Ieva Raudsepa

Photo: Alia Ali

  • Atist In Residence 2020
  • Born in1992 in Latvia
  • NationalityLatvia
  • PeriodSeptember 24 - December 17, 2020 (85 days)
  • Website
For the residence in ARCUS

The starting point of my research was the five-minute long scene of a drive on urban highways from the 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky film Solaris. The episode was shot in the Tokyo districts of Akasaka and Iikura in 1971. The scene mixes black and white footage with color and some portrait shots, and is an interplay of time, space, and perception. In the movie, the parts shot in Tokyo represent a city of the future.

My research process was based on a set of questions. I was interested in the politics entwined in this episode. How did a Soviet film director decide to film “the future city” in Japan? As travel outside of the USSR was very restricted for Soviet nationals, did Tarkovsky experience any difficulties in the production of the scene? Why did he choose to shoot on the expressways and what is the history of the design and construction of the Shutoko—the Metropolitan Expressway—in Tokyo? How did construction of high-speed intercity roads change the fabric of the city? What are other examples depicting Tokyo as a future city in popular culture and imagination?

The ARCUS residency gave me the opportunity to explore these questions both by examining existing literature, images, and film, as well as interviewing experts in Japan and elsewhere. Additionally, I was able to meet with local curators to speak about previous projects and the research in progress. The ARCUS team gave me great support with getting in touch with people and institutions, as well as helping generate new ideas as to where to look, what to read, and with whom to speak.

I am now putting together all the knowledge and different histories I have gathered into something that will turn into a script or a structure for a video piece. Out of the research I have conducted, there are two main threads I am exploring in the video piece. The first is the representation of Tokyo as the city of the future. I am interested in the perception of the city in the context of postwar infrastructural development in Japan—the Shutoko being an example of this. Besides what was actually built, Tokyo as a future city has been represented in the imaginations of architects, writers, and filmmakers. I am interested here in the Metabolist movement as well as techno-orientalism.

The second main thread I am using is the speculative history of the production of the highway scene in Solaris and the Tarkovskian way of seeing the world as a set of metaphysical questions about life, death, love, and the meaning of human existence, and how that relates to visions of the future. I am exploring this while keeping in mind that Andrei Tarkovsky was a film director living and producing movies under a political regime that limited and censored his work. I will create fictional narratives for the video, while referring to the research I have conducted during the residency in 2020, and I will film it when it is possible to physically go to Japan.

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1992, Ieva Raudsepa is now based in Los Angeles. After studying philosophy at the University of Latvia, she received an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. As someone born following the independence of Latvia from the Soviet Union, and brought up during the subsequent period of transition from communism to capitalism, Raudsepa’s work attempts mainly through photography and video to capture her fellow members of this young generation that emerged immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In her video practice, she creates narratives by effectively fusing theory and fiction, and then re-questions these narratives at a metalevel. Alongside revealing the fictionality of a performance by having actors perform in everyday spaces, she is interested in what actual circumstances tell us by chance.

[Selected Exhibitions and Activities]
2019 Future Ghosts, Human Resources, Los Angeles, USA
2019 Haunts, CalArts 2019 MFA Exhibition, Track 16, Los Angeles
2019 It Could Just Swallow You Up, ISSP Gallery, Riga, Latvia
2019 Futures Photography, Unseen, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2018 Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe, Calvert 22 Foundation, London, UK

Reasons for Selection
Ieva Raudsepa plans to make a video work inspired by Solaris, the 1972 film by Andrei Tarkovsky. Solaris features the then newly constructed Shuto Expressway, a highway in Tokyo, as a symbol of the future city. The Shuto Expressway, which facilitates high-speed movement, encompasses both a sense of a present day where the prior rhythms of the city are dismantled while new rhythms are formed as well as premonitions of a future where this will accelerate even further. Raudsepa plans to conduct online research on the changes to Tokyo caused by the construction of the Shuto Expressway, and then write a script interweaving this with fiction. In our present, where economies and people’s lives have slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, Raudsepa’s practice will explore with a skeptical eye how modern society desires and mythologizes speed.

Selected WorksShow Image
ActivitiesShow Image

Resident Artists 2020

Ieva Raudsepa  <Latvia>

millonaliu [Klodiana Millona & Yuan Chun Liu]  <Albania/Taiwan>

OLTA  <Japan>