Casual Conversations investigates the experience of Russian-Jewish emigres through community public art interventions and installations.
Casual Conversations addresses Alina’s communal and individual experience as part of the third wave of Russian-Jewish émigrés – a human wave passing through geographical, political and cultural borders.
This project has produced a pictorial series shaped by cultural and social studies, personal experience and public interactions. Focusing on Russian-Jewish immigrants who fled the Soviet Union from the 1970s to the early 1990s and working closely with the Russian-Jewish diaspora in New York, the project consists of a number of visual mediums, including academic research, photo documentation, public interventions and original artworks.
Through a series of public interventions Casual Conversations brings unconventional art forms to the community and creates a “research/art laboratory” in a public space. Each event targets a specific “problem” and set “reaction” that forms the characteristic brushstrokes of a final community portrait.
This project was presented at the Black and White Gallery in Williamsburg from March-June, 2009.
Alina Bliumis was born in Minsk, Belorussia, and is a multidisciplinary artist living and working with her partner, Jeff Bliumis in NYC. Their work often reflects on their own experiences and develops subjects dealing with migration, social developments and cultural engineering.
The team often develops subjects dealing with urban history, social structure, and cultural developments. Their work concentrates on “foreignness” and “otherness” in daily social encounters, from the public art project in NYC “Language Barriers” to a photo journey “Moscow Diary”, inspired by Walter Benjamin’s book of the same title.
Alina and Jeff’s projects range from public art to site specific installations to projects that are based on public dialogue and public interactivity.
Their works have been internationally exhibited. Selected shows include the 1st and 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (Russia), Bat-Yam Museum (Israel), Busan Biennale 2006 (South Korea), The Jewish Museum (NY), Assab One (Italy), Castlefield Gallery (UK) and Andrea Meislin Gallery (NY). Their video works have been screened at many festivals such as New York Video Festival (USA), Media Art Festival Friesland (Netherlands), Resfest 10, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (USA) and Videomedeja (Serbia).
Alina and Jeff’s works are in various private and public collections, including: Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Bat-Yam Museum and the Saatchi collection.