Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists: Interview with Veneta Androva
Veneta Androva is a visual artist, living and working in Berlin. In her work she combines different mediums and sources such as archived, documental or computer-generated materials and pictures put together through animation in simulated environments.
In her short narrative films, she deals with social, political and economic problems. She animates her stories, which are often situated in adaptive systems such as social media, the art market, politics or poker. Sometimes she draws paintings, which she then implements in computer-generated 3D spaces. She often stages her image as an avatar/protagonist, narrator or moderator of these stories and images. Almost all her films are created in software for development of computer games and use this additional reference for the artificialness of similar social constructions through the aesthetic of the video game.
In 2019 she takes part in the first edition of BFW’s Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists with her film “AIVA”. She’s among the 11 artists chosen by the jury to take part in a group exhibition “Everything is Just Fine” in 2020.
AIVA is a young, beautiful, incredibly creative humanoid robot-artist. Constructed by men, her task is to contribute to more diversity in the world of art and show a female perspective. Taking into account the systematic inequality and treatment of women in the art sphere and the historical myth for the man-genius cultivated for centuries in the Western world, the “AIVA” project asks, in a hurtful way, the question about the woman-genius taking the form of an artificial intelligence, created by men. The film thematizes the lack of female perspective in the sphere of artificial intelligence today and the results of it – a world, in which algorithms designed to serve human needs are conceptualized in female gender. Whether it is Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Samantha or AIVA- they’re all there at our service.
We talk with Veneta Androva about the things, that inspire her, the specifics of the artistic environment and the place of women in it.
Why do you create art? What are your biggest inspirations?
Good question, but I do not have an answer. At one stage of my life, I felt the need to create art and ever since I have been living with it, despite the windmills that surround me. What inspires me is reality, especially when it takes away my words with its absurdity. Often in my work I combine incompatible elements such as poker and peace (OASIS 2018), gender and artificial intelligence (AIVA 2020), or capitalism and love (From my Desert 2019), in order to thematize elitist, dubious or completely meaningless contemporary phenomena. My films often archive the surrounding reality and combine in themselves elements of fiction, stirred with documental material.
How important is life context for artistic work?
Art is always created in a certain social, political, cultural and time context and in this sense, I do not think that life context could be separated from art, as it is in a constant relationship in it.
What challenges do female artist face?
The same as male artists, but with a serious bonus of additional challenges, with which the system shows them how “special” their role in society is. Female artists often either have to play by the rules of testosterone and ultra-capitalism, by conforming to the code of their male colleagues, who still dominate the art market and dictate the rules or are forced to develop superpowers by trying to combine professional development, family and probably motherhood, for which, however, there are no structures to make the starting position of men/women/others in the cultural sphere truly equal.
Why is art created by women important for society? And what about for artistic environment?
Women are 49.5% of the global population. Art created by women represents half of the population on the planet. In this sense, it is not only important for society and respectively for the cultural sphere, which is an inseparable part of it, but it is also unthinkable for it to be absent. However, altogether we are the descendants of a white, European and testosterone art history in which the woman practically is present only as a naked muse, model or supporting wife in the shadow of the great artist. This of course does not mean that women were not taking the role of the artist but unfortunately, history was written mainly by the other 50.5% and the visibility of these female artists was limited, as well as their access to resources and opportunities for exhibiting and realization. The need for a new reading is long overdue and I believe that we are in the early stages of a long and complex period of reordering and rethinking.
How did the Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists help you? What happened afterwards?
Firstly, the Fund helped me with financial support in the form of an artistic scholarship, which gave me an opportunity for a certain amount of time to concentrate on working on the realization of my project. Part of the scholarship consisted of an exhibition on the already realized art which gave me visibility and ensured a platform for dialogue with the public. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to present my film “AIVA” in a broader context at different international film festivals, as well as in exhibit spaces mainly in Europe. At the 33rd edition of the International Film Festival for Short Films in Dresden, the film was awarded the Golden Horseman Award in the International animated film category, as well as the Gender Diversity Award in the International Competition. The film was later presented in the CyberArts exhibition, part of the International Ars Electronica Media Art Festival in Linz, as one of the winners of the Prix Ars Electronica 2021 in the computer animation competition. These awards not only contributed to more visibility for the project, but also stimulated me as an artist for future works, their development and funding.
What advice would you give to future participants in the Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists?
Dialogue is fundamental in a democratic society. In order to have it – diversity of perspectives is essential. My advice is that anyone who self-identifies as a woman should simply apply for the Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists competition, give voice to their personal perspective and know that by doing so, regardless of the outcome, they are contributing to the dialogue and providing an impulse for development and change.
Participate in the new edition of Fund for Art Projects by Women Artists: Open Call “State of Emergency“! We invite women artists from all spheres of contemporary visual arts to propose projects for new works addressing issues and problems relevant to our society. The deadline for applications is August 15 and the maximum project funding is BGN 5000. Find out more HERE.