Rave documentation: Alyona Baranoff
Alyona Baranoff
Alyona Baranoff is a London-based American-born artist. Growing up between Moscow and Boston, she moved to Berlin as a teen. The city’s nightlife scene has served as a major inspiration for her work. Her work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and auctions in Berlin and London and published online and in print.

Documentation of rave culture is a process of archivization and mythological storytelling in equal measure. Raves are preserved through digital imagery so vulnerable and so prone to dislocation, reformatting and reshares. A way to challenge the inherent fragmentary nature of party documentation are slower forms of storytelling. Alyona Baranoff deals with this through her multidisciplinary practice.

Through painting, she slows down the images thoughtfully selected from the obscure social media outlets to which they have been exiled by a censorious webspace. In doing so, she continues the cycle of new life that is the nature of images, and that is the source of their deliverance. “In the moment” transitory images gain a visceral tactility. A fleeting kiss, an inhale of smoke, a slip of a heel - the zoomed-in, freeze-frame ephemera of half-conscious crowds become depthful and measured. Painting to her comes as a form of image-making with a much more loaded history. The act of painting is a way for her to spend more time with a singular idea, seeing how it translates into paint, playing with it through alteration. Paintings as archive, documenting a world that is prone to disappearing.

No one can really be the sole subject of a good rave document - the inevitable masses of limbs brushing past a dance floor portrait suggest a subversion of oneness where each body inadvertently in-frame is part of the story. That is the founding thought of Alyona’s rave videos. Hordes of bodies share their origins and journeys without a single unifying narrative and are linked through only through the cuts.

Anna Brown