Alina Pentac

Interview with Alina Pentac

Alina Pentac, 27 years old, graduated in painting from the Bucharest Art Academy.

- How did you start to work with new technologies?

When I entered the Art Academy, there were no classes on new technologies and media arts, the faculty was created later.

I have always worked with computers, I love experimenting, to moving a lot, and have a flair for new things. Immediately after I graduated, with five friends we founded a group. Basing ourselves exclusively on experimenting, we participated in and made many exhibitions. As a name for the group we chose Rostopasca. This is an herb (Greater Celandine, lat. Chelidonium majus). In small amounts it is a medicinal herb, but in large doses it is lethal. Maybe we were pushing each other forward, we said to each other, let's do it, we supported each other…

- Were there other women in the group?

Yes, three, as compared to two men. When we founded the group I didn't think about gender questions, we grew up together, and from the beginning we were like a family. Everything came about quite spontaneously. I didn't think, these are women and those are men, this is men's art, that is women's art and this is more important or less important for me. Together with Rostopasca we had many successes, but later suddenly we grew up, and the desire to do other things arose…

- Have you felt some kind of pressure in the art circles as a woman artist?

I felt the power of men at the Academy, as a student. This is a traditional institution, but I am a person with very open thinking and ignored it. But I felt this power on myself, at the time, from my professors, various little frustrating comments, but now I don't feel any pressure of that kind, in the professional context.

- You are the author of the site <>, which presents contemporary Romanian art. The concept and design is yours, you maintain the information and update it regularly. When did you start working on this project?

Approximately two years ago, I don't remember exactly. Before that I always had the feeling that in my work I can do something useful for more people. I had the desire to work on something with which I could be useful also to other artists, so that they would become known on the international scene. One simple idea in this direction was to make this site. I came across much understanding, and many people supported me in this idea. The site is a visual archive of contemporary art.

- How do you manage? Such projects are a lot of work for one person, collecting the information, maintaining the site. Do you face problems?

I am a very open person. The computer is my left hand, and I solve technical problems very quickly. I'm well organized, but also I have a whole team helping me. A friend of mine helps me with the technical tasks. I also work together with Ruxandra Balaci and Raluca Velisar.

- How is the structure of the site organized? Are there links to other sites?

There are some links to institutions, but this is a private project. The structure is built up as an online gallery for new technologies, but on the other hand there is also a section presenting traditional media such as sculpture, painting, graphics and others. The exhibitions in town are represented, critical articles about them are published, news briefs. There is a column with the artist of the month, online versions of the magazines for contemporary art in Romania - ArteLier, Arta, Balkon, Arhitext design, DeSIGN Buletin.

- How often do you update the information?

Whenever I have time, but I see to it that I don't neglect the work, I can say that I work systematically and often update the information, while striving to present everything new that is happening here. But there's this constant problem with bad telephone lines and slow access, that's something that really makes my work more difficult.

- How do you imagine the future of the project?

For now we are presenting and promoting Romanian art. But I would like to extend that to all of Eastern Europe. To create an archive of contemporary East European art.

- All of Eastern Europe, is that not a quite ambitious task, which would require a structure and funding?

I definitely like challenges and big ideas that require a lot of energy.

In July I presented the site in Venice, and the feedback was very positive. I have invitations to a number of important festivals and conferences in the context of contemporary art and new technologies until the end of the year. People are interested in this project, and that means that it's fulfilling its role and is needed, this gives me the strength to continue.

- How do you contact with the artists you are presenting, how do you select the information, do you plan to set up a mailing list in the context of the site? After all, you said that this is a private project, aren't you faced with problems and accusations that you are doing all that for your own sake? You don't publish the personal e-mail or postal addresses for contacting the artists?

As I already mentioned, I work together with Ruxandra Balaci and Raluca Velisar. Our responsibility on this question is shared. I receive the information about the artists from them.

In Romania every artist works with a gallery, and that's where the entire information about him or her is kept, including possibly a contact address. On the site you can find the full information about contacting the galleries. In this project I don't present myself, I'm also an artist, but when speaking about this site, I can say that I'm very correct towards the artists, and generally towards the people I work with.

- What are the languages used on the site?

The information is provided only in English After all, this is the language of the Net, and the function of this site is to be used from abroad.

- Why .com, doesn't this sound commercial to you?

No, I had the opportunity to reserve the domain, and by now the project is well-known under this name, and I don't intend to change it.

- Do you have funding for <>?

No! At this stage I deal with the financial side of things alone. Well, of course I rely on the support and help of the people I work with, and of my friends.

Dimitrina Sevova - In Someone Else's Skin (2001)
Index of the Interviews