Art Project as Thesis is an initiative proposed by ITMO University’s Art & Science Center. It’s an opportunity for all of ITMO's Master's students to create an interdisciplinary art project in cooperation with their peers. According to the organizers, any large-scale project requires specialists from various fields of studies. Now, ITMO students of different majors can team up and create a thesis project that fuses art and science. The results of their work will be presented at an exhibition of thesis projects at AIR, a new art space at ITMO University.
“Each student comes to ITMO University with their own background, objectives, and ambitions. That’s why all of them should have an individual learning track. It’s not only about choosing subjects and majors, it’s also about the format of their thesis. We have successfully implemented the Startup Thesis format, which helps graduates improve their entrepreneurial skills. We’re trying to come up with a new format focused on scientific research. I hope that the Art Project as Thesis initiative will be popular among students from various faculties because ITMO University is full of creative, unconventional, and active people,” says Daria Kozlova, ITMO University’s First Vice Rector.
How to create your art project
“A project should contain three components: creative – the philosophy and the concept behind the project, scientific – a theory or an invention, and technological – tools, software, and algorithms,” explains Maria Moshchenskaya, a coordinator of the Art Project as Thesis initiative, an interdisciplinary artist, and a first-year student of ITMO University’s Art & Science Master’s program.
Each student’s input will be evaluated separately depending on their major, as students from different fields of studies must acquire different skills by the end of their studies. They will also have to prove that they are ready for independent work in their field. At the same time, the full potential of interdisciplinary research is reached when students with different majors join their forces. Teamwork is an important and necessary part of the Art Project as Thesis initiative. A team should consist of at least two people with different subject areas.
Students of technical fields can join artists in order to learn more about the unconventional aspects of technology and apply scientific methods, tools, and devices in an art project.
“It allows students to rethink the skills they have, find a new use for them, try on a new role, become a part of an interdisciplinary team, and establish new connections within the university,” says Lina Kipriushina, the coordinator of the Art & Science Master’s program.
On the other hand, artists who feel a lack of technological skills or equipment have an opportunity to collaborate with students from other fields. Such an approach helps students realize their creative potential and increase their opportunities for applying their skills and knowledge in a professional setting.
“Such projects are usually created step by step. For example, an artist has a concept, or perhaps a certain worldview. Once it’s supplemented by scientific research, it can become something entirely different, so the artist looks for a suitable technology to complement it. Or, vice versa, a student starts with technologies and looks for ways to apply them. This, too, can lead to new and unexpected results,” comments Maria Moshchenskaya.
The projects will be evaluated by an expert committee that consists of specialists in the field of Art & Science. They will evaluate the projects’ technological and conceptual aspects, as well as their relevance.
Among experts are Dimitri Ozerkov, an art historian, curator, head of the Hermitage Museum’s Contemporary Art Department, and head of the Art & Science Master’s program, Natalia Fedorova, an artist and curator of the 101.All in One festival of technological art, Olga Remneva, PhD, an Art & Science specialist, curator, art historian, art therapist, and author of an art blog, Irina Aktuganova, a curator of the New Anthropology project, art historian, and co-organizer of various projects related to Pushkinskaya 10 Art Center (Techno Art Center, Cyber-Femin-Club, GEZ-21, Museum of Sound), as well as Helena Nikonole, an independent curator and media artist working in hybrid art and artificial intelligence.
“Any unconventional approach in the field of higher education is great,” adds Olga Remneva.
The projects will be defended at a meeting of the State Examination Committee. Afterwards, they will be presented for a wider audience at Art.ITMO.Residency.
How to apply
Until November 14, 2020, students can fill out the form and describe the concept of their project, its scientific and creative aspects, team members, as well as the technological aspect – what equipment and technologies they plan to use. Additional materials, such as a prototype, a mock-up, sketch, or references can also be attached.
In order to apply, send the filled-out application form and additional materials to email@example.com with the subject line Art Project as Thesis. The results of the first stage will be announced on November 17.
With questions concerning the creative and organizational part of the project, contact Lina Kipriushina, coordinator of the Art & Science Master’s program, or Maria Moshchenskaya, coordinator of the Art Project as Thesis project, via Telegram. If you have questions regarding the technological aspect of the project, contact Alexey Feskov, technological consultant at the Art & Science Center. You can also use the Art & Science Center’s email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in the development of creative industries, so I think ITMO students are very lucky. For them, it’s a chance to find a new career path and apply their knowledge and skills in the field of modern art. The process of working on the project and the exhibition is a highly valuable experience. This initiative allows them to take a fresh look at everything they do and all the skills they have,” says Aliya Sakhariyeva, head of ITMO University’s Art & Science Center.
She hopes that students from other ITMO University faculties – programmers, biotechnologists, and specialists in robotics and optics – will also find the initiative appealing and will be ready to collaborate with Art & Science Master’s students.
“ITMO University, considering the wide range of its laboratories and programs, is a great place to create interesting, elaborate, and innovative projects at the intersection of art, science, and technology. Our students have access to these labs and research centers – it’s a big advantage,” concludes Aliya Sakhariyeva.