“Almost There” is a series of interactive self-portraits that I made while being in a long-distance relationship during the lockdown. It’s an accurate, almost documental representation of the space of missing, where time gets distorted, a room becomes an extension of one’s body, and the reality feels as compressed as one’s own image transmitted somewhere far away in a digital form.

 

The portraits are digital paintings; matte screens with slow videos, installed in the wooden boxes, reminiscent of frames. They are not too big to convey an intimate relationship with a view one gets in a video call. The videos are blurred, as was my image of self. They are quiet.  Almost nothing happens within them, but time passes.

 

The medium and the genre refer to a classical portrait and a long tradition of female self-portraiture, often painted in a home environment, where women both lived and worked, quite as we do now.

 

The portraits are interactive. They react to a viewer moving closer, acknowledging her presence by a subtle movement. It’s a hint of connection that never really quite happens, much as when we connect digitally. The interaction is randomised, an algorithm that controls the movement. At times there might be no reaction at all. Both the viewer and the character in the portrait are neither totally free nor entirely dependent on each other.

 

Interactive system in collaboration with Anton Tolchanov

Polina Filippova is an artist from Moscow, working across video-related mediums, performance and painting. She recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, where she studied moving image and experiential art. 

 

Her work is mainly introspective. She explores relationships between body and space in their various domains, from tactile to virtual, with a particular interest in the ways we connect to each other and ourselves and the role our physicality plays in it.