Filmmaker Kira Bursky’s projections installation opens through Vibe of Asheville

STAY A WHILE: Celeste Gray, left, and Kira Bursky are pictured inside Bursky’s installation ‘Considerations of Infinity.’ The multiprojector art project was created as part of Bursky’s artist residency through Gray’s Vibe of Asheville initiative. Visitors can book the apartment and vacation within Bursky's work, which explores themes of depression, creativity and magic. Photo by Jeff Haffner

Sharing art with an audience is a vulnerable experience — especially when that work is raw and personal. And when the venue for public viewing is also the artist’s living space, it adds an extra level of poignancy and exposure. Considerations of Infinity, an immersive video installation by local filmmaker Kira Bursky is just that: intimate, revealing and set within Bursky’s downtown Asheville apartment.

As part of Asheville Stay’s Vibe of Asheville artist residency, the exhibition is open to the public on the second Wednesday of each month, December-June, starting Wednesday, Dec. 11. Other events around Considerations of Infinity — which examines depression, creativity and hope through surrounds of light, imagery and spoken word — include an immersive night on Saturday, Jan. 25, and a film premiere and gallery opening on Saturday, March 7.

It’s not a spoiler to say Considerations of Infinity starts with an image of Bursky, naked. Tastefully, modestly nude, but unclothed, nonetheless. It sets the bar for the level of exposure and soul disclosure of the show. A narrative delivered in an urgent whisper accompanies the flurry of images that are sometimes flung across the apartment’s walls and ceilings and other times rotating in place or wavering, 3D-like, thanks to an effect Bursky created with tulle panels.

Considerations of Infinity is, to an extent, part of a bigger project. Bursky, who has created more than 60 short films and music videos (and is still in her early 20s), is in the process of writing her first full-length film in an effort to take her career to the next level. The Vibe of Asheville installation “parallels and ties into everything I’ll be exploring in my feature screenplay,” she explains. “I had this idea that it would be so amazing to create an environment that represented the vibes, imagery and storyline that I’ll be exploring … and once I created that environment, continue writing the script while immersed in that world.”

But Bursky’s not the only one who will live in that crafted setting. As part of Asheville Stay, visitors to this city (or locals looking for a staycation) can book Bursky’s apartment while she’s out of town and reside among the installation. Part of the programming is a user-friendly setup that will allow visitors to launch the projections (including a serene starscape in the bedroom) with the touch of a button.

“I think that people are often searching for more depth. They want to have an experience,” says Celeste Gray, owner of Asheville Stay. She likens the vacation rental within the installation to adventure travel.

Asheville Stay comprises 10 light-filled, modern, fully equipped lofts in downtown Asheville. When Gray (who is also a maker) first began creating vacation rentals on Chicken Alley and Carolina Lane — formerly home to low-rent artist residences and performance spaces like The Big Idea and The Green Door — her neighbors thought she was crazy. “Innovation is always a little like, ‘Are you sure?’” Gray points out. “But I’m constantly seeking innovation in my work.”

“The vibe of every city begins with its creators” is the tagline for Vibe of Asheville, the artist residency/event arm of Asheville Stay that Gray hopes to expand to other cities. Doing so will allow for artists who are part of the program to grow their audiences and connections, and will bring creatives from other regions to Asheville (an artist from Switzerland has already applied for a residency).

But the immediate impact is that the residency provides creative people with a fully serviced apartment so they can focus on work instead of, say, vacuuming. “How can we all come up with creative and equitable solutions that address economic disparities?” Gray asks, rhetorically. “Why do we have starving artists? We need to take care of our creators.”

And, she continues, the artist residency does benefit the vacation rental arm of the business. “We can have altruistic tendencies built into any business,” Gray says. “To give opportunities to artists is a win-win-win because then tourists and locals … can experience the world of the artist. It adds another dimension of intimacy and connection to the work.”

For Bursky, the opportunity to create a world within her living space has resulted in “happy accidents.” Space and time to experiment led her to push the limits of her abilities in how she uses projections, and “now I’m starting to look at future projects in a new way,” she says.

But what the artist most wants to share with viewers of Considerations of Infinity is a sense of wonder. “It’s possible to rediscover the magic, and if you haven’t even discovered it yet, it’s possible to find it,” Bursky says. “We all have the ability to live lives of infinite possibility.”

WHAT: Considerations of Infinity
WHERE: Downtown Asheville; address shared with ticket holders
WHEN: Open exhibition second Wednesdays of each month, December-June, starting Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7-9 p.m., $15; Immersive Night Saturday, Jan. 25, 7-9:30 p.m., $125. Info and tickets at ashevillestay.com/vibe-events


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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