Time in the (LEIMAY) Studio with 

Polina Porras Sivolobova

LEIMAY Studio Manager Lou Mandolini in conversation with LEIMAY Fellow Polina Porras Sivolobova. Polina is a visual and performance artist, and all around great human.

  • LOU- What is the first thing you do when you begin your rehearsal at CAVE?

POLINA - The first thing I do is to review my research notes on the current work, after that, I usually expand on the research by reading and taking notes. Then I like to shake things off by drawing and body conditioning. My physical conditioning is a mix of LEIMAY LUDUS exercises and yoga. Lastly, I work on a specific piece, this year it has been "The Flowery Path" - a work about Day of the Dead and "Lilith under the last tree" a multimedia performance for SOAK.

  • How have weekly rehearsals impacted the way you work?

This year has been especially challenging to create art because I’ve been questioning the nature of my work as well as my methodology. The weekly rehearsals have created a structure, a framework or anchor that have helped me to stay grounded during a time of career doubt.

  • In one sentence, what is at the core of your work? What drives you to create?

The core of my work is the creation of visually intriguing work which speaks of transformation and has poetic and surreal undertones. My drive is to be able to bring forth an image/idea which I see with my mind's eye and produce it in the outer world creating new meanings. 

  • Discuss your use of the body in your practice…

Most of my work is performance art, often site-specific and participatory. In such instances the use of my body requires to be alert all the time, the body needs to be able to follow the structure of the work yet allowing enough space for spontaneity. My body acts as a social entity, as is in regards to gender, age, race, and socio-cultural background. The audience also becomes a social entity and the whole work a social study. 

  • Tell me about your first experience with LEIMAY, CAVE, or Ximena and Shige?

My first experience with LEIMAY was around 2012 when I attended one of their performances, it was the first time I had seen butoh, I was completely fascinated. Three years later, I started taking the LUDUS workshops on a regular basis and since then have been part of the “family.” Shige and Ximena are very inspiring, with an amazing work ethic which is rarely seen nowadays. They are great colleagues and mentors always pushing me to do better. 

  • After having time to reflect, how was your experience as a producing artist, working collectively, to create SOAK 2018?

To co-produce and perform at SOAK is a challenge that makes you grow as an artist. SOAK is the perfect platform to try out new artistic ideas and share them with a supportive audience. This year's SOAK was produced by the fellows thus it offered another level of complexity and a glimpse to what is needed to be an artist in today's world.

From Polina's work "Lilith under the last tree", Photo by Shige Moriya 

  • If you ran your own space, what would be your focus and how would connect to the community?

If I owned my space the focus would be on interdisciplinary arts. It would be in a rural space and the programs would be related to art, nature, environment, technology and the interactions between them.

  • Can you talk about what it means for you to be creating work in New York City as an international artist during this political climate?

It is a challenging time to be an artist. New York adds yet another challenge which is that of its high living prices making it hard to concentrate solely on artistic endeavors. New York can be a deceiving place to be an artist, on one hand, it provides a lot of opportunities such as grants, open calls, and competitions, these create a kind of professionalization for artists and validity but on the other hand, the work is strongly influenced by the demands of these opportunities making it hard to find your own voice as an artist. Personally, I feel that New York's current situation doesn't allow a variety of voices to be heard.

Spoken like a true artist who has her finger on the pulse! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me Polina. As the 2017-2018 LEIMAY Fellowship begins to wind down, you will continue to be an active member of our community as a LEIMAY Team Member. Learn more about Polina and her multifaceted works through her website and her conectom profile.

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