Fragment Gallery (Moscow)

“NEOPHYTE” project, blending the archaic with the post-industrial while reviving the sacred concept of humankind’s inclusion in the global system, is an effort to shed light upon the intimate ties that bind together technology and society. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Shust constructs the exposition from several mediums — video, graphics, and sculptural composition. The central work of the project is a video-based on an analogy with the pursuit of the fern flower and drug “stashes” and it captures a group of young people wandering in the woods. According to the legend, a fern flower blooms on the eve of Ivan Kupala Day, a traditional Slavic holiday relates to the summer solstice and the one whoever finds it will get his innermost wishes fulfilling.
The items depicted in the video are showcased and illuminated in the gallery. A collection of sculptures from iron soles outfitted with green strobe lights at the same time resembles mysterious cryptographic messages and delicate patterns of vytynanka, a traditional Belorussian ornament cut from paper.
Onions are growing in wine glasses in the strobe light — an allusion to Soviet home gardening and to the anonymous web-browsing software Tor (also known as “The Onion Router”).
Created on the basis of the symbiosis of high-tech and ordinary materials, the works of the artist explore the spirit of the age through visual codes and modern life markers.
The project’s narrative graphics are accompanied by attention heat maps (data visualization tool used to determine which areas get the most attention at a webpage) custom-generated by the user-experience lab of an IT corporation.
Thus, In the shape of an absurd dystopian fairy tale, the “NEOPHYTE” explores the role of mystery and privacy, reveals the contemporary forms of omnipresent and comprehensive strategies of control, articulating the reviving struggle for decentralization.