Maria Piskunova (b. 1995, Orsk)
I am studying Animation at the NRC HSE Art and Design School and make animation films. My interests include teaching, especially creative disciplines, and formats of interaction with the audience. In 2019, I participated in Art Experiment at Garage as a moderator.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The most memorable episode was a dialogue with a girl at Ladder Café. We discussed what kind of a background an artist should have: what is more important, immersion into the artistic context—or unique life experience and knowledge of other life spheres? We didn’t find a universal solution, of course, but talked about different combinations of knowledge and experience, recalling real-life examples.

Approaching Ladder Café, some visitors asked about the price of the cups: they wanted to purchase them ))). I took this episode to note, in order to develop this idea with other exhibition guests. What can a visitor expect from an exhibition: entertainment, material acquisitions, spiritual enrichment?.. What, in turn, does the museum have on offer and what kind of approaches does it approve?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The exhibition was full of people. I think I was constantly distracted and that’s why there were no exciting conversations on that day. I only remember a dialogue with a woman who said she used to sew clothes for dolls as a child, and that there even was a fur coat and skiwear in the wardrobe she created. We talked about it while making dolls in Linda Vigdorčika’s installation Translation Wardrobe.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

That day’s visitors shared at least two striking interpretations of Karoline H. Larsen’s project. The first was: the bundle of ribbons in the center of the space stands for the center of Moscow which pulls ribbons together from periphery, like automobile roads on a high-traffic morning. The second: the installation with ribbons is a metaphor, or visualization of the relationships between people; a single ribbon means a person; they interweave, intersect and disperse, just as in human life.

During a discussion about the engagement of audiences in the museum’s life one guy remarked wittily that the highest level of involvement would have been the need to wash the mug after oneself following a conversation in the Ladder Café installation.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

I had a wonderful talk with a female visitor on that day. Standing underneath Karoline’s installation, we were inventing various readings of Collective Strings, when suddenly her phone rang. But she explained immediately that it was an alarm clock rather than an incoming phone call: she set alarm time on every hour aiming to practice mindfulness. This practice is designed to help people notice where they are, what they do and feel at a particular moment of time. The girl then smiled widely saying that she was so happy that the signal caught her in our hospitable show talking about art and made her adore the moment. That confession meant a lot to me, as I felt the importance of my job ))).

The same visitor shared a very beautiful interpretation of Collective Strings. The ribbons are neural networks in human brain. Inside the installations, just like inside the brain, there are plenty of fragmentary thoughts, desires, promises, many of which even don’t belong to us.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

This day was full of discoveries!

I had a lengthy and captivating conversation with a married couple. After discussing briefly the concept and meaning of the show, I went into detail about Linda’s project and asked the man and the woman to remember the games they used to play in their childhood, which fell onto the 1950s–1960s as they said. And they started recalling, enthusiastically, and explaining the rules of their long-time favorite games. As they ran out of words, they switched to illustrations!

The man took a pen and portrayed how they used to make kick scooters using bearings and boards. He also drew the game “Chizhik” (Tipcat) (see the image on the right).

CHIZHIK. Put a board on the brick, and 12 sticks on the lower end of the board. The host of the game hits the raised side of the board, so that the sticks on the opposite side fly into the air. The task of players is to catch a stick while it is in the air. It can be played as a separate game, or as an auxiliary one for choosing a host for another game.

The woman meanwhile made a drawing of a hopscotch field and explained the nuances of its rules. For example, the players have to cross the entire field jumping on one leg only and use the same leg to move the stone from one square to another. And there is just one attempt to throw the stone without touching the line. By the way, if the hopscotch field if drawn on the ground, it is easy to see when someone crosses the line, as it would simply be erased. For kids there is a rest break midway through, while “kids” means children under 5 years old.

My interlocutors interrupted each other while talking, trying to remember as many details and nuances as possible. I’m sure they were really excited to have shared that knowledge and memories of their childhood years. While I was delighted to listen and remember to pass it to someone else afterwards.

I had another interesting conversation with two female visitors. We discussed each project in detail. And it was a really captivating and mutually enriching communication. First, we talked about the possible connection of Karoline’s project with the traditions of Northern peoples, who interact with the spirits by tying ribbons to trees. We came to the conclusion that material manifestation of very different concepts can in fact be similar. And that imagination and associative thinking allow to find unexpected interpretations and meanings.

Our talk in Ladder Café was devoted to emoji. We remembered examples from life when emoticons can irritate or help. The visitor compared contemporary emoji to the Ancient Egyptian writing. So, we concluded that emoji are actually a part of culture which cannot be denied.