Archive for the ‘TransActions’ Category

Polish visual artists Dominik Lejman and Karolina Wysocka invited me to travel through Poland with them to document Soviet-era murals, which are a part of vanishing identity in the country. I was in Poland conducting this TransAction between July 3 and July 18. I will have some documentation here shortly and I also sent some documentation to Artists Unite’s member network.
A video based on the project is here:


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described by Peter Ferko

Curator Katherine Carl and Architect Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss proposed a TransAction concerning their project, Lost Highway Expedition. Srdjan is Serbian, Carl is American, they lived most recently in Basel, Switzerland. The Lost Highway Expedition took place last summer on a route between the capitals of the countries formerly combined as Yugoslavia.

The TransAction interchange was a collaboration in a multi-tiered circumstance that is probably best to outline:

  1. Carl/Weiss were asked to collaborate with Neurotransmitter (Valerie Tevere and Angel Nevarez) on the project “FM Ferry Experiment.” FM Ferry Experiment was a radio transmission from the Staten Island Ferry conducted over three weekends in September. (Tevere and Nevarez participated in the Lost Highway Project.)
  2. Katherine and Srdjan asked me to participate in the radio broadcast as a TransAction. It was clear from the beginning that I would most likely be doing the live broadcast from the boat on my own.
  3. My contribution was to describe photographs taken on the Expedition, which I had heard much about, but was unable to attend. I had no idea what the photos were of, but I did have the chance to see them beforehand.
  4. Ferko, Carl, Weiss making recordingSchedules required us to come up with a plan B, as none of us seemed available for the boat. So we made a recording to submit as our collaboration.
  5. An interesting development was that I had become available to do the broadcast live, so we knew going into the recording that I would be using the recording as a backup, if at all. The recording of that event is here as an MP3 below.
  6. recording_studio_approacches.jpgWhen the date came, I boarded the boat to do a performance in which I re-enacted my improvisation of descriptions of places I’d never been, and played segments from the recording of my globe-trotting collaborators, who had refrained from speaking during my descriptions (as a way of implying not being there); while Neurotransmitter, who had been there and were there now, were too busy dealing with the challenges of broadcasting from a working ferry to be able to listen live (but will be putting podcasts of the show online). We were required to tear down the studio during my segment and concluded it about an hour later on another boat. valerie_cell-casts.jpgValerie resorted to “cell-casting” a portion from her mobile phone while Angel re-set up the studio. The film crew shooting footage for a documentary on radio was happy to have the action!

Every layer of the circumstance was a source of excitement, and I felt that the art that emerged was successful; the entire TransAction was priceless in terms of helping me be a part of an Expedition I had hoped to join, and in meeting new artists Tevere and Nevarez, whose work I had admired from afar.

MP3 of the TransAction.

Some of the images described:


1072816552_ac18b632a2_o.jpg by Kyong Park

1295429250_9eafa6a5d8_o1.jpg by Ana Dzokic

1072828076_1d6ef489a6_o.jpg by Giulia Fiocca & Laia Solé

1105622614_11a85e7ecc_o.jpg by TBD

1105027875_dd25c6255d_o.jpg by Ana Dzokic

1238724931_f58cafcecc_b.jpg  by Kyong Park

more to come…

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by Peter Ferko

Russian artist Piotr Shvetsov and I met several years ago and take advantage of opportunities to get together when we are in the same country. Shvetsov participates in the project Now:Here:This.

At a recent meeting in the U.S., Shvetsov mentioned that he wanted the chance to do simultaneous portaits with a mutual artist friend. I followed up on that idea when I was planning to be in St. Petersburg in May, 2007. I sent Shvetsov a description of the TransAction project and proposed that we have a TransAction in which we make mutual portraits. (A description of the TransAction project is under the About this Project tab).

The St. Petersburg visit did not offer an opportunity for the joint portrait session, as Shvetsov was busy preparing an installation to be shown at Art Moskva. I took advantage of a studio visit to make his portrait.


Piotr Shvetsov, Peter Ferko, 2007, St. Petersburg, photograph

Nevertheless, the artistic exchange continued and the TransAction continued providing value. St. Petersburg is the home of the Hermitage, but also hosts an active group of contemporary artists and is beginning to sport commercial galleries. As the contemporary artists know most of each other, they form a tight group. dsc_0097.jpg

At an opening in a new gallery that consists of a doorway in a stairwell of the Pushkinskaya 10 art center, the work surprised several local artists, including Piotr Shvetsov, who showed up as “Daddy Cool.”

I hung out with Shvetsov and a group of artists and spouses after the show. While I can’t say I followed much of the Russian conversation, a nice chat with one video artist showed that things are similar everywhere: in a large city one gets lost, in a smaller city one knows everyone, but feels like there should be more happening.

dsc_0090.jpgWe headed to Moscow later in the week and hit Art Moskva art fair, now in its 11th year.

After the fair, Shvetsov and I (and our family members) had a chance to relax a bit more, and he turned attention back to his half of the TransAction “bargain.”

Just when it seemed as though the convergence of free time and drawing materials would not occur, artistic creativity came to the rescue.

As we walked from our rented apartment toward the Metro station, Shvetsov arrived at his portraiture idea. Scouting the walkway, he picked up a discarded cigarette, pulled off the filter, sat me down on a railing and commenced my portrait by dipping the filter into a puddle of water and drawing on the asphalt.

dsc_0139.jpgdsc_0141-1.jpgThe activity drew the attention of nearby shoppers. Chris Bashirov Newton documented the activities. The work was as fleeting as it was inspired. With crude materials and working against time, Shvetsov made a remarkably good likeness that I will treasure in my memory.


Peter Ferko, Piotr Shvetsov, 2007, water on asphalt in Moscow

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