MONSTER AND TECTONICS OF RELATIVITY
Fragment of the essay by Alexander Evangely from the catalog Annual Ring. Laboratory of Time.
Nikita Shokhov's photography is also temporal photography in the sense that in his images time is not mimetic but problematized by index. Technologically, his photography reminds scanning rather than the routine frame montage according to the method of Lyudmila Zinchenko.
Nikita's technique involves movement and manifests itself through it: the frame is taken in 40 seconds, and a lot can happen during that time. If nothing happens, the viewer might miss the specifics.
But 40 seconds is an interval non-adjustable to the reality, which means for our perception a rigid filter that temporalizes the visible. Nikita finds his expressive instrument in this disciplining effect, in its performative power. He manages to introduce an emotional tone and odd tectonic poetics to his ephemeral monuments of time – or to reveal the existing ones. His search is described in coital categories: he looks for a position, speed and rhythm, and finding them, he achieves monstrous expressiveness, although he does not shoot only his homeland country.
The discipline of his instrument in relation to the reality entering the lens reminds the sculptures by Polina Kanis created as an orthopedic metaphor for relations between the society and the rectifiable subject. The fact that Nikita's orthopedics is optical, does not eliminate rigid interpretation.
If the speed of the car corresponds with the shutter speed, then the car disappears in the frame, shrinking into a thin column of pixels, and may vanish, and even – when overtaking – turn the other side. That is to go in the opposite direction, embodying the physics of relativity: different reference systems, different speeds – in the end we get an absurd picture reporting on the movement. The traditional instant camera captures the moment and we can guess only by the clearance lamps switched on that it stands and does not go. And here the camera itself turns the cars, as in a mirror – it seems incredible, but the topological logic is flawless. The moving scanner head visually embodies the fundamental relativity of a movement and time, the paradox of their totality, localized for each reference system, and transformation rules, traumatizing the common sense.
The masses and demonstrations and especially adequate to this method: it is only a pleasure to mix them with the space – these are masses, with no faces, only symbols of protest and support signs. As a result, the fighters for justice make up colored slush, trembling and formless, and the fighters for happiness make up flowing lava, while the defenders of eternal values, too, have full speed ahead, and there are no secrets left.
However, the specific shooting technique does not prevent from noticing that the series consistently unfolds before us the emotional representation of the cultural traditions in the geography of 11 different cities: for example, the photos in Chicago are taken against the backdrop of the Trump Tower.