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Vera Kavaleuskaya

Vera Kavaleuskaya is a curator, editor, and artist based in Helsinki and born in Minsk. By using sound and mixed media, Vera directs her practice in the field of contemporary art and beyond towards building spaces for mutual education and dialogue. Her current research and artistic interests are institutional critique with a focus on ethical and ideological questions of curatorial praxis, leisure and labor in capitalist and post-capitalist society, and mental health under the conditions of neoliberalism.

What is the language in common for the young people today?

Although I cannot make assumptions about all the young people, I presume that for many of us from the so-called Western world, this language in common could be the language of anxiety.

What does the process of making one of your pieces look like?

I usually have the idea first, and then I am looking for a collaborator to help me produce the piece and potentially introduce something new to it. For example, with All That Has Melted…, sound artist Eugene Markin not only followed all of my specific instructions considering the production but, moreover, smoothed all corners of my non-composer thinking. 

Which challenges have you faced while making art as you know it?

The biggest challenge of the last few years was probably the disappointment with structures that form and organize the art scene. Now, in a way, I embraced the “pointlessness” as I understand it and, as I want to believe, am working around it.  

Do you consider yourself an artist, and what does that word mean to you?

I secretly hope that I am one. And for me, this word means a compliment.

What is your escape from reality? Do you even have a need to escape from something?

Somehow my artistic practice is the escape from the curatorial and institutional realities that I have been submerged into for quite some time – although it may seem either a very privileged or an ignorant thing to say.

What does the word innovative mean to you?

This word evokes thoughts about ideas co-opted by capitalism and its fantasy about infinite growth.

Do you have a plan for the future? Where can your artistic practice take you?

I plan to die because of the climate apocalypse in 20-30 years. Although, I hope that it would happen neither to me nor everyone else who hasn’t fallen yet – because we will collaboratively do something to stop it, perhaps with the help of guillotines rather than garbage sorting.

What made the biggest influence on you to become what you are today and do what you do now?

My parents – in a good way, and clinical depression – in both paradoxically good and bad ways. But that is what I say today, guided by my previous answers, and most likely tomorrow I will change my mind.

How would you describe Serbian (Balkan or European-depends on where you live and work) contemporary cultural scene?

Nowadays, I am most of all following the Finnish cultural scene because of where I am based and the Belarusian cultural scene because of where I am from. Let’s say that the former is cozy and the latter is in exile.

In which way does your creative process shape you or changes you as a person, if it does at all?

Although you are probably asking about the creative process that I regard as leading towards a particular artistic goal, I would rather say that creativity is an inseparable and formative part of anyone's life – with its outcomes being anything such as a joke, lie, or a choice of ingredients for a salad. As for the institutional example, I once got rid of impostor syndrome by presenting a lecture-performance on impostor syndrome. That was the most significant impostor moment I ever had in my life, and somehow the gravity of it annihilated the cause.