Evgenia Emets

Tell us about yourself, what do you do?
I am a poet and an artist. I practice sound art, poetry, calligraphy – they merge in my installation and performance work. I focus on exploring spontaneous messages of time and timelessness in my poetry, and ways the poetry can exist in sonic, visual and spatial realms. I often work with voice, always present and accessible to us, negotiating possibilities and limits of languages. My poems serve as graphic scores for actual performances or just live by themselves as visual works.

In which field of art do you work, what topics are important for you as an artist? What are you passionate about?
I work in various art forms – visual and sonic, experiential and installation, solitary practice and participatory open-ended experience where the audience is central to the art piece. I am interested in the formation and destruction of Culture, in the cycles which underlie its basic structure, in how cultural shifts happen and why. Recently I have been exploring the subject of time and our perception of it from different perspectives, always through language, through poetry, text, word, and image.

 Where are you from? What is your educational background?
I was born in the USSR, I have lived in Moscow and London, and today since last year Portugal is my home. I completed a Masters Degree in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in 2008. I explored and studied various techniques of sound therapy throughout 2013-2017 and I am using these principles in my works. I am always learning. Most things I am learning today I do within my practice, as I am working on new projects. For example, I am approaching the learning of Portuguese language from the perspective of a poet, I am interested in using it in every day and to write, to speak and to sing.

 What attracted you to come to RV as a resident?
I wanted to do a project exploring human relationship with the forest in the context of Portugal and I could not imagine a better place to start this project than Raizvanguarda. Given its location, the conditions it offers and the links to the local communities.
This is my first project since I moved to Portugal and I wanted to be somewhere with a good studio space, close to nature where I would be able to connect with local people.

 What project are you working on?
I am working on the project Eternal Forest – a new multidisciplinary long-term project. The goal of “Eternal Forest” is to rethink and transforms a community’s relationship with its forests. I have worked both in the studio and in the field, connecting with myself, with the forest and with the people.
I have written a series of poems, inspired by the conversations with the people of the local communities, created a series of visual poems, an artist book and a documentary about this community’s relationship towards the forest told through the voices of people living in Goís, Arganil, and Lousã. Areas which suffered in the devastating fires of 2017.
Eternal Forest artist book – with poetry in English and Portuguese, is typed on a machine without ink, a blind embossing seen only in special light conditions. The book is hand-sewn and calligraphed and is made fully on paper from the abandoned paper factory in Góis.
A series of visual artworks are directly connected to the cycle of poems in the visual form, created in the new technique I started experimenting with about a year ago – drawn with water, leaving the formation of the final image to chance and the movement of flow.

The documentary film, which I produced together with Fernando Antunes Amaral is the result of 12 interviews with people living locally. 
It aims to raise awareness about the environmental situation caused by decades of unsustainable forestry practices, widespread eucalyptus monoculture, the breakdown of communities and human desertification. It is currently being screened in multiple locations in Portugal and I am planning to do another film in a year’s time.

 And finally, we did a sensory experience in one of the local forests, – a previously cultivated but currently abandoned land – a beautiful spot where Nature is coming back to life. People were invited to connect with the forest through their senses – to see, hear, smell, touch and taste the elements during the experience. For me this experience and the project overall opens a conversation about our current relationship with the forest, thinking about it affects our perception of time and deep cycles, how it impacts us in the future and how we can change it today.

What is your favourite part of RV?
My favourite part of the RV residency was meeting local people and connecting with other artists staying at RV. I greatly enjoyed these encounters, exchanges of ideas and small collaborations that happen spontaneously.

There is so much we can learn from each other and the moments together are precious. Talking to people at the residency I understood the need to be as a community, to feel supported and listened to. Such supportive community is something we all need and I am left with the question how do we create in our daily lives this kind of environment where we feel supported, heard, in which we have the power to get organized to make a change happen.

If you would like to see more of Emets’ work, visit her facebook pages here and here and watch her RV interview here
. Visit her website, Instagram, and YouTube.

View some photos taken during Emets’ residency. Photos by Yuri Nezovič and Evgenia Emets.