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Parallel Lives

CURATOR: Igor Baskin

Each of us lives in our own space, our own time. We are aware of the structures, the limits of that space and time. Each of us lives surrounded by people, things, which constantly make impact on us and shape our lives. Each of us perceives our immediate environment uniquely. There is really only one singular thing that we all experience at the exact same moment - and that is the experience of time. Yes, all we can truly be said to share , purely and unfiltered, is time itself. The unremarkable instant's own passing marks us all, each of us simultaneously though its effect on each are, necessary, unique.

We remember events, instances, significant points, but normally we pass through each day's myriad of moments without attention. If we remembered each and every moment of life, our brains would overload, we would lose our minds. And yet - sometimes it is through those small throwaway moments that we can see our lives most clearly. Opening the door into such moments is opening the door into the deepest places in private life.

People live in different places, but of course we know that these places are all but different parts on one larger place. As we communicate, - in person, by phone, letter, e-mail - it seems we all live within the same timeframe , no-one doubts it, but is it really true?


Despite our vast differences from one another, there is at least one common thing - we all
belong to time and our time belongs not only to each one of us but to all of us in common.
In the Parallel Lives project, we have the ability to explore and map this phenomenon.
We choose a particular time, fix these average moments of our lives, and then bring them
together, to help us to see our personal lives in general world context.
The idea of the project is very simple, but the questions it raises are not answered so simply.

"what is time, as we live it?"
"what do we really know about the world we live in"
"why are people and their worlds so different?"
"are they really so different as they might seem?"
"does any of this exist outside of each of us's perception?" and, at the end, "who am I?"



Although the participants of Parallel Lives are participating as artists working in different fields, this is not a project of photo-art. It's a process of recording specific moments of each artist's lived time in simultaneous relations to one another. Along the way it provides maps of styles of life, structures of work, the creative process and more.

The first year of Parallel Lives is complete: it was begun on 25.12.01 by St Petersburg's artist Igor Baskin, and Lucia Markuzzo in Australia. They began by recording with photography, one single moment each Monday at 12:00.

Each month Igor Baskin added new participants, and some new times, still on a Monday.
He continued to take photos at all of the appointed times, and each artist took photos at their appointed times. So, every Monday throughout 2001 is mapped a simultaneity of moments between a man in St Petersburg, and another or others in different places in the world.



Once the process of mapping time had begun, it became possible to order and analyse it, as an abstract idea and as a point of meditation and reflection on passing.
The first exposure of the project occurred in April 2001 at the Mildura Art Centre in Australia, curated by Lucia Markuzza, exposing the early stage of Parallel Lives.
A comprehensive exhibition, with all of the participants, will be held in the Ekaterinburg branch of the State Centre for Modern Art. At the same time, parts of the project will be made available online from 01.01.02.

The photographs of the project are held in a central archive in cyberspace. Each artist participant is able to make an exhibition of the project by downloading the images and printing or otherwise presenting them for show in a public gallery.
This idea of a commonly-owned archive, accessible at all times to all of the participants, is uniquely possible only due to new media technology. The democratisation of the curatorial process, the common ownership of the works, the accessibility of the art-objects, represents the glimmerings of a breakthrough in the empowerment of the artist.


Parallel Lives is not at an end. In fact it has made a beginning. The process is open to continuation, and welcoming new artists.

G McIver & I Baskin



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