THE AUDIENCE is most important for 29-year-old Russian performance and sound artist Katia Reshetnikova, whose artistic practice explores performativity of sound, both technically and aesthetically. In Chandigarh for Mother Tongue, a performance art showcase at the Healing Hills Art Residency in Morni, Reshetnikova curated performances which could break the idea of the audience being just a spectator. “I feel visual culture is excessive; we are constantly watching all the time and my work continuously explores the different ways with which the audience can perceive work.
“So, the performance is often participatory and reflects on interactions between sound and movement, body and public space, perceptions and experiences. I remember a performance I did in Moscow and London, where I blindfolded the audience to understand how work can be perceived as a whole body,” says Moscow-based Reshetnikova, who has studied sound design and did her MA in Performance Design and Practice from London.
In the city, Reshetnikova curated a performance where she and Chandigarh-based artist Ram sat back-to-back, as other performance artists and people from the audience became part of the act, braiding their hair, as Ram and Reshetnikova initiated dialogues on society, politics and art.
“The experience of creating site-specific work, surrounded by the beauty and sounds of the mountains, and also watching other artists create their own vocabulary in the same space, has initiated several learning experiences. I want to explore how I can reveal something that is already present and is cathartic in many ways,” says Reshetnikova In Morni, one of the challenges, she says, was to create work at Government Museum Gallery, where she had been only once, and conceptualising a performance according to the space that surrounded her.
“There is no fiction in the space. So my work, through body and film sound design transposed to different contexts, focused on finding what was already there, create something new and juxtapose the two different nows. The effort is to respond to the present moment with movement and explore how sound can be the main tool in a performance,” says Reshetnikova. Part of the performance collective Salt, she combines sound art and choreography. She has collaborated with Berlin-based theatre company Rimini Protokoll and her interactive sound installation Sensing Echoes was presented as part of a sound art exhibition in Moscow.
In 2015, her site-specific promenade performance based on field recordings was presented in Sound Kitchen programme at Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. She shares the varied sounds she has recorded in realistic spaces with the environmental improvisations, using 3D sound technology. “It is immersive work, where you do not edit but let the sounds come together, giving the audience the freedom to perceive the varied contexts,” says Reshetnikova.