In the Search
for the New Space
Exhibition of final works of the course
"Virtual spaces"
During the pandemic society works like a multitude of springs in motion —
it compresses
and decompresses
at the same time.
While we observe the culture during social distancing as spatially distributed by default, it's not spatial at all. Sitting in different parts of the world, thinking about similar things together we are still feeling a need for a common space.
The race for this common space began during the early internet era, the home pages represented home, later social networks started to represent a public square, but this was not enough. The disconnection between spatial and networked was so deep that we started a reverted representation — we started to look at our cities through a lens of networked data.
Nowadays a new pattern emerged, the long time underdogs — social VR applications started to get attention from the users all around the globe. From the Burning Man festival to Ars Electronica, all big event businesses, locked in their bedrooms, started to become social virtual reality applications. But did this injection of people's attention and capital change anything in our perception of virtual spaces?
This exhibition consists of the 5 projects exploring the possibility of the new spatial. In each project students of the Art&Science program discuss a new way of looking at both material and immaterial things and activities, focusing on the different spatial elements - nature, dreams, social activities and the space itself.
Vadim Smakhtin
Curator, course tutor
Creative engineer, working on the edges of data, urbanism, architecture and software engineering disciplines. From 2011 till 2013 Vadim leaded an R&D lab focused on new interactive media experiences, after it he focused entirely on the digital art field, commissioned several installations to several well known global art festivals like Ars Electronica. Starting from 2015 Vadim is a leading smart city technology expert, giving talks on a matter of data driven urban environments all across the globe. He is a CTO of Habidatum — company founded by an early digital urbanism pioneers. Starting from 2018 Vadim actively pursuing his career in academics, co-founding –Da. masters program and co-creating a Digitocene artistic research movement. Currently Vadim pursuing a new frontiers in social VR architecture and communications, working on his future PhD thesis
Team: Lisa Andruschcenko, Julia Murakhtanova, Alisa Ontensone
Digital Dreams
Dreams are known for their peculiar feature of transforming one's ideas into visual images. Latent thoughts and suppressed desires acquire distinct forms within our dreams. One consistent image hides in itself allusions to our past, present and future. We invite you to experience this virtual oneiric space and to search through paths hidden from awake minds. At the beginning of your journey you will find yourselves in a bedroom which will send you to random type of dreaming experience.
PHYSDYS team: Milena Bashkatova, Dariia Purvina,Julia Kuzmina
The project illustrates the absurdity of transferring human feelings and relations into the virtual domain. Lacking the physical presence one loses understanding of its' social position within the environment. In such cases virtual methods of interaction remain at the level of video games and online chats, where personality, tactility, or voice intonation lose any importance.

In project VPISKA 2.0 authors ironize on the aesthetics of public events without regard to its' aesthetical or cultural status. By placing an event into Mozilla Hubs environment they build an illusion of being present at a real event, therefore cultivating loneliness and frustration experienced by visitors in real life. Here once again you're going to have to find your own place in a social order.

Team: Daria Loza, Dina Zotova, Nataliya Malinina
The WaterWay project presents a visualization of environmental phenomena using artistic methods. Water can be seen as a universal arche. Water has not only laid the foundation of life itself. It is also a central object of philosophical reflection.

This project uses a natural science perspective to approach analysis of water. Moving through the rooms assembled in an ecosystem a visitor can look at water molecules, learn how rain is formed, immerse himself in the structure of the water mass, or explore how water and mineral nutrients travel through the tree. Such research optics not only allows us to better understand surrounding processes, but also provides us with new motivations for philosophical reflection on the relationship between human and natural phenomena.
Team: Sophia Osbanova, Anna Kaplan, Grigoriy Kirgizov, Victoria Gopka
Our perception of space is defined by personal experience and memories associated with specific places. The subway is a scaled-down underside of the city and its underground artery. Subway maps are a tool used to create separate topological spaces consisting of lines and colors. Citizens' daily commute routes form an intersection of psychogeographical zones that undermine the conventional spatial structures in the form of maps and diagrams. However, these areas exist as separate islands, not connected with each other and limited by physical conditions.

We propose to overcome topological discreteness and combine subway maps of cities on different continents. By creating an underground "Pangaea", we combine the disparate everyday life of citizens into a single experience and turn the limiting plane of subway maps into a network of intersections of collective and individual practices and representations.

The project uses text from Ivan Chtcheglov's Formulary for a New Urbanism.
Team: Roman Knishov, Nahid Aktar, Ksenia Bahtina
Trees in Self-Isolation
According to the philosopher Benjamin H. Bratton, self-isolation may be considered a global experiment capable of exposing the geopolitical and infrastructural flaws of the modern world. By continuing to study the various ways in which we can reflect on the post-COVID world, the project's authors suggest viewing the quarantine as a unique experience that has granted nature a period of isolation from anthropogenic influence. Manufacture stoppage, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and the removal of humans from public spaces has opened up the way for new ecosystems to form.

The Trees in Self-Isolation project presents a world from which humans have been excluded. Exploring the rooms that are sheltered by tree canopies, the viewers find themselves in a space built on the principles of coexistence and harmony.
Art&Science Master's program is an interdisciplinary program for artists, curators, and researchers in the field of science art.
Lina Kipriushina
Сoordinator of Art & Science Master's program at ITMO University
Pauline Belokrenitskaya
Art&Science ITMO student
Khristina Ots
Editor, curator at Art.ITMO.Residency
Gallery and workshop
Art & Science projects