Q&A with Virginia Marchione
You explore and challenge the boundaries of photography as a medium, contamination of genres has a huge role in your photography. How and why did you start working with such an experimental approach to photography (and to art, in general)?
I am interested in people’s psychology. Deviations of all kinds help me to understand how the psychological machine functions and, respectively, what kind of realities are then possible. That is why I most of often refer to psychopathologies. One person who studies the latter said in one interview that in place of schizophrenia, which dominated the 20th century, came polyphony, a person with a polyphonic character; a multi-layered personality composed, similarly to splinters, of other personalities. It is fascinating to interpret this literally. Use this as a method. Though we don’t know what came first: chicken or the egg. Are you trying to develop a method or a personal trait you already have itself develops this way?! In any case, media creates a model or a metaphor of that, which we feel. Or if we were to, for example, deconstruct computer’s interface, we would see a countless number of windows. And much like the schizophrenic fills the surface in all directions into infinity by specifying everything, computer windows layer up into a virtual abyss (depth). In any case, this is how one might think about the matter. Social networks as a phenomenon is an obvious and very illustrative example of a polyphonic personality, as well as virtual reality, in which hallucinations became «legal». Currently I am interested in uncovering such parallels.
You build relations in the between, the image and what the eyes can see is not the most important thing for you although the observation is something very important for you, because it’ s something you start from: what happens, later?
Later comes obsession. A compulsive looking in through transformation. This is because I mostly work with digital images, which for me is already an illusion and I don’t know how the code works. The image I get right after the photoshoot is also machine’s interpretation. So I continue this game with a chain of interpretations. Though I don’t know if you can exactly pin-point the moment when you stop and say: «This is how it’s going to be».
Looking, I think, gives a reason to be astonished and excited. And then this path (though at times it’s just a fermentation of thoughts/feelings) leads not to a referent but rather to what touched you... though why and why you? Why such a path must be taken to get there? This is sort of a reflection on the process of transformation itself. An attempt to bring it to the surface.
The mazes you build in your art become a way to create multi level projects, where each viewer can see something different. How do you build the levels in the projects? and how long does it take to «build» an artwork for you?
First I drop various ways to realize my ideas into a «bin». The key word here is various. The main thing is to feel the foundation, the point from which the whole project is built. It might not be obvious for the viewer. And the most interesting thing is to create a picture from that point. Among other things, you are literally building a diagram or making a map. Such picture must be rough, it must have contradictions (both in meaning and aesthetics), some kind of a syncopation. Then it must go through a bunch of filters. That’s why it’s hard to pin-point an exact time. One project develops into another, and then you come back again. Though more exactly you return to an inner theme through experience, provoked by an outer one, and then you search for other ways. At times, everything happens really fast!
Which kind of process do you follow, at the moment of searching for the gap in which you find the perspective shifting?
I am interested in analyzing the virtual not as something artificial but as something potential. It does not itself exist but it is still a driving force of realization. It appears in gaps between actual lines, which you can run through with your fingers. You can’t touch it but it can be seen. I look into that, which I see, I trust the mistakes (including the technical ones that occur in the process of interpretation and realization) and provoke them. Working with gaps and voids on a surface or in a three-dimensional space is a necessity to make an art piece stand and have a potential. This is a game of sorts: to make the invisible visible, and the visible visible.
I don’t think that the work should make an impression of something completely finished. It could be not ideally balanced. That’s why I often take out some puzzle out of it or, on the contrary, mix it with an extra piece. Something has’t been realized yet but pushes to be transformed.
Anyway, the project, which I am currently working on is first and foremost about the nature of transformation. It’s working title is " Devastator. Phantom«. Phantom does not have its own substance or a connection with a particular place. It constantly looks for a new form, a new body. It transforms and renews itself. But when I realize a certain transformation, the virtual gets away and acts in separation between the past, present and future experience, provoking its further transformation. It’s like touching the infinity... it’s impossible. All that is left is phantom pain.
In an interview for Yet Magazine you declared «I am also interested in working with different kinds of distances»: what do you mean?
The moment of recognizing. When we recognize, we exhale. Solving a paradox leads either to disappointment or joy. This influences the distance of vision. The difference of situations: are you in a position of the one who is looking or is something suddenly looking at you. The intimacy of language, i.e. the way it coincides with you as a viewer, increases or decreases the distance. Work through engaging with a certain experience or, conversely, through alienation of an experience. In certain cases the relationship lines will be straight, in other cases they can be denoted with curved lines.
What are you working on, at the moment? Can you reveal us something
Recently I’ve created a dummy for the «Machine» project. Soon the video of the project will appear on my website. And I’ve already talked a little about «Phantom», a project, which currently consumes me.