Regolith is a collaborative film between fashion designer Nensi Avetisian, musician Karina Kazaryan (KP Transmission), and set designer Katya Starostina, documenting the idea of processes within artistic practices. By creating a mysterious and - at times - uneasy atmosphere, Regolith delves deep to explore the intricacies of the everyday artistic process. Documented through a performance, eroded materials and concrete objects grind against opposing fabrics to create unique sounds through an all-consuming immersive experience. Intrigued by this unique way of working and penned with a curiosity to explore the yet undiscovered, Christina Donoghue spoke with film director Sasha Klimov to understand how the film came together and the unique concept that spurred its production.
Christina Donoghue: Can you speak a bit about the overall film, what it's about and how you came up with the concept for it?
Sasha Klimov: I have been following Nensi's work for a long time and decided to contact with the hopes of collaborating. She told me about Karina (KP Transmission), and after listening to her music, I felt very inspired. As a photographer, I started thinking about Karina's storytelling through a series of photographs. I started thinking about how she writes her music - often using sounds recorded in the natural environment, such as the grinding of metal or falling stones.
Realising the potential of film and how, when used as a tool, I could demonstrate sounds simultaneously, I decided this would be the best way to showcase the collaboration... and so we started making a film.
During our zoom brainstorms as a newly put-together team, we decided to develop the idea of documenting a performance that interacted with textures, sound and space through collaboration, with three artists at the centre of this: Karina, Nensi and Katya.
The sculptures from the film built by Katya Starostina were made from found objects around Moscow and represent the physical appearance of Karina's music. She brought lots of objects which Karina usually uses while searching for new sounds for her music, and we started to build spaces, making music out of these metal and concrete pieces.
Karina is wearing garments by Nensi Avetisian made from upcycled materials that she found in second-hand stores. The structure from the Armenian church embossed in some parts of the clothes is inspired by Armenian traditions, culture, craft, and co-exist with Nensi's early works directing her study of utility as a wearable transition of it.
CD: How did you get into fashion film and filmmaking as a whole?
SK: I've been doing portrait and fashion photography for the last few years, but this is the first time I've done a film.
Initially, it was supposed to be a photoshoot, but we eventually realised that the video format would be more suitable. I was really excited to take on the role of director, and fortunately, I was very lucky with the team at hand.
CD: How would you describe the film 'Regolith'?
SK: It is a sensual and dark film that immerses you in the mystery of creating a work and art through both trial and error.
CD: Where does the film get its name from? And how did you settle on choosing this particular name for the film?
SK: We got the name after shooting the film.
Our heroine Karina suggested it as a parallel between the colour of concrete we used for the design set (it resembles a lunar soil) and a reference to ambient music, which evokes associations with space.
CD: What do you hope for the viewer to learn or take away from Regolith?
SK: I would like more people to know about the film's heroes and their work, and I would like to inspire as many people as possible to express themselves through art.
CD: How did you come up with the concept for Regolith, and what challenges did you overcome (if any) when translating this concept visually?
SK: My initial concept was very different from what we decided to do in the end. Initially, I wrote a script with linear plot development, but later we decided to abandon it. We were joined by the talented Katya Starostina, who helped create a whole world of objects in an empty room.
All objects were found by her and transformed during the production of the film. She created new shapes from objects right in the space where we were shooting. Overall, I think everything turned out to be better than I could possibly imagine.