Performance and pictorial representation… in sand

As unlikely as it may seem artist Kseniya Simonova won the 2009 series of Ukraine’s Got Talent by telling a story through the manipulation of sand on a lit board. In seconds she was able to create the image of a couple sitting holding hands on a park bench and then with a few sweeps of her hand dramatically change the mood of the scene to illustrate the devastating effect of war in a way that reduced several members of the audience to tears. View her amazing sand animation here.

Simonova is not the first to create impressive representations using sand. While Simonova’s creations are monochromatic Tibetan monks have for centuries been creating vibrantly coloured and intricately designed sand mandelas which represent mansions for deities. The mandelas are created over the course of days as different coloured sand is applied to the intricate design. Once completed the Mandela is then ceremoniously dismantled in line with the Tibetan belief that nothing is permanent.

Both the Tibetan mandelas and Simonova’s sand animations have a powerful impact on observers. In these cases, as in other forms of pictorial representation (paintings, photographs, maps, diagrams), a question is raised as to how it is possible that two-dimensional objects do represent. In his article on pictorial representation John Kulvicki surveys the different philosophical theories that attempt to account for this phenomenon.

For a news report on Kseniya Simonova and her art click here.

Related articles:
Pictorial Representation
John Kulvicki, Dartmouth College
(Vol. 1, September 2006)
Philosophy Compass

Works and Performances in the Performing Arts
David Davies , McGill University, Montreal
(Vol. 4, July 2009)
Philosophy Compass

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