Working Group under the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.