Observation Station

Total installation/ mixed media, 2010

2010 - "Observation Station" was presented as Marina Fomenko solo show at Moscow Museum of Modern Art

"Observation Station" was nominated for "Kandinsky Prize 2010" in nomination Media Art Project of the Year.

«Observation Station» is a total installation that explores new life conditions of contemporary human being who constantly is or might find himself under surveillance.

In our everyday life we watch others or find ourselves under surveillance almost all the time. We are being watched by surveillance cameras in airports, hotels, shops, and motorways. We allow others to learn about us on the Internet and observe other people. A great number of photo and video lovers observe everything around them. We are spied from satellites; we peep into other people’s windows.

The «Observation Station» project is a total installation where the atmosphere of surveillance thickens, creating a closed concentrated space of surveillance. Anyone who enters the Station finds himself involved in the process of observation.

An observation station is a hypothetical structural component of the hypothetical global observation system. The Observation Station produces different types of observations: observation of the objects observed by the Station, observations to visitors of the Station, self-observation of this very Observation Station, observation of the Supervisor of the Station, surveillance of ourselves, observation of collections of observations and so on. 
We now find the Observation Station as it is being relocated. But all of its departments continue working.

Station operations are overseen by the Station Supervisor, who is a person in charge of safekeeping of the archives of the observation, photo, audio & video archives, which are stored in the Observation Station, as well as for recovery of damaged archives and collections of employees by the Observation Station and for destruction of unnecessary observation records.

The working process of the Observation Station is organized in accordance to its life cycle: from collecting observations till their destruction.
The Station consists of five functional units: Accumulator, Isolation ward, Observation point, Translator, Destruction Point.

Accumulator is the central archive of the Observation Station where all observations are collected.

Isolation Ward is a temporary shelter of “injured” archives and collections of observations.

Observation Point is the office of the Observation Station. A working place for the Supervisor is located here and systematization of observations is held as well as current audio and photo – achieves of observations are saved. 
At the observation point maximum the number of types of observations are shown:
- observation of the observation units 
- observation of the visitors of the station
- observation of the Observation Station
-observation of the observers of the Observation Station
- observation of the Supervisor
- observation of oneself by himself etc.

Translator is a multi channeled video archive of the Observation Station.

Destruction Point is the place where observations that have become useless are destroyed.

The Project unites various genres, including photo and video, sound and flash animation. Audio, photo and video materials for «Observation Station» project were shot by the author in September 2009, during her visit to the artists’ residence of Upernavik Museum in Greenland.

Music - Alexander Senko


Prof. VERA DAZHINA about "The Observation Station" in Dialogue of Arts magazine



What kind of project was total installation created by Marina Fomenko? Her project, called "Observation Station", was spread over five halls of the  State Museum of Contemporary Art ofRussian Academy of Arts on Gogol Boulevard. And the word "total" was here in both literal and metaphorical sense. In first case we saw the installation, which occupied several rooms, and in second case, we spoke about a title which implies a system of "total survaillance" of a modern society, where every person is in the observation field of another person. Provoking a certain situation - in this case "relocatuion of the Observation Station" - the artist determined the certain "rout" within the installation space: from the "Accumulator" through the "Isolation Ward", "Observation Point" and "Translator" to "Destruction Point". Here one could find yuorself in the middle of vicious cucle of getting information, its storage, transmission and destruction. The semantic space of the installation was so tense that you felt it phisically as an invisible presence of a hazard.  "Big brother" is watching you  - from video-windows, from screens, through the eyes of survaillance cameras, through the lenses of video-cameras. With all the lexical adequacy of the project, and its fairly modern way of expression, its concept and form of its representation were fairly unusial, and genre of total installation is still an exceptional phenomenon on the Russian art scene. Therefore, we wanted to clarify some interesting issues in personal interview with the author.


Vera Dazhina"Observation of the Object of Observation",

"Dialogue of Arts", №5, 2010