Bazinato‘s audiovisual art
BELARUSIAN | interview | 8.05.2020
Chrysalis Mag spoke with audiovisual artist and researcher Bazinato about education, attitude to criticism, inspiration, and "Artonist" project.
– Where did you study?
– I have two diplomas. My first education was in the field of biology, I am a biologist-valeologist and a teacher of biology (BSPU named after Maxim Tank); my second diploma is from EHU in Vilnius, visual media design.
– Do you think that “classical” professional education (BSU, BSAM) is important for an artist?
– I didn’t study there, in these institutions. Judging by where I studied, it only teaches your study skills, discipline and completing assignments. I got all my skills myself — if the topic is interesting, you explore it. It all depends on the teachers and I came across funny teachers, but most of them were foreign. For example, a teacher of photography from California - we drew together, did some artwork, formed a friendly relationship with him, everything was easy.
"Source" / Festival of Artistic Practices and Critical Knowledge “Bahna”, Belarus / 2014
"About the work: Ability to find the line of understanding: where is the limit and the line of what a person may/can do. To create objects that in no way affect the environment and at the same time have a short life cycle. I came up with finding amazing places, exploring them, listening to sounds, looking at grass, insects and stones. To think about what I would like to add to this place or, conversely, do not add anything".
– And why did you choose biology and valeology?
– Because I always wanted to be a paleontologist, but paleontology wasn’t available for studying. And I’ve always liked biology, but the choice at that time was really small.
– Where did your creative path begin?
– It started with graffiti. It was vandalism — stickers, graffiti, murals in public places, street art.
"I'm Kokan" / EVAA project, Belarus, Utrina / 2013
– You call yourself an audiovisual artist and researcher, why is that?
– I worked on a lot of projects that were related — almost all the content, which is broadcasted through the media, screens and movies has pictures and sounds. Plus I do music, animation and that is sound plus visual component.
– Your most memorable work?
– "Great creature" — if we talk about common use. It began to be widely discussed and broadcasted. Every media has written about it, it has been seen by a large number of people.
I also worked on the animated film “The Rise of Silence”. It started with a performance — my mom and I performed, there was a visual series made of pictures which were animated, and then there was a movie. It was at animation festivals and won prizes.
One time I worked on a lot of magazines, collected 15-20 artists and illustrators, each made their own page. This magazine is everywhere in the world — museums, collections, from Japan to America.
"Great Creature" / Vulica Brasil, Belarus, Minsk / 2017
– What was your reaction when you learned that the "creatures" had their hands torn off?
– Normally, I stand on the fact that the work should change and not turn into a routine: "it was seen, had some effect and disappeared." This is normal. In general, it was great — I planned more phased interaction with it, more opportunities to change it. The hands were torn — new ones appeared, so there was an interaction with the environment. Sculpture, on the one hand, is static, on the other, constantly changing.
"Proximity" / Festival Slavutich 86, Ukraine, Slavutich / 2017
– Were you worried about how these works would be perceived by the public?
– No, there was no worrying. For example, the “big creature”: initially I couldn’t even imagine what the primary association would be with the vagina, I didn’t even think about it. I was asked if I did it intentionally. On the other hand, there is a mural on October street, the worrying was only when I drew and thought whether I’ll get to the right size. As for how it is perceived by the audience — no worrying, I always knew that everyone perceives it in their own way.
"The Last Fairyland" / Vulica Brasil, Belarus, Minsk / 2016
– What was the most memorable feedback from the audience?
– Actually, there were a lot of them. For example, the residence "contact" — we restored the old tradition of "Karavainitsa", no one does it anymore: two girls wear folk costumes and invite everyone to the wedding. We also changed clothes and invited everyone to our event — it was for a week and the festival was the final point. We had a conflict with the local administration. We decided to turn one of the buses into a public place, make it a laboratory, so we painted it in a rainbow. We were accused of LGBT propaganda and not allowed to the venue of the festival. There were many raids regarding my paintings without the permission of the village council chairman. Any artwork in a public place has a definite reaction, in a given place it was like this.
I’d also be painting in a public place in front of the church and a priest approached me. He stood for a very long time, looking at it all, I asked him, "What do you think?". And he said "Let it be." And left.
When I was painting the mural “The Last Magic Land”, I drew a cat, and then a man came up to me and said, “Dude, why are you drawing devils here?” It made me smile.
There is a group chat with announcements, for example, "BAZINATO is going to do this", and a user from Ukraine writes: "Wow, NATO bases in Belarus?". There are a lot of such funny stories.
"Stumps" / Belarus, Vileyshyn / 2018-2019
– Are there any negative reviews?
– Yes, and quite often. For example I had a job as part of Vulica Brazil (yearly street art festival). I drew a monkey behind bars, and a sign, "We all need to change." This work was exhibited at Yakub Kolas Square. There were a bunch of negative comments on Onliner (news website), they said things like “What a piece of shit! Who allowed these crackheads to exhibit anything in the city center”. Most of the time I don't pay attention to it - I don't want to deal with a person who is dissatisfied with something.
In Vitebsk, I painted the side of a three-story house as part of the festival "Atmosphere". There one old woman fell in love with me, she became my super fan. She is a doctor of medical sciences and looks very cool. She brought all her friends, residents of the house to show and tell about it. She still sends me pictures, congratulations, and even made the whole area adjacent to this wall a lawn, and built some bridges. There were people who responded badly, like "why draw it here, it would be better to paint my porch!". She ran up to them, grabbed and said: "It's art, you don’t understand anything." Funny woman, there should be more people like her.
We also had a painting session with schoolchildren in Maladzyechna as part of the educational course “Art as a Social Practice and the Process of Exploring the World”. Many were dissatisfied at first — if you bring something new and unusual, it causes embarrassment, shyness and dissatisfaction. There were those who defended it, entered into controversy, but I don’t participate in such discussions, usually they understand everything by themselves.
"Vertical objects rise the mood" / art-residence SPRAVA, Belarus, White Church / 2018
– What is the inspiration for you?
– Of course, it’s music. For me, the sound and atmosphere around them are important. Very often it’s a natural component: some phenomena, certain places that later become inspirations. A certain moment, smells, people interacting with each other, it's like a cocktail. It’s also the content of other artists, designers, science, and cinema.
– You often do work related to eco-topics. Why this area?
– I don’t think it’s exactly related to eco-themes. I’m a member of an environmental organization “Bahna”. Their main focus is protection of wildlife and protection of swamps. I have my own vision of how to treat nature and I’ve always been in favor of observing and waiting first, and then taking action.
But still, I can’t say that I care a lot about the environment. There are many controversial points, whether we are doing the right thing or not. I'm working on the topic of boundaries - where may you take one side or another, the impact on the environment.
"Levitation — floating in the air" / art-residence Context, Russia, Baikal / 2018
– The series of projects we saw at your lecture can be defined as forest art. What was the starting point for you to do this?
– Again: accessibility, ease of entry into the environment, its comfort, where there are no curators or directors — no one who would tell you "yes" or "no". In doing so, there is an inner opinion that allows you to do something. Plus, there are still personal moments. As a child I spent a lot of time in nature, in the woods. This environment, which doesn’t cause any rejection, is open to experimentation. Many works that I don’t always show are about such intimate tenderness and an intimate dialogue between me and forest or nature in general.
There are topics with a specific demand on environmental themes, for example “The Nature of Sound”, how one can explore sound itself: how do a human factor, an influence of sound and its ecological nature affect animals. Practitioners don’t always allow to obtain answers and scientific data through art techniques.
– Friday For Future. What do you think about this movement?
– I think it's a very cool idea — why go to school on Fridays? What would you be doing there anyway? But then questions arise: what will the children do, why to create this movement?
I think it’s a great way to express yourself, to get attention. Children, schoolchildren and many people in general come to a reality in which there are rules invented for them, which you have to integrate into your life. And these people are trying to go beyond that, break the structure, take responsibility. Overall, I have a positive attitude towards this.
"Guard of the Forest" / Residency Contact, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Novy Dvor
"Karavainitsa" / residence Contact, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Novy Dvor
– You were the curator of the festival "Contact", which took place in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Tell us about it.
– It was a large organization, with the Decembrist organization from Berlin. We came up with a residence on Lake Baikal and in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. With different locations, different topics, curators.
Why Belovezhskaya Pushcha? This is an archaic forest, quite unchanged, in the wild, with its symbols (bison) and legends. I was attracted by its mythology, place, the opportunity to work with the natural context on the border with the human environment — to see how human and nature interact, how it affects people living nearby, how they look at it. They look quite banal — "Well, that's a bison, so what?"
"Stained glass window — filling openings" / art-residence Context, Russia, Baikal / 2018
– Not so long ago you, Olga Mzhelskaya and Irina Lukashenko launched the "Artonist" project. What is this project?
– We have been involved in multicultural educational projects for a long time. We have already made three books on Belarusian art for children with games in the Belarusian language. Plus, we do workshops, tours, festivals, exhibitions. First it was mostly with children, then with teenagers and older people. It is mainly educational stories aimed at expanding the field of art consumers to attract more and more people.
At first we cooperated with "Ў Gallery", but then we moved to independent swimming in order to avoid this institutional pressure because "Gallery" has its own policy, it imposes a certain framework. And now we can do everything that interests us — meetings with artists, field residences, visits to workshops and schools. That is, more direct human contact with art and the people who create it.
"Feel my forest" / EVAA project, Belarus, Balduk / 2014
"Rise of Silence" / Film
"Synthesis experiment" / Land Art Festival, Poland / 2015
Bazinato (Bazil Stachievich) is a Belarusian Audiovisual artist and researcher. Public activist.
Works with interaction practices and perception practices. Exploring the world, its macro and micro structures, patterns and connections. He proposes to influence the environment, space and time, applying in his experiments all available art practices and scientific knowledge.
1999-2004 — Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University. Biology and Valeology (Minsk, Belarus).
2007-2011 — European Humanity University. Visual and Media Design (Vilnius, Lithuania).
Translation: Aliaksandra Jurgenson
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