Quarantine Guarantee, 2020
Quarantine Guarantee, 2020
This ironic and satirical video work was created during the COVID-19 quarantine period. With moving images I have the habit to work with several colleagues, and no professional actors, but during the months of isolation I was forced to reduce the cast working only with myself. The constant presence of my figure is also a mirror of alienation, paranoia and fragilities that are typical of this moment of crisis, in which we are bombarded by fake or uncertain news and we don’t feel safe with anybody, ourselves included, because of a permanent feeling of guiltiness about how we act.
In our view, talking about perennial topicality means talking about our perception of time, history, and human interactions. As we considered this project a collective debate, we’d like to hear more about your ideas as well. What is your perception of perennial topicality? And which element of this idea do you think that the artwork that you presented wants to portray?
I believe that perennial topicality is most heavily connected to human relationships since it is from them that ‘topicality’ as a concept is born. It then evolves into a state which we dub ‘perennial’ depending on the duration of their relevance throughout our lives and generations. In a way, I associate it with a ‘cliché’ which is one of the inspirations for my work. Though cliché as a word had a negative tone, it just means that it can bear endless repetition. Which is also what humanity experienced in 2020, where every day, while locked inside, seemed indistinguishable from the previous and your surroundings, including yourself, became a cliché.
We are all the sum of our experiences, which shape our personality and perception. How did your personal history affect the creation of your artworks and in what way did you bring it into your project?
Quarantine Guarantee is in this sense was an experiment for me, it is a translation of my genuine experience during the lockdown, though in some parts slightly exaggerated. On a certain level, I wanted this work to have relatability, having said that, of course, it wouldn’t directly recall each person’s experience, but if it had been fabricated, it would have no relatability at all.
Due to the centrality of technology as well as the redefinition of our personal space, in these pandemic times the intimacy and the lack of it are now not only lived but conceived differently. How would you describe your perception of intimacy, relationships, and connection today?
In terms of connectivity, the pandemic has created a phenomenon that, I believe, hasn’t occurred in quite a while. The whole of humanity was united with one enemy, we all shared the same experience and, thanks to technology, we were able to see this unity. However, in my opinion, the more humans became unified on a global level, the harder it became to keep personal links and relationships intact.
What do you expect from the audience’s experience after viewing your work in this digital environment? How do you think that our endless consumption of digital contents is affecting the production and the fruition of artworks? Do you think the virtual exhibition experience will continue to be a possible tool for presenting your research?
This work was initially created to be viewed digitally. The format was inspired by YouTube content, popular films, and television, which was what we turned to in the trying times of the pandemic. In the rest of my work, I strive to combine digital and traditional mediums, so I believe that for many artists, including myself there’s a promising expansion of opportunities in terms of production. Virtual exhibitions are definitely the best way of outsourcing ones’ work and reaching a new audience, so I will undoubtedly continue to do so.
Alexandra Konopleva (born 1998, St.Petersburg, Russia) lives and works in Florence. She has been studying fine art for eight years in St.Petersburg until moving to Dublin, Ireland, in 2014 where she won a number of local art competitions such as The Irish National Drawing Contest. In 2017 she graduated St.Columba’s college in Dublin and for the next year attended the Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design in Saint Petersburg. While studying back in St. Petersburg Konopleva realized that at that point she had been studying fine art for twelve years in total and has become familiar with the academic practice and decided to study new media to understand how the contemporary the art world’s ecosystem functions, so in 2018 began attending the Multimedia Arts course in Istituto Marangoni in Florence, Italy.