By Pete Zamplas
Award-winning filmmaker Kira Bursky offers a distinctive panoramic and interactive experience, with her spectacular half-hour multi-media Considerations of Infinity.
The ongoing video-based, avant-garde art “installation” is about progression from depression to creativity to fulfillment.
There is one regular public viewing session per month, on each second Wednesday through June 2020. The next show is Jan. 8, 7-9 p.m. Admission is $15. The opening was Nov. 18.
A two-bedroom apartment in Downtown Asheville transforms into a cinematic studio, mainly using the large living room-kitchen area. Bursky rents it from Celeste Gray, and is mid-way into a year-long artist residency there.
Two special events are also there, and organized by Gray. An “immersive night” is Saturday, Jan. 25, 7-9:30 p.m.
The “surreal explosion” has six “respected WNC visual artists” spontaneously creating works. This includes filming “warped perceptions of reality” on video, getting ideas from people’s “vivid dreams,” and concocting a musical “soundscape,” Gray said. Public admission is limited to 15 for this fundraiser, is $125, and includes a meal and drinks.
The six artists’ creations will be exhibited March 7, at the premiere of a brief documentary on making Considerations of Infinity.
Bursky gave The Tribune a special viewing of Considerations of Infinity, and explained her emotional themes and creative flourishes. She expresses a theme of emotional and artistic growth.
She surrounds the viewer with video images such as of herself, people dancing underwater from her recent video “Re Entry,” blooming flowers, colorful animated art forms, mobile light varying shades and moods, and three-dimensional effects.
We see Bursky on a swing, as reference to childhood simple joy. The swing in the video is in the middle of the main room. “I fell in love with that swing,” upon first seeing it, Bursky said.
She uses a blank “green screen” backdrop, on which during editing to superimpose imagery around her on the swing. She noted all shots of her were filmed in the apartment.
For a few seconds, what we might call the artistic back wall simultaneously shows three images of her in distinctive form and mood — naked and sadly vulnerable, coping via creative writing and artistic purpose, and playful on the swing for joyous “infinity.”
Eight projectors cast images mostly on four walls and ceilings of the main room and two bedrooms. One projector is for an interactive wall.
Bursky’s whispering naration further sets tones.
“Depression to creativity to infinity” of possibilities and contentment is the three-phased progression and self-discovery, Bursky said. “A tiny sparkle inside my soul nudges me within my depression to start writing, start singing, start expressing…”
Considerations of Infinity is a step toward her first feature film — a “personal journey.” Bursky said “Depression is something I deal with,” and have for years. “What was I feeling down about? It’s hard to really sum up with words. That’s why I’m an artist, I suppose. My films, my songs, this installation … it’s my way of communicating my experience and perspective. Through the vibes that are birthed from subconscious-guided, intuition-based creative decisions, I can attempt to communicate what I simply cannot through just words.”
When “deep in my depression,” she burst through writer’s block to write her feelings then visually reflected them.
Artistic expression is cathartic, getting to creatively channel and “release my feelings,” she said. “Once the hardened emotion finally comes out, there is space for new feelings. This openness feels so refreshing, and lovely and inspiring. In this new state of inspiration and passion, my soul recognizes the infiniteness of our potentialities, feelings, perspectives, pathways. I enter into a place of contentment, compassion, awe and wonder.”
Likewise, she said, “The whole entire voiceover (by her) was written in a state of depression, that transformed into inspiration and then ultimately freedom.”
Bursky felt gratified for impacting a 14-year-old local girl, whose mother wrote thanking Bursky’s “impactful, sensory experience that enabled” the daughter to relate and discuss “personal experiences of anxiety, depression and spirit.”
Bursky noted many who saw the show afterward “shared with me their personal experiences of dealing with depression. It is so beautiful to share this kind of authentic and vulnerable space with people. I am grateful that the installation sparks these kinds of conversations.”
The apartment is Bursky’s creative haven. “Kira can focus on her work in this creative space,” Gray said, without much upkeep as when living at a college. A cleaning service is among perks that Bursky said eases “stress.”
She gets a break on rent, and a share of vacation rental revenue for the unit for when she is out of town.
Gray since 2003 has operated Asheville Stay for travel rents in town, in ten lofts. She also sponsors artist residencies and events via Vibe of Asheville.
Bursky, 23, is two-time Music Video Asheville judges’ selection for best video and also editing — for Ian Ridenhour’s “Dancing Children” in 2017, then Ryan “RNB” Barber’s “Carolina Stomp” this year.
Bursky made it to the prestigious Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in 2015. That was for her 13-minute “Tree Hugger” on sexual assault and teen vulnerabilities, as a high school freshman’s fantasies are spoiled by her harsh realities.
Special effects whiz Bursky at age 13 learned stop-motion animation, first created videos, and launched her film production company All Around Artsy.
The Nyack, N.Y. native graduated form Interlochen (Mich.) Arts Academy’s motion picture arts program in 2014. She won the All American High School Film Festival’s best overall film honor in that year, for “We’re Okay.” She has studied in Asheville High’s School of Inquiry and Life Sciences (SILSA). She interned for a film company in NYC.
Kira’s performance bloodline is from her parents Jay (actor) and Lauren Bursky (vocalist).
Kira Bursky has already made more than 60 short films, documentaries and music videos. Her longest is a 22-minute “doc.” She has more than 33,000 YouTube subscribers. The prodigy also goes by Miss Whimsy, as a singer-songwriter and storyteller.
For Considerations of Infinity, synthetic music reflects each personal phase. Bursky said she chose music by emotional feel, but avoided agitative and stressful sound for the first phase about depression.
Viewing the installation varies per screen, and angle viewed. Many in the first two public viewings roamed about. The large family room opens from the kitchen counter near the front door. The main room has high walls and images there and on the ceiling, over a comfortable couch. Blank wall space is highest near the front door. Largest imagery is shown there — usually bigger than life-size.
The same image is often simultaneously projected with special effects onto what might be called the artistic wall. From the front door, that artistic wall is ahead and the back wall flanked by doors to two bedrooms.
Sometimes similar rather than same images are shown, such as types of flowers. Or the same image is show, but takes on a different effect elsewhere. The artistic wall has three fabric screens/scrims. Brightest light tones show up most on those screens as highlights, Bursky explained, while they are transparent to the rest of light and imagery seen only on the artistic wall.
A small, portable diorama shows the viewing action. Technical director Robert Gowan assisted with it.
In the interactive variant, viewers can move and aim an iPad to steer different color and light. Each show varies due to this “interactive wall,” Bursky said. “Visitors can manipulate the wall by roaming around the room with the iPad, and trying out different real time filters. If the iPad is pointed directly at the wall, an infinity loop effect will occur.” It projects “real time warped visuals of the space itself.”
Even window sills get in on the act. When people’s faces are shown, each face is framed within a sill. It is visible from inside, and just outside in the wide Carolina Lane alley. Light cannot shine into the apartment, or it will wash out projected images. Thus, shows are after dark.
Each bedroom can s how a looping video on the ceiling, that can play continuously. The room at left has relaxing, flowing colorful “galaxy” imagery, and can enhance meditation, Bursky noted.
The other room has either of two videos. “Collective Consciousness” shows many faces of people Bursky filmed. The other loop shows “souls swimming.” Such loops are easily activated by pushing a programming button. They also play during the half-hour video extravaganza.
Check www.patreon.com/allaroundarsy about Bursky, and http://ashevillestay.com/vibe-events for Asheville Stay rentals and events or call Celeste Gray at 275-5648.