Anna Ermolaeva

jermolaewaBorn in Leningrad in 1970. Graduated from the department of art history of the University of Vienna (1998) and Peter Kogler’s new media class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2002). In 2005-11 she was a professor of media art at the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe.

“The Five-Year Plan”
The viewer of an artwork is a witness of “life as it is,” of the way life would be if there was no camera to film it, according to a definition by Dziga Vertov. “The Five-Year Plan” (dating from 1996 to the present day) presents an image that is intentionally extremely simple. In four identical monitors in the installation we see the escalators in the Elektrosila metro station in St. Petersburg. They show people going about their day. We watch them descending and ascending the escalators, as if swim­ming across the surface of the screen without beginning or end. Nothing really happens in this video here – at least nothing that would merit being documented. The point is that the monitors show footage from exactly the same place taken at intervals of 5 years – 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 – and the footage will continue into the future with the same five-year intervals. As is the case in everyday life, change is barely noticeable. It requires heightened at­tention, especially to sound – over time the announcements about the rules of behavior on the metro turn into ads. In this work Jermolaewa is closer than ever to a visual document in its most obvious sense – a witness to the “here and now.” Freed from narrative and hidden interpretations, with a minimal and almost negligible technological aspect, the “Five Year Plan” video album is the kind of source material of which one can only dream, and will enable an objective history of our time.

Iara Boubnova

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