Dear Visitor,
My name is Valia Fetisov . I'm a media artist and software engineer interested in the intersection of social psychology and technology. More specifically, my passion is constructing artificial situations to explore people's reactions. If you don't want to read further, here is an old video that introduces my work.
Currently I'm working on my postgraduate project at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Recent works include User flow – a research-based project conducted on Social Credit System and Call to action – an interactive installation currently exhibited in Venice.
Call to action is a marketing technique developed in the digital age and generally aimed at converting visitors into sales or leads. It is designed to provide a clear path to follow. The installation in question is a physical implementation of this technique, designed to convince participants to take an action via artistic, engineering or socio-psychological methods. These differ per section of the installation, whose linear structure mirrors a marketing technique developed by user experience design, named “landing.”
The first section is supposed to ignite desire and attract visitors. Just like an advertisement, it does not represent a certain product, but rather elusively expose attractive sides of it, or promote the lifestyle associated with it.
Slide 01 of 02. Installation view: advertisement. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti
Slide 02 of 02. Installation view: chair and electric shocker in front of a screen. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti
If visitors are attracted, they move onto the second section where they construct their reasoning, based on material evidence and the scientific overview of the subject. The participants acknowledge the significance of the subject and consume information that makes them feel that they know it well.
The next section provides social reinforcement: visitors watch videos of other people willing to share their experiences about their actions. Their different opinions allow visitors to align themselves, empathise and agree with views expressed by other people.
The final section takes place in a machine-controlled interactive environment, which combines all of the previous steps in one, intended to influence actual decision. It uses “dark” user experience pattern, which are similar to opt-out practice – in which the decision to participate is taken passively. But the most important ingredient here is the sociological concept of a “frame”. According to the “framing theory” most people conceive art as a safe, game-like territory where nothing is real.
The main subject of the installation as a whole is pain; pain which gives the powerful sense of feeling alive, and as a luxury in the space of art. The final action is an invitation to experience pain in the form of a light electric shock, referencing a fundamental experiment in social psychology conducted by Stanley Milgram in 1962, called “On obedience to authority figures.” The installation strives to blur the lines between art exhibitions and marketing, providing an escape for visitors.
But the key work for understanding the origins of my interests is still the Installation of experience (2011). It is a room with an automatic door at the entrance, which closes each time someone comes in, so people are trapped there for an unknown amount of time with no instructions for how to get out.
Some of my other works include: a voicemail community Diane (2017); an online-activity tracker of my friends Be my friend (2016); a way of entering into a video surveillance system Control yourself (2012); and Paranoiapp (2015), a tool for social psychology experiment in the form of a mobile application.
Current exhibition: “Time, Forward!” at the V—A—C Zattere in Venice, Italy, till October 20. Past events
Write me if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading,