Artist Q&A: Zane Zelmene

30 August 2018

We spoke to artist Zane Zelmene about her forthcoming exhibition,The Specious Present, a digital installation featuring VR works which draws inspiration from the Peak District.

What is your background?

I am new media artist living and working in Riga, Latvia. I have graduated with a MFA in Visual communication from Art Academy of Latvia in 2016. My work includes live visuals, stage design as well as interactive art installations, land art and music videos. Also, I am one of the organizers of extended reality meetup in Riga for virtual and augmented reality enthusiasts. I have exhibited and performed widely in Latvia and abroad in collaboration with different sound artists and audiovisual projects.

What were your inspirations for the exhibition?

 The main inspiration for the exhibition is nature and technology. Also, the way megalithic art was viewed and experienced in different eras. Recent approaches to megalithic architecture have emphasized the importance of considering monuments in relation to the experience of place. Such approaches have taken two forms: emphasizing the relationship between experience and the internal architecture of the monument, or the nature of the experience evoked by the presence of the monument within the landscape.

This new immersive artwork will be focused and inspired by the natural environment of the county of Derbyshire, specifically the Peak District, and include the photographs, scans and videos from the site of Arbor Low Stone circle and Gib Hill Barrow to create a VR experience of these locations particularly concerning the perception of time and dynamic perspectives.

What did/does your creative process involve?
First of all, my creative process involves travel and long walks. Also, a lot of research and collecting image data from the place. Then putting all the data from the site together in virtual space and programming the VR experience. After that comes work in material to create real life objects for immersive installation - painting, printing and CNC cutting. Maybe it sounds easy, but it takes a lot of time and work to finalize extended reality artwork, because it occupies 2 worlds- real world and cyberspace.

What have been the biggest challenges involved so far?
My biggest challenge was going to Arbor Low Stone circle at night to capture time- lapse photography of the night sky.  Because the weather wasn’t promising- there were a lot of clouds and some drops of rain. But when we arrived at the site the sky cleared and we could see the Milky Way and even some shooting stars over the stone circle. Also, I want to thank to curatorial team from QUAD gallery for support. They helped me a lot with light painting photography on site and shared this experience with me, without their support it would be more challenging to me.

Where else can we see your work?
On my website: zanezelmene.me Also the exhibition “The Specious Present” opens at QUAD on 9th November at 6:30pm, please come along and experience the immersive artwork!

The Specious Present runs in QUAD Gallery from 10 Nov 2018 - 3 Feb 2019.