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PhD Research

5-Year PhD Trajectory

During my five-year doctoral research trajectory, I explored the means by which the fundamental features of lyric poetry can be conveyed through an audio-visual medium:

(1) form,
(2) musical qualities,
(3) figurative language,
(4) non-narrative, vertical investigation of the situation, and
(5) the first-person point of view/ a self-reflexive speaker.

The research places particular emphasis on the most specific and direct use of lyric poetry within live performance, poetry in drawings and filmed poetry.

The research instruments (the analysis of live performances/poetry visualisations and the practical experiments in my own productions) led to a better understanding of my poetry-in-performance practice within contemporary poetry field and serve as an impetus for realising lyric poetry within the audio-visual medium.

The research question was addressed from two interlocking perspectives.

On the one hand, an overview of the existing theory was given. I chose symphonism as a theoretical framework-thread of my research (‘conversations with symphonism’). Symphonism was where I discussed and evaluated the theories that are most relevant to my research. I analysed how A.Bely and M.Čiurlionis applied the method of symphonism in their art works.

On the other hand, this theoretical investigation provided input for the series of my own poetry-in-performance experiments. My goal was to use methods such as theory on symphonism, poetry-in-performance and visualisations of poetry in ink and film to find out how can a lyric poem be expressed on stage and in audio-visual medium.

Since I write in Russian and in English, one of the side-questions that I tried to answer during the research period is ‘What is the effect of a different language on the combination of text and image’?

The practical part of this research work, poetry-in-performance, is realised in collaboration with and under the guidance of Sara Maino, Theatre Director/Performer (Italy).

The practical part, poetry-in-ink-and-film, was realised in collaboration with Bart Dewolf (visual artist, Belgium), Sam Billen (animation artist, Belgium), Aram Karakhanyan (actor, Armenia) and Sara Maino (multimedia artist, Italy).

PhD Dissertation

The culmination of my research
manifested in a two-year experiment detailed in my dissertation entitled “Symphonism as a Strategy for Translating Lyric Poetry into Audio-Visual Aria.” This endeavour delved into the question of how to transpose a written poem into alternative media such as music, painting, or film, with a specific focus on prosody and language rhythm.

Central to this inquiry was the concept of symphonism, which emerged in the early 20th century. Two key inquiries arose: Firstly, does this modernist notion retain relevance as an artistic framework for cross-media transformations? Secondly, how can the formal aspects of linguistic rhythm be adapted and integrated to suit the requirements of melody, static images, and moving visuals?

To explore these questions, I devised four experiments in collaboration with the vocalist John David Vandevert, composer Giorgio Briani, and visual artist Sara Maino. Beginning with my poem “Foresta Rossa,” crafted in response to Maino’s painting “Da-No,” we collectively endeavoured to address the latter inquiry, while ongoing discussion and analysis throughout the process scrutinised the former. Thus, the absence of a definitive origin point underscores the inherently transformative nature of the endeavour, prompting deeper reflections on the interplay between diverse media and their respective exigencies.

Dr. Volkmar Mühleis (supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
Dr. Jan Peeters (co-supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
Dr. Steven Malliet (co-supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)

University: KU Leuven/LUCA School of Arts
Research Unit: Image
Duration: 2018 – 2023

From left to right: Marina Kazakova (researcher), Annelies Monsere (Head of research unit ‘Image’), Jan Peeters (co-supervisor), Volkmar Muhleis (supervisor)

Outcomes of the research:

  1. The book “Symphonism as a strategy of translating a lyric poem into drawings” published by Fractalia Press

2. The book “Symphonism as a strategy of translating a lyric poem into an audio-visual aria” published by Fractalia Press