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Interactive Photography Installation Using Sensors

Yulia Ivanova was inspired to create an interactive photography installation using the stories of some of the most influential women in Russia as a starting point. She translated these it into an interactive experience using the Touch Board.

Yulia is a conceptual artist living and working in London, UK. Her work seeks the ‘point at infinity’ of binary thinking – the intersection of concepts presumed opposite. She is currently developing a series of projects under the umbrella of ‘Provenance’ – exploring her Russian heritage and her experiences growing up in the West. 

The exhibition ‘Russian Red’ is a series that celebrates women and shares excerpts of their stories. 2017 marks one hundred years since the revolution and equal rights for women in Russia.

Using family photos, painted portraits of notable Russian women and American red lipstick, Yulia juxtaposes western narratives against eastern realities creating a two-way connection between the past and the present.

The first time Yulia used the Touch Board to create interactive installations was last year. She was working on two separate exhibitions, both to take place during the Art Licks Festival.

One of her friends, a sound artist and live loop musician Xana recommended trying the Touch Board for her projects because it adds a great new dimension when combined with conductive paint. Yulia was impressed by the results and she discovered it as a new medium for her art. 

She found that using touch activated audio bites is the perfect medium as the audience enjoys the interactive aspect, and also being able to narrate the pieces with her own voice adds intimacy to her work. 

For the Russian Red, Yulia recorded short snippets of these women’s stories on her computer and created a panel where people could touch a square and hear the story of each woman. The Touch Board was attached to a thin wooden panel and with the use of Electric Paint and masking tape, she was able to create neat sensors. 

The installation was plugged into the mains, as the exhibition ran for 2 weeks. Yulia told us that she was really worried that keeping it plugged in for so long will be dangerous for the computer, but it was absolutely fine and worked without any issue. 

The installation focused on six fearless women – she chose 3 family members and 3 notable Russian women to show and tell snippets of their stories.

Valentina Tereshkova – was the first woman to go to space, and the only woman in the world to have gone to space alone.

Irina Hakamada – was a Russian politician who ran for president once, and to this day continues to be an active force in politics.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko – was a Soviet Army sniper.

This installation was created specifically for the Meet The Artists exhibition that ran in collaboration with Creative Debuts and was curated by Evar Hussayni.

The exhibition brought together 30 female artists who responded to the theme of ‘Culture & Society’. 

Yulia told us that her audio installation was very well received, both in terms of content and in medium. People commented that it was really intimate and engaging to touch and listen; many were mystified by how it worked – by touching the paint being able to play sounds.

She’s planning to use distance sensors in the future and see what kind of an interactive experience she can come up with. 

Images: Yulia Ivanova

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