Debris

2022-2023

Autor Mykyta Shalenny
Coder Emil Shodiev

PROCESS OF CREATION

Contemporary Ukrainian artist Mykyta Shalenny has been using watercolor technique in his practice for many years, while also experimenting with most advanced achievements of modern technologies. In particular, the combination of classical techniques and new digital solutions was the key to the work “The Bridge”, which received high regards from international curators and art historians and was exhibited in the world’s leading art institutions (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/arts/art-leaders-network-berlin-vr-virtual-reality.html).
In Shalenny’s new project “Debris”, author sets himself a task to create watercolor image with program code. The silhouette of the debris was achieved by subtracting shapes, subtracting smaller simpler shapes from the whole shape, resulting in a complex shape. It was also important to show danger and aggression of the debris shape by creating “blade” – one of the debris sections with a sharp silhouette. In the course of the work, author developed watercolor technique that allowed him to leave some parts of the image sharp and make other parts blurry and abstract. For example, the body of a debris is always sharper, the body of an angel is blurry and indistinct. It was made possible to achieve thanks to the collaboration with coder Emil Shodiev.

The war. The year 2022 brought it to Ukraine, forever changing lives of tens of millions of people. Debris – something unpredictable, dangerous, treacherous, traumatizing.
A fragment can kill a person, or it can fly past. The moment is random and not so random at the same time, dependent only on the code of the universe. This moment when angels would take a hit and save a life. While fragment is flying – it is a deadly weapon, when we discover it – it is already history.
The perfect debris forms from metal, it is fragile, and solid and sharp at the same time.
During the Second World War, many people, both military and civilians, have suffered from debris. The fragment could penetrate deep into the soft tissues, it was impossible to remove, and a person lived his whole life feeling this fragment inside. Human body biologically made this way, that if fragment is small enough, soft tissues can disintegrate it, and then it becomes a scar and part of the body. The question is: could we possibly remove fragments of phycological traumas that have entered us during war? We may not feel them, but they are definitely there. In the technology of human mass murder, engineers have reached perfection, creating deadly rain of debris, while other scientists developed systems to counteract this rain by shooting down the missiles in the air. The more evil shows ingenuity, the more good seeks ways of salvation. But perhaps these are both evil, greater, and lesser evil? New generations will have the chance to see this, finding the debris and our archaic ways of killing each other.
So how can you define the image of the debris according to what is happening right now?
Millions of Ukrainians are just like fragments right now, scattered around the world, in different time zones. Once we could live next to each other, in one city in which the war came. It’s a new sensation similar to phantom pains. Phantoms are our good past, homes, and cities, which we have lost. Debris are also a geography, fragments of conquered territories, the aggressor tries to break down our land to fragments of unrecognized territories and gray zones.

Traits #10
1000 images
(Digital watercolor)