Podcast Series - Walking with Water
Episode 3: Conversation, Serbian Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2022

Biljana Ćirić & Vladimir Nikolić

The conversation between curator Biljana Ćirić and artist Vladimir Nikolić around the Walking with Water project is presented as an archive of ideas, concepts and entangled positions incorporated in a podcast format. Biljana Ćirić notes, "During the making of the Walking with Water, we walked with, swam with, thought with and stretched capacities to listen to one another. Our entanglement created this show at the Serbian Pavilion, exposing our vulnerabilities and strengths".

The podcast format persists in the same working methodology as a curatorial proposition of "walking with and caring with". It contains some reading extracts from the conversation between Ćirić and Nikolić. The latest is structured in three parts entitled: Walking with, Swimming with and A Document, and are comprised in the publication Walking with Water. The podcast also includes segments from the first public reflection on the conceptual framing of Walking with Water during the Public moment in Novi Sad, where another discussion between the two took place.

One of the critical topics in the recent 59th Biennale of Venice was the relationship between technology and our bodies. Living through the pandemic and the isolation it caused, technology became our mode of connection and simultaneously a means of separation. It accelerated the difference between the privileged and those who are not. Those whose worldview is mediated by the screen and those whose view remains reliant on the eye as a direct optical instrument. In Walking with Water, the artist reflects on these perspectives.

Through the body of his two newly created works, 800 m and A Document, the artist demonstrates the two dominant formats of painting -vertical and horizontal- and two distinct sets of relationships. One is the view from an eye observing from afar, mentally detached. On the other, the viewer's body is situated as part of the picture, with no distance from it. 

Filmed by a drone, 800m takes a bird's eye view, a colonial perspective for creating pictures. This view today is extended and abstracted to our phone screen through google maps and other devices that define our perception of time and space. Here, the video shows us the artist's body as it swims, which could constantly be scrolling through the screen.

On the other hand, A Document takes a human-eye perspective, created from the artist's patience and slowness, and practised as a methodology for achieving perfect viewing conditions. The painting is constructed by employing modern technology to retrograde ends in order to project a two-dimensional human field of vision.