Multidisciplinary art projects,

Art direction, Geneva

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Funkhaus, Berlin 2014

1985 - From Russia to Europe: experiencing multiple identities

Natalia Stepanova (Smikai) was born in Moscow in 1985 at the twilight of the Soviet Union. She was 11 years old when her family moved to France for her father’s job as a physics researcher at CERN. This experience would have a deep and lasting impact on her.  




2004 -2008 – a taste for
the interdisciplinary 

The master’s degree in political philosophy she was awarded from the Sorbonne in 2008 enabled her to widen her creative world. She started to connect the art she had loved since childhood with other disciplines such as philosophy, epistemology, Indian ethics, social sciences and cinema.



I grew up in a strange,

multi-dimensional universe, somewhere between quantum physics particles, Pink Floyd, the end of the USSR, the remedies of my healer grandmother, the warmth and beliefs of my country of origin and everything that my adopted country provided.”  

2012 - 2014 – Between the “natural” body and the body imagined by future scientific possibilities

In 2013, Natalia was fortunate to obtain an art studio in Funkhaus (former home of the East Germany broadcasting organization), alongside an enriching community of artists.


Privileging the “primitive” gesture of charcoal, she discovered futuristic electronic subcultures including cyberpunk, cybergoth, steampunk and afrofuturism.


A year later, this connection between archaic materials and contemporary perspectives would inspire her to create the performance Energeia.

"How will ancestral traditions be expressed in the future?” was the question at the heart of Energeia

2015 - 2016 - "Symbo-gestes", and the visualisation of our personal data 

Between 2015 and 2016, her work on the visualization of data and her research into ritual gestures led Smikai to create Symbo-gestes


The artist confronts the visualization of objective everyday data with intimate representations, which she calls “symbo-gestures”, born from the performance of paint on the body.