Research Institute of Experimental Aesthetics today is the joint department of Kazan State Technological University (KGTU) and Tatarstan Republic Academy of Sciences.
Russia, 420111, Kazan, K.Marx street 10, KGTU, Institute
Tel: (8432)-386273 Fax: (8432)-365331 E-mail: <email@example.com>
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Consequently developing the ideas by Scriabin and Kandinsky, who dreamed of hypothetic Gesamtkunstwerk, the collective body of "Prometheus" since 1962 has been solving topical problems of a true "experimental aesthetics" (more precisely, "aesthetics, tested by experiment"). This activity includes complex testing of growing artistic requirements aroused by scientific an technological revolution, an can be divided into three main parts:
During past years we have tested through practice the potentials of almost all new art species, presented in our extended system of arts, as well as many other intermediate forms, obtained by synthesis of basic ones. Thus we continue the cause began by the earliest explorers from our country (A.Scriabin, V.Baranoff-Rossine, G.Gidony - in light-music area; L.Termen - electronic music; V.Tatlin, G.Clutzis - cyber art; N.Voinov - abstract films; R.Zaripov - cyber music, and others).
Design office "Prometheus" began its first, rather amateur, student experiments in light-music area with the performance of Scriabin's "Prometheus", including light part. Then sphere of our interests spread over many other areas of audio-visual synthesis. We used "developing attack" style and constantly expanded our springboards on the territory of the future.
Scriabin, being an advocate of so-called "Universal Art", which he desired to embody in his planned "Mystery", did not stop, as it is known, on "Prometheus" version of "light symphony". He dreamed of further extending his synthesis ideas and reflected on certain fantastic forms of combining together music, light, speech, gesture, architecture. We also did not limit ourselves to light-music only, though reality, of course, inserted amendments into Scriabin's unrestrained "aesthetis futurology".
At any case, during the past years we have realized the following:
We tested in practice the potentials of new technical means (dynamic light and electronics) in other areas of art activity, as follows: - architecture (true realization of Russian metaphor "crimson chime" in the illumination of "Spasskaya" Tower of Kazan Kremlin, 1967. "Crimson chime" means "mellow chime" in Russian language); - dynamic illumination of City Circus building, which follows the changes of the weather (1968); - series of light-dynamic panels (hotel "Tatarstan", 1968; Planetarium, 1970; Technological University museum, 1982); - design projects (a number of automatic psychodelic light-music installations, such as "Idel", "Yalkyn", "Colour", "Electronic Painter", "Kaleidophon", "Disco").
According to settled terminology, all these works relate to kinetic art and lumidynamics. Some of them penetrated into adjoining areas of functional and light music, engineering and space psychology (namely, light-sound indicators for machinery interfaces; controlable audio-visual surroundings for relaxation rooms and intensive training classrooms).
In 1979 we have arranged light-music hall in Kazan Youth Center, where we could demonstrate all the variety of our experiments. The number of visitors reached 4-5 thousands per annum. In this center we held annual "Prometheus" symposia. The All-union festival "Light and Music" with 500 participants (1987) was the most significant forum of this kind. (Unfortunately, our studio in Youth Center has been destroyed in 1991 by "new Russians" in the process of building capitalism. The studio has been restored in our Technological University). From this "light festival" we inherited and then demonstrated for many years various light concert programs: "Time, ahead" (music by Sviridov); "Bolero" (by M.Ravel); "Dark Flame" (by Scriabin). The premiere of "Snow-Maiden" opera by N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov was shown at the festival, and then succesfully performed in Kazan Opera and Ballet theater for several years. The decoration included light-music elements. The electronic devices memory still stores some festival "spatial sound" events (including "Electronic Symphony" by S.Belimov, "Flowing of instants" by L.Blinov) and stereoradiotheater ones (the most interesting are "Birth of Music" and dialog between Hamlet and invisible ghost of his father).
The results of long term experiment "Children draw music", in a genre of "musical graphics", are demonstrated from time to time in Kazan. Slide and musical programs are constantly demonstrated in studio hall and other places. The most significant among them are "Romance" (music by G.Sviridov); "Clouds" (by C.Debussy); "Ave Maria" (by F.Shubert); "Embrace one another, millions of people" (by Bethoveen); "Sadness" (by R.Pauls); "Space dandelion", "Pink Floyd", "Music of Tatar ornament". The limits of this genre was extended in the special big concert program "Music, Poetry, Painting" performed with assistance of organist R.Abdullin in the Assembly Hall of Kazan Conservatory. The program included "Ave Maria" in the World Art", "Faustus" (music by P.Eben); "Garden of Delights" (by O.Messian-I.Bosch); "Ancient Russia Colours" (by R.Schedrin, O.Yanchenko); "World as The Great Symphony" (by M.K.Chiurlionis); "From kurai to organ" (by N.Giganov, S.Sharifullina, S.Hubaidullina). (click here)
The arising of the new technique allowed us to turn from troublesome cinema experiments towards abstract light music videofilms. Thus, our (cinema) film "Space Sonata" was superposed electronically with the videorecord of plastic dance. The series of videofilms to Polish composers music, "Temple", "Ballade for Brendt" were made in stylization of such artists as V.Kandinsky, H.Miro, S.Dali, B.Nicolson (1989). Then we made three abstract videofilms "Vertical lines dance", "White vertical line dance" and "Russian terminator" to electronic music by Moscow composer A.Rodionov. And finally, according the request of Holland composer H.de Groot, we made videofilm on his vanguarde computer aided piece "Frog symphony".
The developing attack to new art fields of computer epoch is going on with an aid of modern technical means. The results were shown in the most complete form in the concert "Multi-media" performed during "Scriabin's Days" (April 1990, Assembly Hall of Kazan Conservatory). Here, beside slide compositions and videofilms, we presented happenings, laserium, instrumental theater and conceptual art (the latter appeared to be the most appreciable event). The experimental video-sculptural installations "The living an the lifeless", "Electronic Boy", "Video Ave Maria", "Electronic tennis court", "TV set playing the piano", "Long blown kiss through TV tube surface", "Do not renounce a-begging or jail", "Electronic grimaces in magnetic field", "Op-art about video-art", were shown. In these compositions the TV set appeared not as ordinary videoreceiver, but as a certain personage of the performance. New videoinstallations followed, such as "Go ahead to the victory of capitalism", "Dog barks, caravan keeps moving", "Russians leave Europe", with computers, slides and lasers involved. A new art realm opened before "prometheans".
One of the appreciable experiment in 90-s years was a multi-media open air performance "Magic Garden", shown at Sabantue holiday in June 1991. Polyphonic singing of exotic birds were broadcasting in multichannel mode through loudspeakers mounted on the trees, and was accompanied with synchronic light effects. The laser graphic images were projected onto the wall of University building, high above the garden. The same techniques were also used in big concerts shown at: Technological Institute anniversary celebration; World Congress of Tatar Nation (Kazan, 1992); International UNESCO Conference "Young Cities" (Naberezhnye Chelny, 1993); Victory Day celebration (Kazan, 1995). (click here). After our first experience in technic equiping of Fine Art Museum, we have made, in cooperation wth Kazan artists, the audiovisual and stereophonic design of a new exposition in the museum of composer S.Saidashev (1992). Now we begin mastering of new technique: computer graphics, animation, multimedia. But we do not leave behind "old" genres too.
In 1996 in new Kazan Concert Hall the unusual performance of Scriabin's "Prometheus" took place. It was accompanied with screen show of the paintings by V.Kandinsky. In 1999 the more complicated version of this audiovisual performance was included in the regular program of City light-music hall (click here).
In 1996 in the same concert hall the composition "Allelulia" by our prominent country-woman S.Hubaidullina was performed with light part of the score.
...All these new species/genres of art have been analysed in a number of books and articles written by "prometheans" for Encyclopaedia, local and international journals (totally there are 30 books and more than 500 articles). They display the results of scientific researchs, first of all that regards to the history and theory of light-music, as for example, Scriabin's "light symphony" project; art conceptions by Chiurlionis, Kandinsky, Termen, Gidony; problem of synaesthesia (colour hearing); theory of the art synthesis. The original periodic system of arts has been developed.
Design office "Prometheus" was raised into Research Institute in 1995. Since then we carry out investigations in accordance with Tatarstan Academy program, as follows: the search of correlations between national melos and ornament; the verification of hypothetical analogy by B.Yavorsky "tone attraction - Earth gravity"; computer aided "graphic to melody" transformation, etc. "Prometheans" intensively collaborate with ISAST ("International Society for Arts, Sciences and Technology") and its publication organ "Leonardo". Besides articles on art works in Russia (including our own), we prepare for "Leonardo" surveys of literature on the themes which are of interest for Society, reviews of the new books published in Russian. Naturally, this cases are of interest for homeland specialists too.
Institute "Prometheus" held in Kazan and in Moscow 15 all-Union and all-Russian conferences, took part in many symposia and art festivals in Russia. Last years we have got an opportunity to present our works at international level and took part in: festival "Gagarin Days" in Hungary (Budapest, 1989); International festival "Ars Electronica" in Austria (Linz, 1989, 1991); festival "Video and Music" in Poland (Vroclav, 1989); International symposium on Electronic Art in Holland (Groeningen, 1990); Experimental Art Festival "IMPACT" in Holland (Utrecht, 1991); International exhibition "Images of Future" in Canada (Montreal, 1991); Festival of Light in Czechoslovakia (Prague, 1991); International festival of videoart in Switzerland (Lokarno, 1991); Academy of Light in Holland (Hague, 1993); International conference on the polyaesthetical education in Austria (Salzburg, 1993); International videfestival in Germany (Dessau, 1993, 1995 and 1997); International conference on the light-music history in France (Clermont-Ferrand, 1994); symposium Rancontres Internationales "Pour une Ecologie des Media" in France (Paris, 1998); conference "Language, Vision and Music" (Ireland, 1999).
The new projects of light architecture have been developed. Some of them have been realized: in decoration of Park of Victory and new Kazan railway station. Part of the projects are still on the draft stage, among them are: the building as a light instrument; the inscriptions appearing in the air; light stained-glass window in Kazan town hall; light-musical fountain "Mellow chime" in Kazan Kremlin; light-music performances "Ancient Kazan" and "Kazan arises from the legend".
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The following References include web sites, contained information on "Prometheus" Institute: