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Moving Image Design

Polina Filippova

I am a creative director from Moscow, working across video-related mediums, performance and painting. 

My practice is a constant exploration of myself and experiments on real matter, with a particular focus on the relationship between body and space in its multiple forms (physical, digital, virtual). I am interested in the ways we connect to each other and ourselves and the role our physicality plays in this. 

My current work reflects on how the notion of intimacy is evolving, when we live in the constant presence of screens, and how the digital transmission of our bodily connections affects our mental space, language and emotions.


Degree Details

School of Communication

Moving Image Design

On Week 6 of the First Great Lockdown I was sitting in my room, writing a piece about bodily connections and the ways to transmit these by digital means. That was the topic I picked (what a coincidence!) before the world got torn into physically disconnected pieces.

One of the results of physical disconnection is emotion, or state of missing. Many of us are experts in missing and I’m no exception. When I moved to London three years ago, suddenly all of the people I loved started to exist just behind the black glass of my phone. All my life became about transmitting something somewhere by digital means. 

Intimacy is a weird thing. We think we connect with people online, even apart from social media, but what we get is often not what we were looking for. Constant digital connection creates a very peculiar sense, or space, of missing. It’s a loop of unfulfilling satisfaction. We feel constant presence of each other’s absence, and instead of becoming closer, in this act of bodily deprivation we become increasingly distant from our bodies and other bodies. Deep inside you know: however warm and intimate it may feel, if you come closer and closer, instead of feeling someone’s skin you’ll just hit the screen. 

I called this feeling ‘almost there’.

‘Almost There’ is my ongoing research on the mechanics and poetry of long distance relationships and the process of missing. It’s a collection of reflections on how we get separated by distance, imagination and a thin piece of glass.

Apart from emotions, long distance connections produce their own languages, based on the digital products we use. Image within an image, weird angles, vertical videos, mirrors of yourself, interface features such as loaders and typing signs, vibration of a phone giving you a dopamine kick: they all become part of our new shared language and our relationship. Along with distortions, freezes, glitches, low-res videos, robotic voices and other malfunctions.

I am experimenting with these new languages to show various mental states related to missing. Each clip on this page is a work-in-progress on a future installation that I hope to create in the physical space.

InstallationMoving imagePerformanceRelationship
My space of missing. Sometimes it’s difficult to feel that you exist
My screen time is 6h40m daily average
I want to see your face transmitted and compressed by the most modern compression technologies
I live on a phantom vibration of your call
How do I get closer?
You always see my face from an angle
Memory is an active storage. I am scared of our faces being overwritten in each other’s heads
Absence is not nothing. Absence is something present

Missing is not just an emotion, but also a space, with its distinct qualities, rhythm and a never-ending symphony of various mental states, changing from one to another. This space is remote from reality and filled with anxious meaning: to reach a destination of missing. Being in this space makes you aware of time: you know how much time has passed since you last met with someone you miss and how much is left till you meet again. And you are always waiting. 

I recreate my own space of missing, where I’m currently located. It’s inspired by facetime and early internet cam girls aesthetics. Video compression is a significant feature of both. What Hito Steyerl called ‘poor image’ is now myself. I keep on making a series of portraits of me and the space, where each represents one or a few mental states, connected to missing. Some of them are shown here.

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