Artist Dmitry Vrubel became famous for his graffiti on the Berlin wall – “the fraternal kiss” Brezhnev and Honecker. But in recent years the author of the image, which became a symbol of the era, very busy with other art – virtual. Today the “MK” in the framework of the project “Art of Life” – sent in his unusual workshop. It differs from all other, because it is the portal of exit from the real world into the virtual, where you store the most famous works of art from different eras. Here a picture can be seen very close to touch. And even visit the Vernissage occurred for more than 10 years ago.

Most know the name of Dmitry Vrubel, one of the legendary – picture – with the ironic name of “Lord, help me to survive among this mortal love”. Savory kiss of the leaders of the USSR and the GDR – a picturesque repetition of the famous photo Barbara Klemm – appeared on the Berlin wall just at the moment when the real political barrier wall turned into a monument of history. 10 years ago, Dmitry with his wife and co-author Victoria Timofeeva and his youngest son Artem moved closer to his creation in Berlin. And in 2017, long before the pandemic, have isolated themselves in his apartment-Studio to create a new Museum reality – virtual. And created VRTEKУ – public Museum with free entry.

VR-Museum is arranged as a computer game. You see your hands and feet, push button (W — walk forward A — left S — down D — right) and walk in different galleries around the world. You can zoom in and see the smallest details of the painting, touching the canvas of the virtual hand, or go away and consider the whole composition at once. The usual gaming environment technology for the Museum’s world – the know-how that enables everyone, from your sofa, to be close to the masterpieces of world culture. All journeys start the viewer from the artist’s Studio. More precisely, of a virtual copy of the room in the Berlin apartment Vrubel and Timofeeva. Here nothing more. White walls. Sofa. Bright window. Computer Desk with two monitors. And most importantly – wall with buttons-panels reminiscent of mailboxes. Clicking on the green “Go!”, being in the Museum hall at the other end of the world. About how this virtual Studio Museum and how isolation affects the development of VR technologies, we are talking to Dmitry and Victoria.

“clashes with the reality side window almost there.”

– What is your personal creativity zone?

I’m going to talk about the space in which Victoria lived in for the past 3.5 years, is a VR-space. We long thought, how it should be – our workshop or “home page” in our VR project. In the end I came to the conclusion that this place is identical to our real Berlin apartmentRNAi workshop. And reproduced in virtual reality. Of her starts, all travel in our projects. As an example: in 2008 we did “the Gospel project” in the Central house of artists during the modern art fair “Art-Moscow”. Now, straight from our workshop opens a door that offline leads in the nursery of his youngest son, and in the VR space through her guests fall in 2008 to the exhibition in Central house of artists, where six large halls. “The gospel project” was a trial balloon in our work. Now in the VR-Museum 54 artist from Bruegel and Velazquez, Kuindzhi and Briullov, to Banksy, Bulatov and Monastery. With one click the viewer gets from our Studio in new York’s Metropolitan Museum or the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Or is in the hall of the Tretyakov gallery “the appearance of Christ to the people.”

– Your departure from Moscow to Berlin can be called self-imposed isolation from domestic problems?

– We moved here in 2010, at the peak of what could be with an artist… In Russia, we were among the first ten artists according to some polls of fashion magazines and ratings. Speech of isolation was not. We just moved to the city where the picture of Brezhnev and Honecker, is known to all. Honestly, it was like moving to the next street. No escape.

– is it Important for you loneliness while working in the Studio? Can you work, if there is someone else?

– This is the number one problem. However, in VR-space, you basically work alone. When you create a virtual project, then you are one. It is close to the desire that was always in the offline world. You draw or do VR you alone. However, she has 25 years of working together. Can I call it loneliness, I don’t know…

How long can you stay in the Studio? A few days, weeks, months not to go in white light?

the Last 3.5 years since we started to engage in virtual reality – we almost never go out. My exit to the city is in the morning to walk the dog. And in the evening walks with her son Artem and Victoria. Every two days I go to the store in dekorativny period. And once or twice a week to take out the garbage. Other collisions with the side window offline the reality of recent years, I haven’t got. A couple of times a year to fly to Moscow to older children for a couple of days, or they come to us in Berlin. So quarantine is not greatly influenced our lives. Began to go less often, and travel in Russia until frozen.

– How important is it for you food, when inspiration strikes? Do you have your recipes to fuel creative activity.

Honestly – no. I forget to eat, on the contrary eat a lot when I work. For me it is not important.

“We break the total isolation”

– They say that many artists work in “altered state”? Is it for you? What helps you sink into it?

– Virtual reality is an altered state. First, you first make a draft on the monitor, as usual, made sketches, layouts 3D. And then put on the VR glasses and be inside of this project, which just did on a small monitor. This is pure magic. And secondly, glasses are two screens where nothing happens, but you move your head and resulting in your brain and creates a VR-world. For the first time in the history of mankind is a change of human consciousness not under the influence of chemicals, as usually happens – alcohol, drugs, Smoking, – and through the eyes. Purely optical thing, which, incidentally, shows the importance of eyes for our consciousness.

– People in order to live in the apartment for a few months, have to buy food. And what should be in your apartment, workshop, other than products?

We just updated our core materials and a half years ago. Is a computer with a very good graphics card, good monitor, four different pairs of VR glasses, a few routers to the Internet. Most of us do not have. That’s all we did before the pandemic.

– whether in your work are the subject of a viral leap year?

– VR is in itself a response to the total isolation that existed before the pandemic and is likely to remain after. This isolation from culture and education, which is 95% of humanity, regardless of the current situation. When I talk about VR, I argue, they say, each person can come to the Louvre. Talking about decoratinga time. And I say that the Louvre can take a year just 10 million people. To come to Paris, you need the money for the plane, accommodation in a very expensive city, and visa. Therefore, to Paris and to the Louvre takes a tiny number of people. The rest are isolated, and the VR helps to destroy it. This is the theme of our work and of the Museum, which we’re doing jointly with the design School of the Higher school of Economics “the learning Environment”. This is an opportunity to join the art and culture for all inhabitants of Russia and of the globe. Regardless of where they live, they can go to the Tretyakov gallery, the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of art.

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have done several projects. This curatorial project of Marat Gelman and Sergei Serov “Easter exhibition”, where works of designers on the theme of Easter week. In addition, our VR Museum has a hall dedicated to the project “Isotrace”. We placed it on a work by Tatiana Agenoy, which gathered 90 thousand likes. This homage to the scene from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn. And yet complements Vermeer’s hall, where his famous painting “Girl with a pearl earring”. There is a new Banksy work, inspired by Vermeer, “girl with a pierced eardrum” – now the heroine’s face graffiti covers the mask. Close to work in full size there is a monitor with a video of the English city of Bristol where there is graffiti.

“the brick and mortar world will be augmented.”

– That is, for a virtual reality future? How increased quarantine period, the interest in this format?

– For VR – present. This is already working technology. In the future it will change and it will not just VR glasses, and holograms or museums, made on a 3D printer of the Future… we don’t know. VR technology today. Now more than ever, increased interest in virtual reality. Only what I wrote buddy and asked him to throw the link (hyperlink – M. M.) for one of our exhibitions. It turned out, to visit him came a friend with the glasses. Earlier one did not go to visit with VR–glasses, and now! Yes, quarantine and pandemic give rise to fear that the brick and mortar world ends, but it’s impossible. It will simply be augmented VR. People will have access to the cultural riches of civilization through modern technology, especially VR. Prior to a pandemic virtual reality was different. Not that a more cautious, just no one knew. Now all talking about it and took some positions – who “for” who “against”. For VR-artists now a very interesting time. Our virtual Museum is updated constantly (updated – M. M.), new rooms. The idea home of the Museum coincides with the times of my youth – the 70-80th years when went to someone for a visit and watched something from our family albums with paintings, such as Rembrandt. Everyone can now have such a personal album, but not paper, and virtual, where they are in natural size with the perfect lighting and excellent resolution. And this is a breakthrough of the blockade and cultural isolation, which is a large part of mankind.

– When creating a Museum raises the question about copyright?

– we Have at the entrance to the Museum is the abbreviation CC0. This means that all the works that are in the Museum, licensed under Creative Commons Zero and fall within the definition of “free cultural works”. This license is issued by many museums around the world means that they assign rights to the user for free use of high-quality images. Museums step by step understand that is best is seeing some work in VR or digital, the viewer still wants to watch it offline. So we keep all the rights. Before museums took charge for the use of images, but now it’s public domain.

– Your forecast: how mass isolation will affect the culture?

– I think the pandemic produces in culture and education this same revolution, what technology produced the First and Second world wars. All of the processes associated with new technologies online, VR-om, rapidly became popular and increased its development. I think that this will have an impact not only on forms of culture and education, but also on availability. The entire cultural offline was paralyzed. And this memory will remain: the offline access can be restricted, and VR is always available. Even if you have no Internet, but VR uploaded, you can go to any Museum. ARTVRTEKA is a house Museum accessible to everyone.