Thanks to Creative Industry Košice, we can continue to develop and support media art in our city. Since 2017, Košice has been part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the media art field, which gave us the opportunity to participate in the online international collaboration of digital artists. The Virtual International Collaboration project connected Košice with the American city of Austin and created an innovative educational and training program for the systematic development of artists and professionals from the creative industry who work in the field of media art.
The main theme of the challenge was change in human behavior
Artists from both cities could join the project based on the open call Austin meets Košice. The artists signed up with the intention of collaboration and presented their perception of the given topic, which was Behavioral Change for this year. From the registered participants, Mišo Hudák – artist, urban planner, and filmmaker – was chosen for Košice. Faiza Kracheni, who specializes in filmmaking (experimental and analog media techniques) and music, was selected for Austin.
On the topic of Behavioral Change, the artists explored how technology brings about and/or could bring about change in human behavior and how it affects the very notion of our understanding of norms of behavior, expectations, and actions – both in the physical and digital worlds of our daily existence.
The artists were looking for breakthroughs in their collaboration during three LAB coaching sessions
Austin meets Košice follows up the City to City project, which brought together artists not only in their joint work but also offered them three intensive training sessions – LAB coaching sessions for professional artists and creatives, facilitated by culturally sensitive experts – mentors.
During the first LAB coaching session, together with the project coordinators from the participating cities (Laura Odegaard and Alexandra Matiová), they addressed the fundamental questions of the topic, got to know each other, and presented their perception of technologies and their ability to shorten or extend distances between people.
The topic of memory became a breakthrough for them – especially the memory of people and places. This also determined the focus of the following meetings.
According to the coordinator of the project, Alexandra Matiová, this educational project approaches the education of artists in a non-traditional way and gives them the opportunity to go into the depth of the given topic.
For the next LAB coaching session, Yuliya Lanina was invited, She is a multimedia artist who, in her work existing at the intersection of visual, performing arts, and technological innovations, also deals with the themes of change and memory. During the online meeting, she showed the artists her projects, and together they led a professional discussion on the topic of the upcoming work.
Since the output of the collaboration was presented as part of the Art & Tech Days and Conference festival, the last LAB coaching session was focused on its form. The artists were accompanied by two other mentors – Eliot Fisher Gray (USA) and Nikolas Bernáth (SK). Eliot is a multimedia artist with experience in online collaboration through his work on last year’s edition of the City to City project. They talked about the technical possibilities of their work and the tools and challenges he faced during his experience. Nikolas is a gallerist and media artist who runs VUNU Gallery. Together with the artists, they searched for the possibilities of the form for their joint work called Born & Raised.
In addition to the ongoing LAB coaching sessions, the involved artists met online to work on the output of the assigned topic. They used various online platforms to share ideas, concepts, and comments. Each artist used the opportunity to consult procedures and create work with a mentor.
Nikolas Bernáth helped with mentoring focused on the form of the work, its placement in space, and technical possibilities. While creating the work, Mišo Hudák tried different approaches and tested the technique, so the obtained images corresponded with the work of Faiza Kracheni.
We could see the result of the collaboration at the City to City exhibition
The output of a two-month online media art collaboration was a work called Born & Raised. It was presented on November 22 as part of the Art & Tech Days and Conference festival during the City to City exhibition in Kasárne/Kulturpark, the Alfa Gallery.
Their work focuses on the memory of people and places and on the gaps and limitations that are now created by the growing power of technology. In their collaboration, they found common formal and content intersections. On the formal side, it is an interest in the medium of the moving image, which resulted in work on a short film/video installation. In terms of content, interest in urban themes, urbanism, and, at the same time, problems and challenges related to cities.
The viewer has the opportunity to see into the thinking of both artists and in the double parallel projection, which is mixed and combined into one whole in the gallery, to perceive their own observations of the urban environment in which they live.
Thanks to the Virtual International Collaboration project, the artist from Košice had the opportunity to learn, exchange experiences and views on topics with international experts, and thus develop his thinking. By working with mentors and experts, he gained another perspective and feedback on his work. In the project, we focused on the use of online space and its tools to support collaboration, education and creation in the specific field of digital media art and creative industry.
Mišo Hudák is an active citizen and founder of the Východné pobrežie organization. He studied design and architecture, intermedia, fine art and documentary movies. He shoots documentaries and writes books about Košice, where he also lives. His most remarkable achievement was the display of two of his works as a part of the Czechoslovak national pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012. In the last ten years, he was selected several times as one of the top social innovators in Slovakia. He is a proud father and a proud citizen of his city, where he has been cycling since he was nine years old. However, his greatest joy is raising his daughter Hana.
Faiza Kracheni is an experimental film artist, musician, and educator from East Austin. She mainly works in non-narrative analog film and experimental media creation; she explores a variety of formats and techniques, including hand-developing her own film, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting and in-camera editing. As a self-taught artist, she focuses on accessible pathways into the arts outside of academia. For over ten years, she has been touring as a musician in the USA, Canada, and Mexico with multiple bands. She built a media arts center in East Austin, founded a film festival, and taught hundreds of students experimental and analog media techniques.
The collaboration of these artists was realized within the framework of the Virtual International Collaboration project at the CCI, which was supported by the Slovak Arts Council from public sources. The Slovak Arts Council is the main partner of the project.