MediaArtLab is a non-profit research platform founded in 2000 by the artist Alexey Isaev and art critic Olga Shishko. MediaArtLab was the first organization in Russia to study, exhibit, and promote media art in all its forms: video and sound art, net art, interactive art, split-screen cinematography, and video games.
Throughout its history, MediaArtLab has organized many pathfinding events in our country: the first festival of digital art; the first academic conference on the problems of media culture and copyright on the Internet; the first screening of split-screen films; creation of the first collection of Russian video art; the first exhibition of mockumentary works.
MediaArtLab began its history with the Pro&Contra symposium (2000), dedicated to the problems of contemporary culture in the digital information space. As part of the symposium, a round table was held at the Government of the Russian Federation, which significantly influenced the liberalization of the discourse on legislative regulation of the Internet.
One of the most important events in the history of MediaArtLab is Media Forum, which was part of the Moscow International Film Festival from 2000 to 2015. It was a special program that included works at the junction of video art and experimental cinematography, designed to study screen culture in all its diversity. It was at the Media Forum that video art was first screened at a major commercial film festival, and afterwards the works of video artists began to be included in the programs of festivals in Venice and Cannes. Over the years, Media Forum has included an annual competition, video screenings, educational programs, as well as large-scale exhibitions at partner venues, including the Garage Center for Contemporary Art, the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation, and other institutions.
Over twenty years, MediaArtLab has formed its own international community of media artists, experimental filmmakers, documentary filmmakers, and video activists. Over the years, the organization has been compiling its own collection of media works, which today includes 2,500 works that are available to professionals and can be demonstrated for educational purposes. The collection includes anthologies of Russian and Western video art, chronicles of multimedia art, net art and the latest video art, as well as works by video art pioneers since the 1960s.
During all twenty years of its work, MediaArtLab has been moving towards creating its own museum of multimedia works. The first steps towards this goal were large educational projects on the history of new technologies in art, starting with the cinema experiments of the 1920s and up to the latest works of net art, including the MediaMuseum presented at the Theater of Nations and then at the Fabrika Center for Contemporary Art.
In 2012, MediaArtLab became part of the Manege Exhibition Association, where the Museum of Screen Culture was opened, fulfilling the team’s long-standing dream. At the Manege, MediaArtLab implemented its own educational program titled Manege/MediaArtLab Open School; held many conferences on the language of new media; opened more than twenty exhibitions, including a large-scale multi-screen installation by Peter Greenaway “The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde” in 2014.
In 2016, MediaArtLab team joined the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, where the department of film and media art was established, which laid the foundation for The Pushkin Museum XXI program.