The following interview forms part of a series where I invite a number of contemporary artists to each reflect on their personal history, meaning and philosophy, and how those are expressed throughout their creative process.
This week I talk to Kamil Czapiga aka Cosmodernism, an artist based in Poland who creates his works using ‘creative microscopy’ and macro photography. In this interview, Czapiga tells me what unexplained questions he finds most intriguing, which projects he is working on next, and what an artwork depicting his current experience of the world might look like.
Tell me about your piece, ‘Absorpt On’.
It was a casual private project to test newly acquired film editing skills. Provoked by the first lockdown in March 2020, I dusted off a long unused microscope and started re-mixing various substances that I could find in my home on the microscope slides. The combination of two of them (properly selected cleaning fluids) gave me a very satisfying effect and I spent a few days trying to squeeze as much out of this reaction as possible. I treat this project as a fun test, nothing serious. More advanced projects are coming.
You describe your work as “at the intersection of the unexplained, unspeakable and unimaginable but not impossible”. Which unexplained questions do you find most intriguing?
I have a lot of questions, but with each passing day I accept that it’s totally okay that I don’t know the answers. I am neither a chemist nor a scientist. However, I use laboratory equipment that allows me to observe phenomena that are invisible to the naked eye. For over two years I have been exploring the secrets of microscopy and I have the impression that there are more and more questions instead of less.
I have lost myself in the microworld, and I use my scientific ignorance to carelessly and naively carry out various experiments, just to see what will happen and to admire the observed phenomena. Apart from my creative activity, the most interesting unanswered questions for me are “Where is the universe?”, “What is life like on other planets?” and “Is telepathy possible under the right conditions?” I will probably never know the answers to them but I feel very comfortable with that. We don’t need to know everything 😉
You write that you “delight [in] the diversity and beauty of the phenomena that occur around us every day”. Do you think it’s possible to find beauty in anything?
Yes, I believe that with the right look, we are able to find beauty that inspires, in its own way, in everything that surrounds us. These can be natural phenomena, the miracle of life, physics, chemistry, shapes, colors of the world around us. Also, these seemingly unattractive things and events that we observe can provoke us to beautiful thoughts and feelings, to delight, which is the essence of beauty. Sometimes, seeing the stunning reflex of light in the windshield of a passing car may turn out to be the most beautiful thing that will happen to us in the most unexpected moment. We have to be watchful and keep our eyes wide opened.
Where do you see your projects going next? Are there other materials you are interested in exploring?
It is important to note that this is my side hobby project. I am a tattoo artist and illustrator on a daily basis. I try not to push my creativity too much, and let Cosmodernism move freely at its own pace. Sometimes I spend several weeks in intensive experimentation working on the image capture, sometimes I take a break for several months, just to get back to explorations with a fresh perspective and excitement. I would definitely like to explore more of the paths I already know, but at the same time I cannot resist spending my time looking for new “miracles” and “weirdness”.
The microscope is just one of the tools I use. I also often use macro photography, I play with optics a lot and recently I have spent some time on my first sound experiments, which have become an integral part of my video productions. The most attractive substance I have used so far is the ferrofluid and I know that most of my upcoming experiments will be based on its magnetic properties. Operating a magnetic field and observing the chemical and physical reactions it can cause is something that turns me on tremendously.
Do you believe there are limits to human creativity?
I believe that the human mind is beautiful and infinite. Looking at the achievements of mankind over the past millennia, it seems unfair to me to think about any limits of human creativity. How art and science develop (drones on Mars!) intimidates me every day. Maybe that’s naive, but I try to think of our species in this idealistic way. The most beautiful works and inventions are still ahead of us 🙂
If there were an artwork to depict your current experience of the world, what might it include?
I think in its simplest form it could be an empty aquarium waiting for you to fill it with beautiful ideas and thoughts. The world we know is beyond comprehension for a single person. Each of us feels and experiences only a narrow part of it. However, we can try to make this fragment, the “aquarium” in which we live, beautiful, peaceful and friendly to the people with whom we share the space. It doesn’t matter if it’s real or virtual.
See more of Cosmodernism’s works and keep up to date with upcoming exhibitions: Instagram