Erika interviews Viktor

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Hi Viktor, Can you explain a bit who you are? I am from Riga, Latvia and New York.

How old are you? I am 31 years old.

Can you talk a bit about your education? I attended Hunter University for my undergraduate degree, where I studied computer science before switching to media, followed by fine art. After this, I moved London to study at the Royal College of Art for my masters but ended up dropping out of the course early and moving to Berlin.

Can you describe what we are going to see at your exhibition? The exhibition is going to be an installation around an interactive two-channel computer game joined a sculptural, egg-shaped joystick that visitors touch and play with, in order to maneuver around the game-space. There is also a sound component, a short text written by my friend Monika Lipsic and a publication that acts as a set of ambiguous instructions. The instructions are written in a non-specific language - a semi-fictional collection of pictograms. So that’s what’s going to be happening there.

What do you mean by “non-specific” language? I mean that it’s not using language tied to a specific country. It uses a pictorial language, based on glyphs rather than a standard alphabet.

So I wonder why or how does a game become an artwork? Well I guess in the first place I would say why not? And secondly, it’s just another medium to explore and to work with. Just like any new medium that infiltrates mainstream cultural production, it is freshly open for speculation, exploration without necessarily being burdened by its deep history just yet. And that is pretty exciting I think.

Can you give some specific examples of a specific game that interests you? For me one of biggest inspirations outside of childhood was “Immemory” by Chris Marker. Specifically, I was very inspired by its labyrinthine exploration of a database, framed by this special computer, mouse, mouse-pad, and posters that transformed gameplay into an almost ritualistic experience. The interaction within “Immemory” is potentially endless and even overbearing, but yet doesn’t feel pointless or trivial. That was a profound experience for me, discovering this almost magical collection of hidden sounds, multiple worlds, rules and discreet logic. And it gives you as much as you give - you have to put in a little bit of work, or have some desire, to be there with it, one on one, in order to get anything from it.

What might the visitor experience in your work at this exhibition? I think the visitor will most likely experience a certain amount of confusion, frustration, visual stimulation, and hopefully some kind of excitement or curiosity.

Why do you think there will be confusion? Well because I really like these feelings and …

Why would they be in the work though? I built the game to behave in a way that is not exactly user friendly. But it’s not exactly user-unfriendly either. There is a certain futility of progress or movement - it doesn’t just open up to you - you have to open up to it and spend some time with it. Part of the game is also self-playing, so for example, cause-effect relationships can get skewed with the use of timers and random number generators.

Is there a relationship between the accompanying text and the main game? The text isn’t directly related but is rather thematically linked - it mentions navigation systems, being lost, the dérive, and ripples in time and space.

Is that to add to this intentional confusion? A little bit I suppose, but primarily it is there to create more than one totality, instead of trapping the visitor in a singular world of the game. I hope it can become part of a string that threads through the show, creating a diverse, potentially open, kind of experience for a visitor.

Ok Thank you.