Frontal reality
Belarus is one of the most successful post-soviet countries in the IT sector with a powerful and developed IT infrastructure. Through digitalization, social institutions are changing, the social structure is being transformed, new social norms and behavior patterns are being developed, and the life of society and the individual is being virtualized. New social structures come into conflict with old structures.The exhibition shows the works of representatives of the media art scene in Belarus, showing how the changes are reflected in the field of media art and introduced by digitalization to the social structure. How is the concept of collectivity changing? How is the question of identity problematized? How does the role of the artist and the viewer change? What triggers and fears haunt the user of modern devices?
Dec 24 — Jan 28
2020 - 2021
I have long been interested in the question of where a new development in IT ends and media art begins and vice versa. If we put Institutional difference aside, the difference is actually very subtle. It seems to me that it is necessary for a long time to stop expanding the concept of art, and concentrate on determining what tools art has. And the main thing for me is the critical tool. What I understand about art for sure is that it remains the most powerful critical institution in modern culture.

about the Golos platform and Krama got acquainted with the activities of Cyber-partisans. I immediately decided that it is very important for the Russian viewer to know about these initiatives, because due to the lack of a developed IT ecosystem, many people often form a victim attitude towards technologies, which is dictated by the lack of an active position in relation to what is called high-tech. "This is being done somewhere in the west, and God forbid we figure out how to use it". The current protests, in my opinion, have only exposed the entire imbalance between the new idea of ​​solidarity and initiative and the outdated state structures and raised the question of changing the social structure (which digitalization offers) squarely. And in order to see these differences, I turned to the Belarusian media art. I used in the exhibition both works made this year and older works, each of them represents, I would say, one of the painful cultural points, which seems to me to be key in the question of what cultural phenomena a post-soviet person faces when facing the world proposed by digitalization.
The idea of ​​the exhibition came across when I first heard about IT-civil initiatives in Belarus and hacker organizations,
Anastasiia Bergalevitch
Anton Sarokin
Rule 1. Find a Place You Trust and Then Try Trusting It for a While,
Video-essay, 7:53 min.
One starts a computer game by getting to know the place – exploring its qualities, geography, borders and the architecture of the virtual space. While the individual is immersed in the game and navigates the virtual landscape he or she is  simultaneously static and physically belongs to a specific place. These two kinds of space – the world of the game and the real world beyond it – are connected in memory and become points of entry and transition from one place and time to another. As a grown-up, Sarokin uses a favourite game from his childhood, Prince of Persia, to travel back in time to his parents’ house. In an attempt to rewrite his childhood, the artist transforms the game by voicing it with his grown-up voice, reversing the narrative and breaking the uniformity of the visuals. Sarokin applies  his method of working with sound and assembles the video materials from  the game in order to manipulate only that part of reality which is available for rewriting and only the facets of it which can be transformed. 

Sarokin comprehends why a feeling of comfort and security is created inside the virtual world. It demonstrates the transition from a universal experience to a unique and special intimate relationship between the game interface and the player that blurs the boundaries between the external and the internal. It is important that the difference between the nostalgic space of memories and the digital space of a computer game is removed by becoming a single structure that organizes memory. 

Sarokin comprehends, due to which a feeling of comfort and security within the virtual world is created. It is important that the difference between the nostalgic space of memories and the digital space of a computer game is removed, becoming a single structure that organizes memory. Sarokin redirects a nostalgic intention, which is very important for a post-Soviet person, into an active attitude to the digital space and demonstrates the ease with which such a seemingly unchanging structure as an interface is reformatted... The interface provides interaction between a person, a machine, a program, a game, etc. Reassembling an already seemingly unchanging game with an established narrative and rules, Sarokin demonstrates a revolutionary intention, which is shown not as a destructive tendency aimed at destroying the structure, but as a desire to search for individual comfort within an already formed reality.
Anton Sarokin (born in Minsk, 1985, BSSR) is a sound artist and musician. He specializes in multimedia and digital contemporary art forms, as well as DIY music. The artist explores the themes of personal and collective memory, the political dimension of sound and silence, the connection between music and the social sphere, and the nonlinearity of time perception. He recombines the potential of found material - which includes: records from personal archives, pop culture artifacts, media trash, field recordings, memes - and collects these materials to question the meanings created by the media.
Alexander Komarov
Language Lessons,
Video-interview, 11:51 min.
Interviews with 3 musicians from Minsk: Pomidoroff, Rusia, Mikhal Anempadystau about Belarusian language in music. Russian was one language of the Belarusian modernisation from 1918 until the late 1980s. During the early years of Perestroika Belarusian became a form of resistance. In the new Law About Languages it was fixed as an official state language but already five years later the law was changed and both Belarusian and Russian have been indexed as state languages; using one or another language is often considered a statement.

In addition to the language, the country also faced the question of the country's future political development: should Belarus become part of the EU or remain in an alliance with Russia. It is known that the country's leader made a choice in favor of the latter. In turn, Belarusian intellectuals consider this choice “dramatic” and see in it the reason why the Belarusian language is not widespread even in a country with a population of 9.5 million people, of which more than 80% are “ethnic Belarusians”.

The Soviet project used language as a means of unification. That is why the issue of national identification in the post-Soviet space is directly related to the problem of language. In Belarus, passionate discussions are underway about old ideas about language as the basis of national identity and a closed and totalitarian system and more modern ideas about a construct and flexible constantly changing structure (discussions that are very timely due to the spread of the Internet and the associated project of globalization ). Language is a powerful tool for identification and socialization. In a situation where the authorities use language as an ideological tool, the invention of new ways of articulation and the study of new (or rethinking of old) linguistic possibilities become potential ways of protest. The work also raises the question of the role of language in the act of self-expression and the creative possibilities that exist within the act of speaking.

Alexander Komarov (born 1971, Grodno, BSSR) is a visual artist, director, lecturer and co-director of ABA (AIR Berlin Alexanderplatz), an art research initiative founded in 2010 in Berlin with the artist Suzanne Krimann. Lives and works in Berlin. His film essays deal with issues of migratory identity, (cultural) globalization, the state of contemporary art and its relationship to the economic situation in the world. Komarov's films were presented at various international contemporary art venues.
Aliaxey Talstou
Observing Solidarity,
Video, 2020, 16:57 min.
The work is documenting the movement of the protest rally on the bridge in the city center of Minsk. The camera is centered on the monumental high relief Solidarity, created in 1979 by Anatol Arcimovich and Anatol Jaskin. The sculpture pictures the citizens of the Soviet Union, Vietnam, China, India, Palestine, Chili, Cuba, Angola, who are marching for their rights and liberties. This work is based on a comparison of the solidarity of the now protesters of the citizens of Belarus and a monumental work of the Soviet period.

Who is an eyewitness in the conditions of free exchange of information and what political tools does he possess? Talstou uses the gesture of simple documentation as an artistic strategy that excludes the artist's personal and political interpretation of events and thus renounces idiologizing optics. The act of documentation is increasingly becoming a political and civil act. (For example, since 2012, the world-famous internet site has been launched, with the help of this website  an eyewitness can share documented events that violate civil human rights, which changes the political and legal value of the gesture of documentation). This raises questions when the optics of the observer becomes subjective and what role the artist can play in the act of simple documentation.

Talstou uses the position of the camera to build specific optics, comparing the immobilized solidarity of peoples, captured on a monumental Soviet bas-relief, and the act of solidarity of protesters during a march in Minsk. It combines with one visual row the current protests and the concept of solidarity used within the Soviet project, and thus unites them.
Aliaxey Talstou (born 1984) is an artist, writer and curator. He works with topics of social and political tension, technology and its impact on the human mind, ecological emergency, and the theme of crisis in general. His artistic practice employs a wide range of methods and media: from painting and drawing to speculative meditation and collective urban cross. He worked as a curator and artistic director of the gallery CECH in Minsk (2017) and was a co-founder and project leader at Status: Role of the Artists in Changing Society international research project (2018-2020). As a writer, his articles were published in several art magazines, and also he is an author of fiction novels. In 2016 he received a National Rada Awards prize (Belarus) for the strong civil position in art.
Andrew Maximov
AI unmasks secret police,
Video-message (youtube), 2020, 5:05 min.
We do not support extremist activities and do not advise you.

In September a video, showing the work of an artificial intelligence algorithm that removes masks from Belarusian security forces, got on YouTube. The video was presented on behalf of Cyberpartisans, a hacker organization currently operating in Belarus, breaking into the state sites and ironically rewriting them.

What triggers and fears haunt the user of modern devices? Maximov uses the tendency to demonize artificial intelligence as a manipulative technique. This manipulative technique works due to the fact that artificial intelligence is positioned in the media as a technology capable of making a person very vulnerable in front of a power, since his / her personal sphere becomes transparent before the eye of Big Brother. The fear of personal information manipulation is one of the strongest triggers of the last decade, which has exposed the issue of the importance of the privacy sphere.

Maximov, in turn, demonstrates the opposite situation, where the tools of subordination and control pass from the hands of political leaders to the hands of IT developers. As a result, the power structure itself becomes more transparent in an environment where everyone can be identified. Cyber ​​partisans, together with the NEXTA telegram channel, published an information base with all the data of police officers, which provoked a different reaction among Belarusian citizens, mainly calling for respect for the private sphere of each citizen, regardless of his role in the political struggle.
Andrew Maximov (born 1990) Artist, engineer, founder and CEO at Promethean AI, Game Industry Veteran and former Technical Art Director for Naughty Dog(Sony Interactive), Andrew pushed cutting edge pipelines that powered some of the most complex productions in the world. Develop Forbes magazine's 30 under 30, artist, programmer, consultant, entrepreneur and speaker at Computer Graphics events all across the globe. For years he has been fighting for democratizing the creative process, supporting artists and empowering creativity within every single person.