What are you studying at ITMO?

I am a first-year Master’s student at ITMO’s Art & Science program. This is a very unique field that brings science and art together. It is a myth that science and art are antagonistic to each other. Instead, they are incomplete without one another. I am extremely glad that ITMO is a leader in this subject.

How did you find out about this program at ITMO?

ITMO is one of the very few universities in the world that offer this program. So it is quite easy to find it on the internet. After my Bachelor’s studies, I was looking for a Master’s program that has an equal amount of science and art subjects in its curriculum. The programs offered by other universities could not satisfy me. Then I came across the Art & Science program at ITMO and it felt perfect to me.

What are the specialization tracks offered in this program?

We are offered three specialization-related modules namely Technological Art, Digital Art, and BioArt. I am interested in Technological Art because I am a huge fan of technologies and contemporary art. Metaverse is a concept that I find very exciting and I want to learn more about it. I am also interested in the application of artificial intelligence in fine arts. Nowadays, people are producing amazing pieces of art using AI and I would love to do the same. I am learning several programming languages now as a part of my curriculum.

Fernanda is working on a project that combines AI and dance. Photo courtesy of the subject

Fernanda is working on a project that combines AI and dance. Photo courtesy of the subject

Do you currently work on any projects?

Yes, I am a trained classical painter and sculptor. Having the required skills in art, I am now interested in implementing technology into it. Currently, I am doing some research and learning new skills such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. My long-term goal is to develop an AI-generated choreography algorithm that will be able to generate dance steps based on the user’s features such as age, flexibility, experience, etc.

What do you think are some of the advantages of this collaboration between science and art?

The first advantage that comes to my mind is data storage. Art can now be stored forever. Many ancient dance forms are now extinct because they were not well preserved. Even paintings and sculpts have been stolen, damaged, and forgotten. That can be prevented with the digitalization of art.

Also with the help of motion capture, we can now study the movement of the human body much better. This will also enable us to develop machines that can replicate such complicated movements. It will be a huge improvement.

Can a machine choreograph a dance using AI in the near future?

Surely! That day isn’t far away when a machine or a robot will be able to choreograph a dance based on the beats and melodies of a song.

For how long have you been interested in art?

I developed an interest in art at a very young age. I have a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts. I have also been working as a visual artist for about 10 years now. I have been a part of several exhibitions and lectures over the years. So, I think art has always been an integral part of my life.

What are some of your favorite works?

I love to paint. That is my primary skill. I am associated with a dance academy where I capture the body movements of the dancers on paper. I am also a dancer myself. It is more of a hobby than a profession. I like painting dancers because it gives me a lot of knowledge about the human body and its movements. It helps me a lot with my research.

Fernanda admires Russian ballet and wants to watch some live performances in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of the subject

Fernanda admires Russian ballet and wants to watch some live performances in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of the subject

What dance styles do you like?

I am passionate about lyrical dance that somehow preserves classical movements but also allows much more freedom. These dance performances can also be supplemented with visual effects, video mapping, etc.

What is your take on Russian ballet?

I have been practicing ballet a lot lately. It is amazing how Russians have kept this beautiful dance style alive. I know that many girls in Russia are trained in ballet from a very young age. I am excited to watch some live performances in St. Petersburg.

Are you planning to join ITMO’s dance club – ITMO Flame?

Yes, I would love to join the dance club. It is so awesome that ITMO encourages extracurricular activities so much. I don’t know if they will have an audition soon but if they have one, I will surely apply. I follow their Instagram page and their posts are superb.

Do you have an ITMO buddy?

Yeah, I do have a buddy and it is so awesome to have someone with you who knows the city well. One of the major challenges of international students is the language. Having a buddy is such a big help. It makes you feel comfortable and confident in a new country. Again, kudos to ITMO University for being so thoughtful.

How do you celebrate Christmas in Mexico?

Christmas is one of the biggest occasions in Mexico. It is truly a time to be with your friends and family. Last year, it was very difficult for everyone to get together. So most of the celebration was done online. But this year, everything is almost back to normal and everyone is full of positivity. During Christmas, we have a lot of parties with friends and family members. We also prepare special dishes which we enjoy a lot.

Fernanda is eager to explore the museums and art galleries in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of the subject

Fernanda is eager to explore the museums and art galleries in St. Pete. Photo courtesy of the subject

What special dishes do you cook during Christmas?

We have the traditional turkey that is pretty universal. Apart from that, we also prepare a dish known as romeritos that is made with the tender twigs of a seepweed plant. It has a sweet and savory taste. Another favorite dish of mine is known as bacalao. It is a delicious curry made of dried cod. Mexicans also eat some special salads made from fruits and nuts.

Do you have any favorite Russian dishes yet?

I am a foodie so I love exploring new cuisines. My favorite Russian dish so far is pelmeni. These are very delicious Russian dumplings. I am excited to try new dishes and maybe in the next few months I will have a new favorite.

What are you most excited about in St. Petersburg?

Being an enthusiast in art, I am excited to visit all the museums and art galleries in St. Pete. I have heard that they are amazing. I am also really eager to explore ITMO’s art residency. They have some really magnificent projects and exhibits. I feel proud to be a part of this amazing team.

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