Dark Matter

Viktor Brim &

Human-made landscapes without people. Giant colossi of steel digging for rock. Fissured earth, steaming chimneys, heaps of scrap metal. Viktor Brim documents places of the past and present state of raw material production: the economy of extraction on which modern life is based. In addition to the almost incomprehensible dimension of these places, the processes have a temporality that can only be grasped over time. This is why the artist's camera stands still when it observes, registers, records. Daniel Burkhardt writes the following about Brim's video art: »By exactly calculating the duration of his gaze and precisely cropping the image, he succeeds seemingly effortlessly in letting that which is viewed to speak for itself.«1 In this way, Brim gets by without any commentary. Instead, the finely arranged sound transmits the never resting whirring of the machines. His tableaux testify in their audiovisual power to the legacies of the planet's industrial exploitation, which is progressing unabated even under the impact of the climate catastrophe.

In his most recent film Dark Matter, Brim introduces a new level of abstraction: Out of dense fog, remains of debris, power poles, and sparsely lit up industrial plants dimly crystallize. The seemingly apocalyptic scenery alternates with landscapes whose hilly forms evoke the drape of a velvet cloth. Finally, the camera plunges into the huge hole of the world's largest so-called kimberlite pipe at Mirny in Yakutia in northeastern Siberia, which is surrounded by concentric roads. The contours of the diamond mine lose themselves in the deep black of the abyss, like an infinitely slow fall into the bottomless depths.

In addition to the video projection, a collection of artifacts in showcases in the installation's trapezoidal sheet metal lined room will be on display, pointing to the political and cultural connections behind the importance of Yakutia as a resource reservoir of the former Soviet Union and today's Russian Federation. The artist's book Imperial Objects, which is also on display, is supplemented by personal narratives and reports in the form of Brim's photographic and cinematic reappraisal of the complex history of the post-Soviet periphery. (Florian Wüst)

Artist statement
My work is based on the examination of spaces. By this I mean multilayered interconnections of geographical and mental places. The space we live in has fictional qualities; I show this in my work through the choice of material I collect during my travels to different places. Fiction is subject to dramaturgies, such as representations of power relations, ideologies, technologies, or belief systems. In the last four years, I have been working on the resource-rich landscape parts of Siberia. Here, gigantic dredgers have been digging into the earth's crust of post-apocalyptic and post-soviet territories for half a century. The geological overburden left behind, consisting of open-pit mines, infrastructures, debris, and ruins, becomes a relic, a fragment, a fiction that I engage with. (Viktor Brim)
1 Daniel Burkhardt, Monoscape, ZOOM – on moving images and audiovisual arts, https://en.khm.de/ZOOM/id.29044.monoscape/
Images: Viktor Brim, Dark Matter, 2020 © Viktor Brim & VG Bild-Kunst

About the video

Title Dark Matter
Year 2020
Videonale VIDEONALE.18
Length 00:19:52
Format Scope
Country Germany, Russia,
Language -
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, sound, single-channel 4K video installation, publication “Imperial Objects”, trapezoidal sheet metal, objects

About the artist

Viktor Brim
  • 1987 in Tashkent, UZB, lives and works in Cologne, GER.
    Studied at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, GER, at the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Potsdam, GER, and at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, GER

Insights at Videonale X

desktop selfie
“From cyberpunk to philosophy” Viktor Brim talks about his fascination with landscape and the technosphere.
The work Dark Matter is the starting point of the conversation between Tasja Langenbach and Viktor Brim, who deals in his artistic practice with the exploration of spaces as a link between geographical and mental places.