by Sukanya DebJun 22, 2022
COVID-19 induced isolated living has been a cause of deep emotional and psychological response for most of us. While it has impacted professional and personal life, for those requiring to step out, with no possibility of a ‘work-from-home’ situation, it has been exceptionally hard. How does one remotely interact with people, orchestrate a physical space for capturing image? Russian artist and photographer, Karman Verdi, used this condition as an opportunity to channelise his creativity to produce images in a unique format! He took contributions of images from people and then almost created a ‘performance’ act by projecting and superimposing these within his space. The project itself became personal for Verdi, allowing for an explorative experience about his own emotions. “…it was deeper than the Mariana Trench, wider than the ocean,” he says. “This project is my personal study of human nature during the global crisis,” adds Verdi.
Here is an exclusive interview with Russian artist, Karman Verdi, about his recent project titled, There are so many ghosts at my spot.
Rahul Kumar (RK): Your recent work involving online shooting to make images is very intriguing. Please tell us more about this. And why the title, There are so many ghosts at my spot?
Karman Verdi (KV): You know, when I sat in lockdown last spring, I just wanted to take pictures like I used to. It was eating me up on the inside. But when this idea came to my mind, I realised that I wanted to do something deeper and more touching. I wanted to tell a story about each of us. In this format, it seems to me that the projection does not look like just an image on a surface, no? I saw the projections of people, like ghosts, phantoms, who decided to stay with me for a while and I could not refuse them. The name of the project came by itself.
RK: You have said that you are not merely deriving projection of images, rather investigating the idea of communicating and interacting without embellishments. Please elaborate this intent through your work.
KV: Some people thought that I just asked to send me a photo from this or that angle, and then, I just broadcast it through the projector. In fact, I was doing a real performance online. Communication via skype or zoom is familiar to every person, but in this case, it acquired a new meaning, it was deeper than the Mariana Trench, wider than the ocean. I felt that something special was happening here and now, albeit with the use of familiar instruments. This project is my personal study of human nature during the global crisis.
RK: You often use intimate images of individuals, in a private environment. What is the intended experience for your viewers?
KV: What is dance for you? This movement, this emotion, this human feeling, this body…what is a person for you? These are memories, this is pure sadness and joy, this is his sense of taste. I photograph people in the locations where they live. People shape their comfort space with things that reflect their tastes. The person in my photographs is a dancer, but in static. He tells his intimate story through body language. To read it, you need to pay attention to the details in the environment and the position of the body itself. I am not trying to convey information in a simple way. My audience is people who know how to reflect. And so be it in the future.
RK: In continuation, in your recent series, you have placed yourself with others in your images. Is the work autobiographical in nature?
KV: When I created this project, I wanted some interaction between me and my ghosts. We had to become something one in this space. Of course, there is also my story, just like any writer puts a grain of truth in fiction, so I wanted to put my feelings and emotions between the lines.
RK: Lastly, while there is definite layer of emotion that gets communicated through your art, is the dystopic feel intentional?
KV: At that moment, when I created this visual, I felt the earth sinking from under my feet. I haven't left the apartment for the second month. Everyone was talking only about a pandemic. I understood that this was not the end of the world, but I felt that these changes would leave a deep scar. My world has shrunk to a small apartment of several rooms. Day changed to night and I didn't even know what date and day of the week it was. You know, nothing has changed. I can leave the house, yes, I can see my friends and family, but I still watch how the disease takes lives, how much pain is around, how the world is burning with invisible fire. We will all have to come up with new rules of the game, and I believe that people from the creative field are best at this. We will all get through this critical moment and build a better world.