Sedition's Community Manager, Vladislav Alimpiev, had the pleasure of interviewing Dmitry Zakharov ahead of his first launch on Sedition. Learn about his journey, inspiration, and more from this discussion.
Q: Could you provide an introduction to yourself and your artistic approach?
A: I'm Dmitry Zakharov, an artist focused on new media and sound art, with Cologne and Berlin as my bases. I endeavor to translate complex notions such as life, death, time, and space into accessible formats using advanced media technologies. I deeply engage with the fundamental aspects of human existence and strive to establish a dialogue between our digital constructs, innovative technologies, and primal themes. As such, I transform these abstract concepts into more tangible experiences.
My artistic journey traces back to my family, who all maintain a foothold in the creative sector. As a child, I was exposed to an array of artistic disciplines, which encouraged me to forge my own path. I spent many years immersing myself in violin playing and received a classical music education. My extensive engagement with music — both as a solo performer and part of orchestras and ensembles — nurtured my artistic development.
Upon turning 16, I became intrigued by video art, prompting me to experiment with short film-like projects. I quickly developed a fascination with visualizing sound and music videos, which led to several years of working as a VJ in clubs and concerts, where I mixed various film and animation techniques into live visuals. Over time, my interest gravitated toward 3D animation and emerging technologies. Leveraging my industry expertise and network, I transitioned into a professional artist role right after finishing my traditional education.
Over the past 18 years, I have assumed the roles of an artist, designer, and art director, working on an extensive range of projects. These include commercial assignments for renowned brands such as Apple, BMW, Samsung, and Warner Music, among others. Concurrently, I uphold my passion for personal creative pursuits, which range from experimental short films to immersive experiences and media art installations.
Q: Could you shed some light on your series launching on Sedition, For All We Know, We Know Nothing? What concepts were you aiming to explore with this work?
A: For All We Know, We Know Nothing is an animation series that blends cryptic notions of transcending time, silence, meditation, and cutting-edge technologies. It delves deep into our imagination's unexplored crevices, challenging our reality's accepted fabric.
Using AI, I've endeavored to shape dynamic and reflective imagery, which despite being purely machine-generated, exudes a sense of vitality and convincing authenticity. By juxtaposing the physical world with our digital construct, I aim to foster an emotional dialogue at the intersection of these realms—a dialogue I hope profoundly resonates with the viewers.
This series aspires to produce emotionally evocative animations that go beyond our mundane experiences while preserving a profound connection to our familiar visual world. It serves as a poignant reminder that our understanding of the world is simultaneously extensive and restricted. By challenging our preconceptions and welcoming the enigmatic mysteries beyond our grasp, it invites us to step into the unknown.
The series' title draws inspiration from Terence McKenna, a celebrated American ethnobotanist, mystic, and author revered for his investigation into the transformative potential of psychedelic plants on human consciousness, culture, and spirituality. McKenna championed their responsible use and theorized their role in shaping human history and the future.
Q: The series adopts a truly beautiful yet intriguing and slightly elusive aesthetic, with objects and even body parts seamlessly morphing and transforming. Could you provide further insight into this?
A: I have spent a significant period exploring the nuanced nature of bodies and body parts as emotional anchors in my art. The enchanting imagery of the human physique and other living beings and biological structures consistently fascinates me. My art aims to encapsulate the transformative process that involves not only us but also our entire surroundings.
As it repeatedly materializes and vanishes from biological matter and structures, the human body strives to encapsulate the present moment—the "here and now." It serves as a vessel for capturing the essence of being fully present within oneself, fostering a profound connection to the immediate reality. The hands and body parts in my project aim to seize time in a unique way, yet in the next moment, everything reverts to a different state of existence.
Q: Are there recurring themes in your work? How has your practice evolved over time?
A: In my quest to establish an overarching theme for my art, I coined a description that deeply resonates: "I endeavor to make the invisible visible." This phrase aptly captures the unifying thread present in all my creations. The transformation of matter into different states of being, including themes of life, death, and metamorphosis, remains a consistent focus in my artistic expression. I strive to demystify the enigmatic and make the elusive aspects of existence visually and audibly tangible.
I view these themes as a solid foundation that will continue to guide my artistic journey, while the techniques I utilize will naturally evolve and transform. As I traverse through different mediums and styles, the core essence of revealing the unseen will persist, pushing me to unravel the mysteries that lurk beneath the surface.
Q: How do you perceive the future of art in the digital realm? What are your thoughts on technologies like NFTs and AI and their influence on art?
A: Forming a definitive opinion on this topic is challenging for me. I welcome technological advancements that democratize the art market, enabling more artists to profit from their work and ultimately promoting diversity in the art world. However, I also observe specific trends that excessively produce NFTs, disregarding quality and substance. This results in an overabundance of art devoid of meaning, turning into mere commodities and tarnishing digital art's reputation in the long run.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a remarkable technology with the potential to reshape our lives in ways we cannot fully grasp yet. The speed at which diverse applications of AI are being developed makes it hard to keep up. Every day brings something new and innovative. I believe that AI can be a valuable tool in realms like art, science, and social issues. The critical aspect lies in our collective choice as a society—to determine how to utilize this technology in a manner that benefits each individual and contributes to the greater whole.
Broadly, my interest lies in art that goes beyond mere aesthetics. I am drawn to works that engage with conceptual ideas or address relevant topics, capable of effecting change in the world. AI can be a powerful ally in this endeavor, assisting us in our pursuits.
Q: What's next for you? Are there any exciting projects or exhibitions you’d like to share?
A: Currently, I'm engaged in several art projects that do not have specific completion deadlines.
I'm venturing into various fields, from animation films to AI and installations. Additionally, I'm also pursuing music and sound projects.