The city by Olesya Ilenok

Hi, citizens!
To start I would like to share with you part of my motivation letter illustrated by realized projects.

I see the city as a source of data from a research point of view and as a basis for visual and sound inspiration. For example, in «Horizon» I was impressed by the nature of Vladivostok.

More about the project: The project is an attempt to expand the horizon of the visible, where the boundaries between the microcosm and the macrocosm, natural and digital, are erased. The Sea of ​​Japan becomes digital in visual and sound terms, completely covering the visitor with waves. Visitors can have a new experience, which is impossible in ordinary life. Generative graphics and sound were based on data from the Sea of ​​Japan. The movement of the lines is displaced by sea waves movement which is captured in the video. The textures are gradually changing throughout the work. They are based on macro photography of marine inhabitants. Moreover, the movement of sea waves transformed into a sound wave generation.

I was able to get into the process of exploring the city thanks to the technique of drifting (Guy Debord). I printed myself random GPS tracks and enjoyed the situation, exploring the city body and assembling its textures using clay tiles. The process culminated in a work called «Changes in Contemplation», where you can see the prints I collected and hear what they sound like.

More about the project: «Changes in Contemplation» is a sound installation consisting of nine-sounding clay prints of Yekaterinburg. The everyday triangle «Home-Work-Supermarket» hangs over the inhabitant of the modern metropolis. Confining ourselves to a minimum number of familiar places, we begin to perceive the space around us as an optional scenery, and the movement between locations – a forced necessity. Communication with everyday reality turns into a rare hobby. The project suggests approaching the city from an active explorer’s position and appeals to the practice of a psychogeographic drift (a term introduced by Guy Debord) – a conscious admiration of the surroundings and enjoyment of randomness. Subjective data in the form of impressions of the body of the city were collected using clay blanks while drifting through Yekaterinburg. The resulting casts, intuitively bearing the flair of ancient fossils and cave paintings, recorded recognizable forms and ornaments of reality. Subsequently, they were subjected to algorithmic analysis and sonification. The texture of the clay was turned into spectrograms to play sound in the Max MSP program, which allowed the combination of traditional material and digital technology. The project does not indicate the exact location of the creation of each clay blank, which absorbed grains of reality. The coordinates are hidden behind visual, tactile, and auditory elements that, like spots in a Rorschach test, trigger a flow of associations and invite the viewer to a prolonged search that goes far beyond the exhibition space. The viewer can expand the spectrum of perception of the city by looking, touching, and listening to the exhibit.


The city as a fusion of digital technology and physical space occupies a relevant part in my research. A step for me is the project «WALL_FOR_SCROLL», where I place generated street art in the public space of Instagram stories and link it to different places in the city.

More about the project: Project Wall_for_scroll is the practice of street art in the digital layer of the city. Based on the changes in the concept of public space with the development of digital technologies, the practice intervenes in the advertising field of Instagram, preserving important ethical aspects of street art. «The Markov Chain» algorithm generated text messages based on 5,000 inscriptions from the streets of Russia. A neural network processed the final images. Each digital object is attached to a specific point on the city map, allowing the viewer to inadvertently collect the artistic messages by moving around the city. The project was held from July 6 to 12 in Vladivostok, where it gathered 124,000 views. In St. Petersburg, Wall_for_scroll was available for dating in the public space of Instagram stories from October 15 to 18 and gathered 171,000 views. The project was supported by the ART PROSPECT festival and was presented as augmented reality on the main stage of the festival at the Gaza Culture Center. All digital objects available for viewing on the project page: https://www.instagram.com/wall_for_scroll

P.S. During our residency I hope to expand my personal understanding of artistic practices in the city, have a good time with citizens, and make a project of course!
And as a process person, I have to say: the idea of the project is loading 🙂

2 thoughts on “The city by Olesya Ilenok

  1. The Changes in Contemplation project makes me realize how my sense of space has changed with the pandemic and lockdown. Not only have certain regular spaces become a kind of scenery you talk about but I began to value spaces differently. During lockdown especially I gravitated towards outdoor and not crowded spaces while before these factors meant less.

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