This Audio Visual Installation Was A Triumph At Save Festival

Festivals allow people to let go, to be free, to explore and enjoy and envelope themselves in sounds, sights and senses. Which is why Save Festival, which takes place annually in Moscow, seems the ideal match for Ilan Katin’s audio visual installation: COUNTER.REPETITION.II.

Ilan, an artist and musical collaborator, was approached by the curator of the Russian festival for an art installation. Together they decided that a second version of his original piece, COUNTER.REPETITION, would work well inside the huge industrial building where Save takes place, as well as give Ilan the opportunity to rework and improve the original.

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The installation was a hit – ‘as soon as the piece was active, people started posing in and around it, taking selfies”. People replicated the piece with their own projections, drawn to different angles or spaces, some lingering around the outside and others heading straight for the center. The plethora of different reactions fit with the name of the piece, repeated over-and-over, each experience countering the next as the installation, and the festival, evolved.

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We spoke to the, very witty, creator himself about his process and his other installations.

The Plus: How did the project come about and what was the brief?
Ilan Katin:
For the festival in Moscow the curator said ‘I like your work. I like COUNTER.REPETITION. What do you want to do?’ I wanted to do another version of COUNTER.REPETITION to improve upon the original.

TP: What was the creative process for the installation and how long did it take you to create?
IK:
I got the idea of using multiple transparent screens from a club in Geneva called LeZoo, as well as by an installation of a colleague by the name of Yannick Jacquet. The difference was that I wanted the focal point of the sculpture to rely upon the cone shape of the projection so that the materials became self evident. Through the repetition of the forms I am acknowledging for myself and the audience “here are the different sizes of the projector beam as it appears through space”. By having two projectors point at each other I am able to have the resulting form float in space and also create some variance by creating visual counter points between the two. I like to think that the two projectors are talking or dancing with each other. In terms how I conjure up the graphics and the sound, the process is largely based on intuition. I don’t tend to keep track of time in this process. I am in another world.

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TP: You were also part of a Tagtool performance at Save Festival – what was this and what was your role?
IK:
The curator asked me “since you will already be here would you like to do a visual performance?”. These are always great situations because then I can choose what I want to do. In this case I was highly motivated to do a live painting session with the iPad. I love being able to express myself with music through painting, and Tagtool is pretty much the only software specifically designed for doing this in a way that is meaningful to me.

For the music I had a particular artist in mind that was brought to my attention through a friend a few years ago. Phalf mixes are completely entrancing to me. We already had some communication going on three years ago so I was really thrilled to have the opportunity to meet and perform with him.

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TP: How does COUNTER.REPETITION differ from COUNTER.REPETITION 2?
IK:
With the first version my time was somewhat constrained. My experience with audio was very limited and I relied a lot on audio samples. With CR2 I was able to control the audio more precisely using electronic instruments to match what was in my imagination. I did end up using some samples, but these felt like they had a more specific role to play. For me CR2 is a more cohesive expression of what I set out to do.

TP: What three words would you use to sum up the installation?
IK:
This is impossible.

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TP: Tell us about yourself – what is your background?
IK:
In the background is a U.S. suburb, a mountainous desert in the middle east next to the Dead Sea, resolving in a somewhat extended stay in New York City. There I studied painting and then switched to computers because paintings took too long to dry.

TP: What’s next for you?
IK:
These days waiting for things to dry is becoming very appealing to me.