SAVELAB IN CONVERSATION
SAVE is an artistic and scientific laboratory that explores chemical, physical knowledge in the context of artistic reflection. The space for work in the field of living, digital, technological.
O.P.Y.U.M - SAVELAB, can you start by introducing your collective and explaining what your research is?
SAVELAB - SAVE is an artistic and scientific laboratory that explores chemical, physical knowledge in the context of artistic reflection. This is a space for work in the field of living, digital, technological. The exploration of new meanings of reality. This is a platform for joint work of artists and scientists. Initially the laboratory was located in the building of Moscow State University (Faculty of Chemistry). These were the labyrinths of the chemical department's bomb shelter. A place to save people from wars and disasters. This fact created the name of SAVE laboratory. Main project authors and members: Julia Borovaya (artist), Eduard Rakhmanov (scientist, engineer, researcher). Can you present your research “Crystal" and “Crystal the mental body of menthol”? We created the Crystal project initially as a performance. At the beginning of our creative research we worked for a long time with chemistry and physics in the format of "art object". Than we realized that we wanted to get as close as possible to a person (to his body and consciousness), we wanted to create a hybrid, a communication between a person and a natural substance or natural phenomenon. And then the idea of human crystallization was born. This is how the Crystal performance appeared. Video art of this project was born later. It was created for expositions where there is no opportunity to show performance. To our surprise, the video art of the project turned out to be an independent work of art. And this work is different from the atmosphere of Crystal performance.
The project explores the following topics: behavioral matter, quantum sensitivity, the interaction of mind and living matter, micro performance, hybrid art, eco-art. We are interested in a return to the body, which is “sealed” into digital space today in our opinion. We wanted to "print out" the body, get as close to the body as possible, examining the contact of the body and substance (menthol) in the form of performative action, creating the act of crystallization of a person. It is also interesting for us to consider nature, its unknown algorithms, to consider its behavior more closely. And this close contact of a natural phenomenon of crystallization and a person (almost their merging) gives rise to new forms of feelings, hybrid feelings and new forms of life. The project reveals the theme of the hybridity of the body, human consciousness and natural matter, explores the theme of new feelings and new bodily Experience. The project explores the theme of the “living”. What can we call alive and what are its signs? The project proposes to fantasize about “natural oases”, where a human being and nature will communicate with each other on a subtle level, maybe telepathically, living a joint experience.
O - What heritage are you building upon, what are the meaningful connections you forge through your Work?
S - If we talk about the Crystal project, we are expanding the boundaries of the body and potential of the body. As an artist of the project, I am close to the ideas of Renaissance, the ideas of anthropocentrism, where a person is the beginning of being and knowledge, a person as a "microcosm". If we go further into the history of art, the ideas of Marina Abramovic are close to me. She talks about living a new experience as the only way for the soul to grow. And if we return to the context of the theme of the festival, I think that recognizing your body and expanding the boundaries (bodily, consciously, mentally) is the highest pleasure for person! “Only the physical experience can help a man to move forward in spirituality. No book can do it.” Marina Abramovic
O - By shedding light on these intangible aspects of inheritance, what does the performance serve as, encourage or leave behind your work?
S - Of course, we strive only to develop and even look a little ahead of these topics and ideas. We are interested inpredicting the future. The project explores the theme of the “living”. What can we call alive and what are its signs? The project proposes to fantasize about “natural oases”, where a human being and nature will communicate with each other on a subtle level, maybe
telepathically, living a joint experience.
O - Tell us about the human body, its intricate systems and delicate balance, how you are using it as a vessel of extraordinary experiences?
S - The study of the body in the project is the most difficult and main topic. This is a long topic, but I will touch on a few points. The most extreme point is that there is a risk to human health in the project. Menthol vapor lowers the pressure in the human body and if the performer inhales this substance, he faints. Therefore, we constantly monitor the tightness of that part of the aquarium that is related to the head of the performer. The second important point is the illusion of cold, a kind of "mind game" that the performer of the project gets into. Menthol causes a cooling effect on the body and sometimes these sensations are very strong, the performer learns not to pay attention to them, using the practice of shifting attention in the body. This feeling cannot be called clear. It's hot and cold at the same time.
The most mystical aspect of the project is to learn how to get in contact with the substance (to create a connection), that's when menthol creates the most amazing patterns on the body.