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Elizaveta Zemlyanova: Art Must Be Alive

</DOCA_demo2020/>: starting a dialogue about the future
Elizaveta Zemlyanova: Art Must Be Alive

The Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) is an independent awareness project aimed at popularising contemporary art. This is an annual festival with the participation of Russian and international artists, renowned craftspeople, and students. This year, the project’s programme was changed because of the pandemic. However, that was not an obstacle but an opportunity to create a new unique format of the event. Elizaveta Zemlyanova, the curator of DOCA project, told about the organisation of the forthcoming festival taking place on October 24-25, 2020.

w_DOCA_0T.jpg Elizaveta Zemlyanova
Dean of the Faculty of Design of IGUMO, curator of the Days of Contemporary Art (DOCA) international festival

DOCA is traditionally held in April. However, this year, the pandemic made its adjustments to the plans of the festival’s organisers. According to Elizaveta Zemlyanova, no consideration was given to an online format of the event at once. Art requires a full immersion from the audience. The unique atmosphere and open communication are the key elements of DOCA. 

“We kept the topic that we were developing for the festival in April and shifted the event to this October. It turned out that our dialogue within DOCA has a prolonged effect. This academic year, we will hold two festivals at once. One of them will take place in autumn and will be a demo version of the main event”, explains Elizaveta Zemlyanova.


The topic of this year’s festival is Not Now Yet. The DOCA’s venue will become a space for the rendering of the future. Any participant will be able to design multiple development concepts of the future. 

“Any artistic project is always based on intuitive knowledge and creative thinking. We live in the era of rapid technological development and expansion of artificial intelligence. However, an artist can’t be replaced by a machine. Only an author can create a subjective interpretation of the future guided by new intuitive ethics”, emphasizes Elizaveta Zemlyanova. That was the very concept put into the basis of the 8th DOCA festival.


The demo festival’s topic will fully coincide with that of the main event. However, the autumn event will take place in a completely new format. The demo version of DOCA will include all the main elements of the main festival: entertaining and musical programmes, exhibition, and educational activities with minor changes. The exhibition will still be participated by both professional artists and students. That will be a peculiar preview: guests will see most works at the festival in spring. 

</DOCA_demo2020/> is the beginning of a dialogue about the future. It will set the topics for further consideration.


A number of features of the autumn event will be determined by ‘pandemic’ precautions. The festival will be organised in a more structured way than usual. Anyone can register for DOCA but should specify the date and time of attending it. That will limit the number of people in the halls and create safe conditions for all festival guests. 

The educational activities will also have a narrower but at the same time more intensive format. The demo festival will have no usual lectures about contemporary art. Instead of that, guests will take part in workshops and fab-labs. On the one hand, that will reduce the number of people in a limited space. On the other hand, the educational process will become even more interesting and interactive.


“We preserved the favourite format of our guests: workshops where students of the Faculties of Design, Photography, and Architecture prepare projects jointly with experienced and renowned masters. One of the four planned collaborations will be presented in autumn”, comments Elizaveta Zemlyanova. 

Performances of contemporary musicians will be the highlight of the festival’s entertaining programme. The organisers decided to replace the concert format with a unique DJ set throughout the day.


“It is fundamentally important for us that the festival continues to live offline. That helps us meet old friends, make new acquaintances, and communicate with visitors”. 

“We also wanted to support artists. It is especially important for them that their works are presented in real space, that the exhibition has its own atmosphere, and that the audience has the opportunity to fully immerse in the art, to communicate with like-minders and authors. Live communication is an integral part of culture”, says Elizaveta Zemlyanova.


To popularise contemporary art is the main task of the festival. Organisers worked hard on that during the pandemic. During the self-isolation period, DOCA-talk lectures with leading Russian and international artists took place regularly in an online format. 

Modern technologies make it possible to unite people from different countries, increase the scale of a project, and erase borders. However, the live festival, albeit in a demo format, became an obvious necessity caused by a sincere desire to have a face-to-face dialogue about contemporary art. 

DOCA website: 

Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov

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Global Women Media news agency

© 1996-2020 The Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies
All rights reserved Global Women Media news agency