Artists Spotlight: Varvara & Mar

Binoculars at MediaFacade Festival Helsinki – Helsinki (m-cult, MediaFacade Festival): 22nd – 25th Aug 2013.

The marriage between art and technology evokes fixed devices more or less temporary, interactive or not allowing to realize an immersive or innovative staging.

To make visible the invisible, the artists and creators of all horizons explore the theme of profound changes transforming our world, and which remains imperceptible. Making visible the invisible is a current resulting from major cycles of change, be it political, legal, financial, economic, social, behavioral or technological.

The Varvara (Estonian) & Mar (Spanish) duo modify their universe in a significant and irreversible way, but we do not yet have the keys to decode the possible impacts. Interactivity is at the heart of their experiences coming to life through the presence of the public.

Data Shop Installation.

The work of these artists focuses on what Eric Sadin calls “techno-power”. In “Data Shop”, the installation represents a store stand whose idea is that personal data is stored. The goal is to address the subject of the exponentially growing data market. Democracies collect public data which they then communicate to private industry. In addition, they evoke the collusion of the political regime with the techno-industrial world. To remedy this, he urges citizens to act and assert counter-powers through their critical abilities and their choice of consumption. Our data is collected, used, sold, stolen and exchanged at all times. Data Shop confronts the public with questions about the value of personal data and the value of a work of art and the relationship between them.

It seems vital to the duo to suggest ways to promote new images, new expressions, surprise is always a good way to go. Their technological panoply seems endless. They combine “traditions” to express new concepts as in their work entitled “Wishing Wall”. Varvara & Mar re-imagine how we share our most intimate desires with the world. They present a magical work, full of poetry, for adults and children. In a room, the words spoken turn into butterflies of color, according to the feeling evoked. Visitors are invited to interact with the butterflies and to discover the wishes expressed.

Binoculars in Ars Electronica, Linz – Sept – 14th Oct 2013.

Varvara & Mar use and challenge technology to explore new concepts in art. Therefore, research is an integral part of their creative practice. In addition to interactive installations, artists also have work experience in public spaces. In “Binoculars to … Binoculars from …” they defy time and space allowing each participant to travel to a different place within milliseconds, while remaining in his original place. Marc Augé said “we can do everything without moving and we move yet” takes shape under the technological art of Varvara & Mar. Indeed, they abolish the barriers.

 In the end, the duo of Estonian-Spanish artists create, construct, denounce, warn and imagine the possibilities of man. These last ones multiply, not only verbally, but also through the channels of communication. They confront the spectators to a historical transition in the history of humanity where the human dimension is lost. The experience of life offers a wide range of cards as in “WiFipedia”.

Chameleon: Materials: 142.5m RGB LED strips, fabrique, metal frame, 5 power supplies, electronics, computer (300x220x30cm) photo by Pablo Argente.

For many years, hand in hand, through art and technology, Varvara & Mar decline the reality that surrounds us. With a flag, which they could re-invent and adapt in their search “Chameleon”, they explore unknown territories where it is impossible to hide and where transparency in its most absolute form seems so close.


-Séverine Vanina

Wishing Wall part of Digital Revolution exhibition. Photo by Andrew Meredith.
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