September 17–27, 2021
TQ9 6EL, UK
Elena Gubanova & Ivan Govorkov
Wouter Van Veldhoven
Anna Frants, CYLAND MediaArtLab
Natasha Rivett-Carnac, Dartington Trust
Victoria Ilyushkina, CYLAND Video Archive
‘CYFEST-14: Ferment’ took place from 17th to 27th September, and CYFEST-14: Ferment examined the theme of fermentation through the dual lenses of art and ecology. Through art installations, workshops and talks, we explored the metamorphoses that fermentation represents.
CYFEST-14 was a collaborating with Dartington Trust, a centre for learning, arts, ecology and social justice based on a 1,200 acre site near Totnes, in Devon, and the experimental art installations were dotted around the estate for the full ten days of the festival. Audiences were also able to participate in fermentation talks and workshops, watch films and enjoy food, music and lively discussions.
Fermentation in the conventional sense is a technological process in food industry. However, if we give it some thought, practically everything that happens over time to animate, inanimate and even strictly material objects falls under this definition. Wine undergoes a long process of change of state from ripe grapes to beverages of various degree of sweetness and strength. Human relationships also get ‘fermented’ over the years, acquiring various degrees of intensity and transforming from young and raw to mellowed and mature.
The world culinary art is abundant with recipes based on fermentation processes: pickled vegetables and mushrooms, beer, salted fish in the north and air-dried meat and fruit, fish sauce of Greek cuisine in the south.
Cosmetologists of the entire world have long been trying to stop or at least slow down the ‘fermentation’ process of human beauty.
But the process of all these metamorphoses is quite a lot of fun, it is often picturesque, it even has an interesting sound to it, and it has inspired quite a few artists all over the world. Authors of the works showcased at the festival CYFEST-14: Ferment call to each other with changes to things live and dead, color and smell, sounds and impressions.
— Anna Frants, Artist, Curator, CYLAND MediaArtLab
Arts & Ecology Residency
In January 2022, the MA in Arts and Ecology will begin at Dartington Arts School. As a space for dialogue and exploration, we are establishing a residency alongside the academic programme. We are inviting applications for a three-week residency at Dartington, starting on 6 September and leading up to the CYFEST 14: Ferment festival. Find out more>
Dartington Trust is a centre for learning, arts, ecology and social justice based on a 1,200 acre site near Totnes, in Devon. Throughout our history we have drawn leading artists and thinkers including Bernard Leach, composer Igor Stravinsky, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, musician Ravi Shankar, playwright Bernard Shaw and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.
— a social-enterprise hub for like-minded organisations and charities
— a place for nature with range of conservation, agroforestry and sustainable food-growing projects.
— a creative community with a year-round programme of art and craft short courses, theatre, music and dance events as well as a wide selection of films at the independent Barn Cinema.
We are also an award-winning destination with woodland walks, riverside trails, cafés, and restaurants and family-friendly activities.”
Vasily Bakanov, Alexander Bochkov, Alexey Grachev, Oleg Malenok, Andrew Strokov (Russia)
BPM — Blobs Per Minute
sound installation, 2021
BPM — Beats Per Minute — is one of the principal notions in modern music signifying rhythm and speed of the track in quarter beats. This parameter allows us to understand how fast the music is.
BPM — Blobs Per Minute — is the principal parameter in beer brewing. It indicates the quantity of blobs per time unit, thus designating the process’ intensity. The blobs signal whether the process is underway, stopped or has never started.
In this work, the artists continue the idea of studying random triggers of the environment and observing processes with the help of sound. Much like the barcode-reading devices at a cash register are tuned to different frequencies, here a different beer creates a different sound and intensity, which, on the one hand, creates an understanding as to what beer is in what state, and, on the other hand, it is a trigger for the external analog frequency synthesizer or drum module.
Vasilii Bakanov (Russia)
intermedia installation, 2020
Three fruits are contained inside a white cube. In artificially created and regularly maintained conditions, the fruits pass through three chemical reactions — caramelization, the Maillard reaction and the enzymatic browning. Usually, these processes take place within minutes in cooking. Here they are intentionally prolonged in time. Inside the brightly lit thermally insulated box, constant humidity and a temperature of 60°С are maintained, thus killing bacteria which cause decay. In the ideal and constantly controlled conditions, the fruits preserve their form, and burn up inside from day to day.
The process is shown in real-time on YouTube. The picture looks static. At first and second glance, nothing is changing. The slowly burning still life is online all the time and displayed for public view, but the essence of the process remains hidden. The main activity takes place at the molecular level. Its tangible manifestation is a monotonous soundtrack performed by the fruits themselves. Information about the external appearance of each fruit is converted into an RGB parameter, which is then transformed into an audio track.
It is an open question as to whether everything will go according to plan, and the process will end in the way it was intended to. Every effort has been made to achieve this — all we can do is to wait and see what will happen next. (Text: Lydia Griaznova)
Alexandra Dementieva (Russia–Belgium)
Source of Energy
Symbiosis Light sculpture with living entity, 2021
Kombucha SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is an incredible creature. There are many different myths and legends about this. Even one concerns his extraterrestrial origin. Kombucha is also unique in that it cannot be accurately attributed to any biological kingdom, the bacteria present in it work with the body of the fungus in tandem only at the initial stage. Over time, they spliced their genome with the genome of the plant part, as a result of which Kombucha presumably initially functions as a symbiosis between a bacteria and a fungus, but then becomes a whole with a unique genetic structure of a fungus and bacteria.
But, back to Earth — adding the culture of kombucha in a sweet tea broth allows bacterial growth in there. Sucrose is converted, biochemically, to fructose and glucose, and these to gluconic acid and acetic acid. Glucose is one of the most common sources of energy in living organisms on the planet.
Victoria Ilyushkina (Russia)
The Process. Darnitsa Bread
audio-visual installation, 2021
(documentary filming was made in 2012)
sound by Wouter Van Veldhoven
“Darnitsa” is a unique factory for the production of bread, a monument of constructivist architecture. The round shape corresponded to its content. All production processes moved along a circular conveyor.
This plant operated during the Siege of Leningrad and saved the lives of many people. Engineer Georgy Marsakov, in the late 1920s, developed a new type of mechanized bakery following the concept of production on the principle of a circular conveyor stage. The whole process of baking bread moved in a spiral of a circular constructivist building. Flour raised to the top was kneaded into dough, then baked in ring ovens, and the finished bread was unloaded along inclined slopes into the bakery. Now the Darnitsa plant has moved to a new building due to gentrification and is fully computerized.
The installation provides an opportunity to view the old process of the unique production of black bread (documentary filming was made in 2012). The dynamics of the processes of fermentation and kneading of the dough, baking bread, the operation of the mechanisms of the circular conveyor is enhanced by the sound compositions of sampled magnetic tapes (one of the first ways to work with sound in electronic music) by the composer Wouter van Veldhoven.
Alexey Grachev, Sergey Komarov (Russia)
audio installation, 2017
for CYLAND Audio Archive
One of directions in the collaboration of Aleksey Grachev and Sergey Komarov is the study of noises of the animate and inanimate nature. In this work, the artists conduct an analysis of time-space. Using scientific instruments, they register the noise of sand that trickles in an hourglass on the magnetic tape. Then this sound is analyzed using the regenerating-computing system, accurate to a grain, and the “quanta” of time get recounted. The work is stereophonic: sound reflects time and, in effect, it is time departing from one headphone channel and arriving in the opposite one, having flown through the space-listener. This installation is simultaneously a vocalization of time and an attempt to quantize and recount it.
Elena Gubanova, Ivan Govorkov (Russia)
Light That’s Been Shed
site-specific object, 2000
In 55 BC, Roman author Lucretius, who continued ideas of the early Greek atomist philosophers, wrote in his poem “On Nature of Things” that light and warmth of the sun consist of the tiniest moving particles.
Fermentation is the transformation of one substance, image, notion, state, symbol, behaviour and such into another state, image and so forth. Our project is dedicated to the fermentation of sensations that we evoke by the transformation of an image. In this work, this is an image of “light”.
A large lampshade (much larger than an ordinary one) hangs on a tree branch in a glade. The lightbulb in the lampshade does not shine. People usually associate a lampshade as a sign of inner space, comfort and light, like a symbol of the sun in the home. We shift it into an open space and thus change the sensation of the boundaries of the space. This is the first transformation. Under the lampshade is a pyramid of fallen leaves. Here we present the metaphor of light as particles, as a fragment of substance and material. Light is materialized, and its weight, materiality and mundanity is felt. This is the second “fermentation” of sensations. Inside these leaves we install piezoelectric speakers from which the soft crackle of incandescent lamps emanates, and sound is born from decay, the “death of light”.
Anna Frants (Russia—USA)
Artists Union. Sketching English Countryside
From the series “Matter of Chance”
Collaboration effort by robots and humans working together to make watercolor paintings based on horticulture at Dartington Estate.
“Artist Union” is a reflection on the law of large numbers. Is it applicable in visual arts — to colors in painting, lines in graphics, forms in sculpture, and the image integrity
in installations? The law of large numbers is a principle that describes the completion of the same experiment many times. According to this law, the joint action of a large number of random factors leads to a result almost independent of the chance. For example, in the XVI century the length of the English foot was defined, by a royal order, as the arithmetic average length of the foot of the first 16 people leaving the church on Sunday matins. Although the law of large numbers was not yet defined, it serves as the basis for the principle of arithmetic mean used in determining the length of a foot.
Alexey Grachev, Alexander Bochkov (Russia)
Symphony for 2 Bicycles
performance, interactive sound installation, 2021
Cadence is the rotation speed of pedals by the cyclist. This parameter depends on the will and intentions of the cyclist, and the features of the bike and riding surface. In this project, cadence becomes a source of sound and rhythm. The rotation speed of the back wheel depends on the cadence and ratio of the sizes of the front chainring and rear sprocket. You can select them by using the mechanical shifters on the handlebars. The ratio of these two values is the basis of the musical composition created.
The project creates the model of a collective orchestrated action, in which the intentions and aspirations of the participant acquire sonic expression.
Alexey Grachev, Sergey Komarov (Russia)
Subjectivization of Sound
There are two technologies of sound synthesis: digital and analog. If we are to forego serial solutions for any given synthesizer, we can find an infinite number of options for creation of sound forms, from simple oscillators to complex generative algorithms. The path of the authors is the ambition to achieve a sound minimalism and a continuity of creative process during the creation of musical compositions and forms where the choice comes down to the subjective tendency of each one to a certain sounding.
The CYLAND Video Archive presents ‘Digital Fermentation’, a video art program of 9 works, from the first films by underground Saint Petersburg filmmakers of the 1990s to contemporary artists working with digital video and the transformation of various media genres: found footage, animation, installation, dance, etc. The program demonstrates experiments by artists to shift the boundaries of perceiving reality, and to examine the 'human' and 'non-human' through the use of new digital technologies.
Curated by Victoria Ilyushkina
Nestlings of the Sea
All other things equal
Vika Ilyushkina & Maya Popova
Emerging From the Swamp
The Return of the Return of the Giant Hogweed