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Artists-in-Residence: Julia Sinelnikova at Banff Centre

It's an immersive vision like synthetic fairy wings that glow and shimmer.
Images courtesy the artist. Photo: Rebecca Smeyne

Multidisciplinary artist Julia Sinelnikova works at the intersection of light, sculpture, performance, and design. There's always a unifying aesthetic; a tech-driven fantasy world of metallics and holograms. It's an immersive vision, like synthetic fairy wings that glow and shimmer. Her work thrives at music events as well as in gallery settings.

The fact that she's working at this evolving intersection of new mediums is exactly why she was chosen for the Banff Centre's Convergence Residency, a program that's intentionally furthering the overlap of these areas through the use of technology. The three-week program, with MUTEK's Patti Schmidt at its helm, aims to teach residents the tools they need to further this type of exploration, combining projections, video, and sound.


Sinelnikova’s goal there is to expand on a previous installation, SENTINEL: Temple of Self-Awareness, from The Museum of Human Achievement in Austin. That project combined sculpture, LEDs, and projection mapping into an immersive environment that viewers could enter and explore, instead of passively watching from without. "I'm trying to capture space in a more human way. I want people to touch my work and feel like they are a part of it," she explains.

To that end, she hopes to use the resources being offered to increase the scale of her work, improve her ability to control light and animation, and introduce her own music to make for a more total and complete environment. She is learning TouchDesigner, a program used for projections and interactive lighting. She is also building her understanding of DMX, a method for linking controllers to lighting devices like LEDs and lasers.

Photo: Erez Avissar

While she plans to have a working demo by the end of the trip, the Brooklyn-based artist says the real fun won't begin until she takes what she's absorbed from the residency and starts implementing it out in the real world. She relates it to previous residencies (this is her fifth): "So much of my work is accumulative. I've been exhibiting since I was 16 and I'm 26 now. I take pieces and lessons from each successive project and add them to the next."

Photo: JJ Brine

It wasn't an easy path to get to Banff. Even after being accepted and offered financial aid, Sinelnikova still had to pay for travel fare and rent on her studio back home. So she started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to help cover those costs, and she reached her goal of $2,000 on the final day. To lower her traveling expenses, she also set up work nearby. After Convergence, she'll fly to Toronto for a gig at a warehouse party. Seems she’ll have the opportunity to start using her new skills pretty soon.


Photo: Razberry

Keep abreast of Julia Sinelnikova's work on her website and Instagram.


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