Blog February 3, 2016


#hybridity #techpoetry #futusensualism #metanoia 

You must strip yourself of every sentiment, of everything to which man clings. Unless you do this, you are but halfhearted in your enterprise.

Honore de Balzac, “Séraphîta”, 1897


The epigraph from Balzac’s mystic novel “Séraphîta” is not accidental, because these are words of the main character Séraphîta who is an androgynous character. Reading this novel deeply touched my imagination. First of all, because it was exactly how I imagined this concept, one that doesn’t appeal to a body only, but also to spirit. In other words, Séraphîta is like an angel on the verge of a final transformation which will rid him of his body and carry to heaven. Similar to a principle of stage-by-stage creation of jewellery (from an origin of idea to embodiment in material), the attitude: retreat from terrestrial desire to elevate your soul, goes back to a process of a change. From this transitional state the identification of a process of creation of my jewellery with the principles of androgyny results.

darja popolitova jewellery

Brooch: stabilized wood, silver, steel 


Why androgynous jewellery
When we speak about androgynous jewellery, I think we mean something more figurative than a jewellery for both genders. I assume that I change the meaning of this word depending on context and that I deal with interpretation. Firstly, because this term doesn’t concern me directly, i.e. I am not androgynous in a classical understanding of this word. It means that the term has developed as a consequence over researching the subject. In other words, while having provided myself with literature, I tried to apply the concept of androgyny to materiality of jewellery. However, it has also the direct effect on me because it has reflected my own evolution; the research has changed my attitude towards concept of gender, and created jewellery, first of all, is my own gospel.

It is necessary to understand that the keys for understanding are materials and technologies with its physical-chemical and symbolical meanings. Therefore, we can claim that we deal with symbolism. The task consists in finding out what are the material qualities that is a source of androgynous meaning?


Brooch: stabilized wood, resin, pigment, silver, steel 

Techpoetry is a thing that speaks to us about the programmed breathing of technologies used for an embodiment of this jewellery. In other words, I try to understand, has technology made jewellery less poetical? What is the dream-like aspect of jewellery that is created by means of newer technologies. For this purpose I interpret to avoid mechanical lexicon. It is fascinating to look at how the perception of a work changes while being described. Because a thing finds its charm only when existing not in technology but in the lyrics about it.


Brooch: stabilized wood, resin, pigment, silver, steel 

I have called my works “Metanoia” because meaning of this word describes precisely the technologies I use. I think, the name of your work should be weird and simple enough. There is an opinion of the director of the Brooklyn MuseuArnold Lehman, who says that the title may be provocative and to suggest but not tell what this series of exhibitions was all about.

The Bible interprets word Metanoia as “repentance;” while many modern sources treat it as “change of mindset.” Metanoia means a radical change of the intellectual attitude towards itself, to all former physical and desirable realia.

From the practical point of view, I was excited by the question: what could be the technology that is similar to metanoia’s  changeable principle, what could be the technical approach that modifies a matter?

Before the components of jewellery became a finished piece, they had to undergo several phases of modification – from material to digital. Manually created clay shapes are 3D scanned by phone app and transformed into millions of pixels. The digital file cut by machines becomes physically perfect only because of the presence of individual. Similar to a principle of metanoia is technology’s bodiless character.


In other words the process is gradual. The steps are — organic shape, 3D scan, then CNC milling. In a complex it creates a source that is similar to one of the androgynous meaning — metanoial transition from one state to another.


During my observation of different authors’ theoretical works, one common point appeared among them. Both futurologists and philosophers developed the concept of androgyny while perceiving it in the future. There is belief that mankind thanks to technologies gives rise to a new, super-human who is able to fertilise himself and think on an elevated level. I strive to focus on a prognosis in regards of erotical future. Where do love and the sensual parts of it find themselves? Do we need any romantic love in this case?

Could it be that this perfect androgyny is put in a code of evolution or maybe this can be reached by progress? Similar to jewellery that have passed stages from sensual and manual to controllably multipliable, sensuality can only then be unique, if technical error occurs.

How pleasant it is to cut off the relief from the programmed mill. How resolute is to humanize a surface. By feeling it with your hands, it is possible to recognise it’s temperate, – it is dauntlessly precise though spontaneously streamline.


Brooch: reonstructed horn, silver, steel 

Hybrid materials are the synthetically processed natural materials. There is a wide range of them nowadays, such as reconstructed stone, stabilized wood, artificial horn, etc. In the hybrid material there are all the ultimate qualities you can think of. When you touch its surface long enough, you start to feel its wholeness – the sum of opposites of natural and synthetic fused into smooth and homogenous matter. These materials have the perfect atmosphere, it is steady and self-contained.

Various theorists and scholars support my research practice but I am especially interested in Nikolay Berdayev’s investigation into the wholeness of gender and how it is applicable to contemporary jewellery practise. One of the research questions could be rephrased as: how to recreate the quality of wholeness without simply combining materials in jewellery?

For me androgyny is a recreation of the lost wholeness of a person. And I wished to embody this idea in jewellery, to support it by materials and also by its technical process. Therefore, I took so called hybrid materials in which two substances fuse in one.

darja popolitova jewellery

Brooch: stabilized wood, resin, pigment, silver, steel