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The public call out for the inaugural CIRCA x Dazed Class of 2021 initiative asked audiences to submit a 2.5 minute film in response to the theme ‘Communion’ set by interdisciplinary artist and lecturer, Angel Rose. After receiving 2,000 applications, we are proud to present the 30 finalists who will each receive access to the Dazed Space and have their work exhibited as part of the CIRCA programme, appearing across public screens in London, Tokyo and Seoul this September.

Expanding on their commitment to help support the talent of tomorrow, CIRCA and Dazed appointed a community of jurors including Cauleen Smith, Frank Lebon, Hugo Comte, Simone Rocha, Dexter Navy, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Michele Lamy to select their top 5 submissions. From this, one lucky finalist will be selected by world renowned performance artist Marina Abramović to receive the #CIRCAECONOMY cash prize of £30,000.

With public art spaces diminishing, investment in arts education being cut and artist communities at risk, this joint initiative aims to empower the next generation of artists working in moving-image by platforming new voices and points of view from local communities on a global level, giving them unrivalled media exposure and the tools to help kick start their careers.

How did you become an artist and what was your route to your current practice?

KSENIA ILI:
I tremendously guard spontaneity and the state of eternal seeking. That’s how I became an artist in the first place.

It seems like I have always experienced a special sensitivity to the relativity of things, it has always been important to me to question spaces, to unpuzzle their hints, to spy on reality. I ask myself deceptively simple questions that lead to continuous creative experimentation.

What inspires you to make your work?

KSENIA ILI:
Nowadays one faces a huge amount of information 24/7 and desperately tries to fit all the guidelines set by the modern society simultaneously. Hence their identity is completely lost.

In my work I touch the issue of changing person’s attitude towards himself in the midst of new technologies and socio-political factors. Not everyone can easily answer the simple question about describing themselves.
It is an attempt to make sense of relationship of a person and himself, which creates disorienting experiences, attempting to revive his unconditioned self outside the bubble.

I noticed that human facial expressions are uncontrollable and spontaneously emotional. The close-up and the image of physicality create a feeling of uncomfortable intimacy of the process and highlight the depth of the question. How close can you get to a person?

Can you identify any elements of your community or collaborators that have had a strong influence?

KSENIA ILI:
I interviewed my peers, the 20-30 years olds, thereby defining age as a time marker.
We explore our inner world, we have the same vulnerabilities and fears. And our self-awareness is determined by the degree of focus on our own identity.

Would you consider your practice to have a positive social impact, and if so in what way?

KSENIA ILI:
Hopefully, yes. I ask eternal questions passing through important social topics.
And in order to avoid the automaticity of life, you need to talk about it and, perhaps, ‘the air’ will become a little cleaner.

How is your project tied to the Circa x Dazed Class of 20:21 theme of ‘Communion’?:

KSENIA LLI:
There’s one question that bonds us together: what are we? What do we consist of? Of which parts?
Single thoughts merged into a mind flow of one person, they endlessly chase that their own self that doesn’t exist in fact.

Has your work been recognised by any public bodies or organisations in the past?

KSENIA ILI:
No.

How would the #CIRCAECONOMY prize of £30,000 impact your future practice?

KSENIA ILI:
I would like to immerse myself into research-oriented learning environment, where one can grow in their practice of reflective Art, where social, cultural and artistic points of view are openly discussed nonjudgmentally. This kind of interaction would be very beneficial for my work as I will develop further my individual research into confident practice and will be able to communicate my ideas globally.

What would you do with the money?

KSENIA ILI:
I would like to use the prize to enrol the MA Fine Art: Digital at Central Saint Martins College, they currently run the online 2 year program.

If you are awarded the #CIRCAECONOMY prize, how might this affect your community?

KSENIA ILI:
I strongly believe that my community of young artists will feel like they are involved with this grand prize, which can help us achieve our goals.