Mindwave architecture: An interview with V4W.ENKO

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Evgeniy Vashchenko aka V4W.ENKO creates sound and visual compositions based on custom applications using Max/MSP(?); a visual coding tool used to create interactive visuals, installations, and complex interactive environments. Vashchenko is a Ukrainian artist working in the fields of live electronics, installation, sculpture, sound, and video art since 2007.

Can you talk about your background and how you started?

I was studying art and music when I was 16, and immediately started my first experiments with sound then. Years later, I got the most important education for my activities – a bachelor’s degree in architecture (and a master’s a bit later) and started experimenting in that field. After 6-7 years of architecture I returned to music again, with new media tools for sound and visuals. Now I’m running a music label (the most complicated job for me, and which requires a high level of organisation), and my art project, v4w.enko, which is my favourite and most important as there is a lot of space for freedom in creation of new media installations, music compositions, audiovisual collages, sonic sculptures, music performances, etc. The third project is sound-design for films, which is also interesting in terms of creating specific sonic spaces.

Why did you decide to work with algorithms?

Good question. It was impossible to decide otherwise, as my background is in architecture. I received a specific experimental architecture education, where in the second or the third year of studies, students’ minds are tuned to an understanding of nature as a really complicated algorithmic structure. Yes, architecture is a discipline that teaches you different kinds of algorithms for creative processes. I decided it is really important to bring this approach to music. I just had to find the right kind of algorithms that could build interesting compositions and forms in music.

You work in various media – sound, video, even apps. Can you talk about your approach to each of them?

Most of my interest is to find nice algorithms and to connect them together. When the structure (algorithmic composition) is ready and /or somehow working, it is possible to connect different kinds of media from there. I create apps, then I create the sound and the video from that app.

The media scene has developed a lot since you started – thanks to technology (the growth of AR, VR projects, etc). How does your work reflect these developments?

Yes, it’s developed a lot. I would like to stick to the traditional ways of presenting my work, but yes, I’ve done some experiments with VR. AR and VR will always target a specific audience. My focus is basically “this” space and how is it possible to work with the physical reality of spaces in human life. My roots might be in architecture for the public and the space, and I like “real” textures, as high quality sounds will always be different to real sounds. I work with synthetic materials as generative systems only, but I also like to do analysises of the way sound behaves in the physical world, or write emulation systems of natural behaviours etc..

Can you talk about the Ukrainian AV scene?

There are several collectives and art groups. If I mention some names it won’t tell you anything. Search for “Ukrainian media artists” or “Ukraine sound art”.

What are your current projects?

At the moment, I’m focused on our old collaborative project with Aiuto (v4w.enko & Aiuto). It is an interesting sonic combination, as Anna uses very raw analogue modular frequencies and makes specific harmonics out of that. It is the opposite of the MaxMSP sound, but it works really well together with it. It forms a wide sound sculpture with the highest level of creative implementation in real time. There’s also my current installation, “in[ter]sect”, driven by mindwaves. It is a great research endeavour for my experience in the animation of brainwaves in sound and visual re-parametrisation processes. One of my favourite works, “Scalar v.202”, is also frequently presented. The urban mapping version of this work is going to be displayed at Kyiv Lights Festival this May.

Recently, I mostly find myself creating installations or special immersive virtual spaces. And, of course, sound is the most important media component of my creations.

Foto by Anna Vaschenko @ v4w.enko “in[ter]sect”