Five Questions with the artist Wioleta Kaminska
We took a much-needed moment out to talk to our first workshop artist, Wioleta Kaminska. Here we chat about why and how to slow down, and how you don't have to travel far to find a sense of awe:
1. Your works can feel very meditative, very still. How conscious are you of wanting to create these moments of pause and attention?
Wioleta Kaminska: My intent is to create a space where motion and stillness reside together. To take the viewer by surprise and instigate a feeling of awe in their environment and, consequently, to give them time to indulge in a moment of contemplation and reflection.
In the course of our everyday navigation through spaces, unnecessary noise takes away our focus and affects our sense of direction, both physical and virtual. My films aim to create a space where this noise is reduced to a minimum.
2. You’ve talked previously about "a visual feast happening around us all the time". I’m just curious what you mean by that.
WK: Yes, I call it a visual feast or as Robert Irwin once put it “this visual Disneyland happening all around”.
Walking is an integral part of my work and a way of capturing, as I call it, the spirit of a place. I find it fascinating that the moment I slow down and tune into my surroundings, suddenly I start seeing/noticing “things” and their mechanism that seemed to be invisible to me before.
For example, a few weeks ago after taking a few slow walks in the same area around the same time in the late afternoon, I realized that a seemingly dull path can be a fascinating and full-of-life space. It literally comes to life at 5 pm.
3. How do you approach creating your works in the field (sometimes quite literally)? What’s your state of mind?
WK: What’s my state of mind? I won’t lie. It is usually very busy, so much to think about. It is my walks, slowing down, stopping and standing still and experiencing those moments of awe, for example seeing a great blue heron standing still, that put my mind to rest and as I like to call it, in a blissful state.
4. The workshop you’ve created could feel like a critique of technology, of how it’s forcing us to go faster, but you are using it as a device for slowing down. How do you bridge technology and the world around us?
WK: I absolutely have no intention to criticize technology. I think we live in fascinating times when technological advancement has improved the quality of our lives in many ways. I do not think technology is a problem. It is rather the way we use it and let it impact our lives.
And don’t get me wrong, I am not an exception here. I always tell my design and art students, use technology as a tool. You are in charge of it. Take advantage of it. Explore and experiment with it to tell engaging and meaningful stories, to ask questions, to start a conversation.
5. How do you think people can create moments of contemplation and reflection in their daily lives when there are so many things competing for and demanding their attention?
WK: By taking a moment. Slowing down to catch a breath or two. I know, it’s easier said than done;) Worth giving a try though.
Slow down, take a look around. There is so much to see and experience.
And I mean both our immediate landscape/nature, but also suddenly you notice other people around. Suddenly, you realize that you are not alone. We are all on our way somewhere, trying to figure it all out. Trying to figure out our way and role in this crazy, exciting, beautiful world.
Join Wioleta for her workshop on slowing down and paying attention on Saturday, February 3rd. You can register here (spaces are limited).