You see outlines of people, but details are blurry. The shapes move around erratically, like atoms. Fragments of words in a measured tempo travel through the space, mixing two polarities. The waiting state doesn’t have a specific position in space. It has a duration, which makes it difficult to pinpoint its precise location and momentum.
The waiting state that was created by an artist Ksenia Ilina in a video and photo project called ‘limbo’.
Ksenia Ilina, a contemporary artist from St. Petersburg, incorporates a variety of mediums including video, photography, graphics, and objects in her art practice. Her art is driven by a curiosity about the meaning and significance of space and an interest in capturing and examining ephemeral moments of reality.
In the ‘limbo’ project, Ksenia Ilina seeks to capture the fleeting experience of waiting and stretch it out indefinitely, reinforcing the feeling of being lost and “suspended in midair”.
To describe the process of creating the ‘limbo’ project, you need to imagine how you are sitting in line at the hospital, stuck in a traffic jam in a taxi, or waiting for your stop on the train. For the project, field recordings and recordings of people’s conversations were captured in these waiting situations.
Ilina didn’t force events to make field recordings. The situations happened by themselves. This may be part of the daily routine, which sometimes we do not have time to process and catch.
The field audio recordings were mixed into one big unconscious stream of words. Strangers that fall into the frame of the artist’s video are combined into a common mass of the spot. Watching the video project, you are hypnotically immersed in a seemingly physical space of limbo. Into ‘the waiting room’.
In addition to this audiovisual journey, Ksenia Ilina took five documentary portraits of drivers stuck in hours of traffic, providing a view into this waiting state.
An indefinite waiting period for a decision, a feeling of aimlessness and meaninglessness, a sense of stagnation that prevents progress. It is a state of being, with no forward or backward movement in life. It is the awkward place between where you are now and where you will be “soon.”
You may feel uncertain about the future and unsure of what direction to take. You are not fully committed to the past and not fully committed to the future.
The concept of limbo continues to be a rich source of inspiration for contemporary artists, as it provides a way to explore and understand the complexities and ambiguities of the human life experience.
The ‘limbo’ project was first exhibited in Moscow on February 24, 2022, the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As if foretelling the future, the life of many people, became trapped in a state of limbo since then.