On Thursday, April 30th, on what is a regular night out in Berlin (okay, any hour of the day is a reason to be out in Berlin), Marina Zumi will create her own special experience from her studio. The Argentinian-born, Berlin-based installation artist has found a special energy in her newest light installations, and in the span of 45 minutes, will create an almost cosmic experience on the Juxtapoz Instagram in what can confidently claim will truly be a “virtual experience.” For us, it's a chance to go into the cosmos with our friend and escape for a bit.

After working with Zumi on the Juxtapoz Clubhouse storefronts in Miami in 2018, we are excited to learn about how her project in Finland was aborted just after takeoff when the pandemic hit Europe, as well as the quiet generosity of Berliners and how the pause has helped her focus on a sense of calm in her studio.

The Juxtapoz  IG Live takeover will occur at 10PM Berlin time, Thursday, April 30, which is 1PM West Coast, 4PM East Coast, and 5pm in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo! 

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Evan Pricco: Were you in Finland or Berlin when you found out that you were probably going to be home for a long time?  
Marina Zumi: I arrived March 6 in Berlin just for the last weekend when all was still open. There were measures to wash your hands and don’t touch the face even on my way to Finland on February 26th, for what was my last project before the lock down. That whole exhibition lasted 8 days even though it was supposed to be a 6 month program. 

During the week the restrictions became harder, and Italy was starting to give signs of the big problems to come. I have to confess that I went out for a drink with my friend and assistant, Mora, to catch up at the end of the week, and that was the last time out. After living in Brazil  with the threat of yellow fever, Zika, influenza, and Dengue Fever (which I believe I had!),  just to name a few, at first I wasn’t worried! But I was wrong. Everything was getting very serious, and by that Saturday, all bars and clubs closed and all the shops started to fade, so we got prepared to be at home and not hug each other any more... which for me, hurts.   

Has it been quiet? With Berlin being such a nightlife, social city,  I can imagine it's very, very different. 
I must admit that I feel very fortunate to be here. Yes, all has changed, but you know what about this party city? As if they were raving... they take care of each other! In Germany I feel that the “social distancing” was not so hard to implement, because even though I  love my German fellows, I know they like to keep a distance and obey the rules of what to do or not, and in this case, for the common good. If these rules had not come from the authorities, don’t worry! My neighbors will still tell you if what you are doing is out of line!

Yes, all is quiet and I miss the endless drifter feeling, the flaneur freedom, the intense people and the ones that like to get loose. But the water in the canal is cleaner, we smile at each other, take walks, and meet outside. though we don’t touch! You see a whole city taking care of each other. It’s a parallel world we just woke up to, and I still feel everyone is in adaptation mode. We are not sure how things are going to  re-activate, because, just to be clear, I don't believe “It’s going to come back to normal.” Fuck that.

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I know you have a large space to work in. Are you able to get there often? How has your schedule changed? 
Right now I split my work schedule to half in my apartment, half at my actual studio. The city feels like a movie: pass through Museum Island and there are no tourists. So biking to the studio brought me a sense of freedom and movement when you need to sweat out some feelings. 

Then in the studio there is peace, more harmony and time to contemplate the dust floating under the columns of sunlight in the morning. And for days I had time to contemplate, dig for info, destroy my brain, cry a lot, contemplate more, meditate and finally, after weeks I started to come back to art again. I know I have this big space and it's a beauty. 

Last week I went back to sewing, and then after that repetitive action I started to connect with my synchro, meditation and the focus, again. The focus! And that sweet feeling when I’m planning two light installations, in the studio and at home, all is coming back. So I’m in the studio with many new feelings to throw out. 

Your work gives such a sense of escape; installations where you are transported into another world. Have you thought about how your work could potentially be very special for people, even in the digital realm, allowing them  to "walk" through these worlds with you?
In the black theater of the cosmos, light, frequencies, vibrations and energy are the manifestation of existence. There is an underlying message in my works that is about human connections. nature, crystal, animals, cosmic energy, and physicality,  this little thread that runs through everything I do. And I hope my installations create this little world where a chance awareness forms these connections between all our senses and the world around us. You know those intense feelings you have in childhood, when you sometimes remember how they used to feel, but you can’t quite even remember why? That's the world I try to create, the one you know exists when you put all the materialistic bullshit aside.

I’ve been thinking about new ways to record the installation, create some 3D virtual experiences like I’m seeing with some museums and galleries, but I need to find a good collaborator (hey you in Berlin! Hit me up!!). But I guess, for now, a “live video” will work. 

Are there things you are working on now that you haven't had a chance to work on in the past? 
I definitely have been thinking about new light installations in my home, to be able to do things through my windows or on my balcony, and just sort of experiment with new approaches. But I will talk about that more when I figure them out! 

I have been thinking about an App lately! I know it sounds weird coming from me, but I'm on my way. There is so much more to make, to develop and approach it the way I want to, but that is also more on an introspective angle. Last time I did a high tech art installation, it felt way more like in a tech demonstration than in an art installation. There was something missing; some poetry, a message, some sort of real connection. 

You creating this “live performance” for Juxtapoz this week on IG is such a good opportunity, a real treat,  because of your meditative practice and the good vibe that surrounds you. What are some good vibes you can share if we are feeling a bit stressed? 
Namaste and thanks for that! So, as if I’m talking to myself: Calm down, breathe, take a big chunk of AIR and feel yourself BLESSED, because that is the only thing that saves people and the thing you cannot buy at the moment. Contemplate your self, your body, your mind, be present and pay attention in the direction of your thoughts or the way you think. You don’t need to be your own martyr, let go of those bad thoughts and refocus and just try to get comfortable with yourself, alone with your mind for a long time. Just a basic thing. Make yourself happy, and just try to share it!

Reminder, Marina Zumi will be creating a special experience for the Juxtapoz  IG Live takeover at 10PM Berlin time, Thursday, April 30, which is 1PM West Coast, 4PM East Coast, and 5pm in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo! 

All studio photos by Mora Kirchner