Wioleta Kaminska’s video landscapes address the intersections of technology and culture. As the artist notes, “Our contemporary, information-intensive environments shifts our perception of time passing and influences the way we navigate spaces, both physical and virtual. Unnecessary noise often takes away our focus and affects our ability to see. Consequently, it is easy for us to miss out on this visual feast happening all around us all the time.” The ‘visual feast’ is, in fact, an invitation to notice the unperceptible and marginal phenomena that infiltrate our visual field. An acute awareness and sensibility to the natural environment have allowed the artist to reveal how elements, light and reflections can create processual landscapes where time and space bring together the conflicting forces that shape the lands and determine our perceptions. For Kaminska, the complexities of technology and the contemplation of nature are an intersected process that reveals the nuances and mechanisms of the world itself. Observations of the daily life focus on what is distinctive yet remains unnoticed. “My goal is to recreate spaces that intrigue and encourage the viewer to slow down and indulge in a brief moment of contemplation and reflection,” says Kaminska. Throughout the series, the artist uses the Great Blue Heron as a metaphor for mindful stillness. It is a symbol for surviving, adapting and thriving in an environment that is undergoing constant change.
The first video in the series [Images 1-4 here, video included] – finalist of the International Contest of Contemporary Art in Lugano, Switzerland, 2014, and the WRO Media Art Biennale in Poland in 2015, also included in Editors’ Choice for Celeste Prize 2015 – Fog is a visual exploration around Crissy Field Center and the San Francisco Yacht Harbor, a recreational space that inspired Kaminska to reflect on her own perceptions of the environment as influenced by times of the day, changing weather conditions and her own states of mind and moods. Careful to develop the mindfulness of the surroundings, the artist has translated the interactions between birds, the environment and the man-made landscape to create her ongoing visual meditation on the intersection between nature, technology and culture. The predictability and mundane character of the scenes are observed in a balanced mirroring that reflects the silent convergence of the (culturally) divided environments.
The dark setting in When the Night Comes, the second video landscape in the series [Images 5-8 here, video included], invites the viewer to a more contemplative scene, revealing the nocturnal regime of the visual. It is the altered perception of time that Kaminska explores here in an impressionistic visual tone that bridges painting and the moving image, in a space where motion and stillness reside together. “To help the viewers tune in and adjust their eyes,” says Kaminska, “each film contains a stable or relatively stationary subject that serves as a point of reference. This way the viewer will avoid disorientation and confusion that could be possibly caused by the multiplicity of unexpected visual stimuli.” The same nocturnal regime can be found in the artist’s third video in the series, Into the Evening [Images 9-12 here, video included], this time to reflect on the notion of reality and how our minds reach meaning and how we make sense of the world we live in. Kaminska’s educational and working background in linguistics allowed her to search for a visual language that articulates meaning by way of a subtle, discrete and unstable system of visual signs the relations of which determine both the context and our manners of perception. This results in tense, overlaid settings where meaning varies depending on how the viewer reflects on the visual signs and the cultural considerations that inform our seeing.