Rebekah Volinsky

An Open-Ended Interview


ISSUE 37 | FASHION | FEB 2014

The author is Rebekah Volinsky, a 23-year old woman, raised in New England in a Russian Jewish family. She studied Studio Art in school and recently moved to Brooklyn to pursue more art opportunities. She was first introduced to Rebecca Volynsky when she was 17 after a confusion of undergraduate applications to the Rhode Island School of Design. Rebecca Volynsky is also a 23-year old woman, raised in New England in a Russian Jewish family—and an emerging artist.

The author first became aware of the third Rebecca Volinsky, another artist now in the middle of her career, while studying at a small international art school in a small French village when she was 20 years old. Rebecca Volinsky attended the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art for a semester 7 years before the author and lived just next door. She now lives in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as the author.

The author reached out to Rebecca Volinsky to conduct an interview for the occasion of the Hypocrite Reader’s February 2014 issue. Without Rebecca’s response, the author was left to submit her questions without answer.

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REBEKAH: Hi, nice to meet you, my name is Rebekah Volinsky [ rəbɛkə vəlɪn̩ski: ] Thanks for meeting me.

REBECCA:

 

REBEKAH: Oh, ha. Hmm, yeah.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Hey, do you ever go by a nickname?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Hmm, everyone always calls me “Bekah” but I think that looks weird in writing.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: What do you think of the name “Becky?”

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Do you have a middle name? I don’t . . .

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Because you spell your name with a “C” – does that mean you’re not Jewish?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Where are you from, originally? New England?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: I think my sister one time sent you an angry email directed at me . . . did you ever think another rvolinsky existed?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: That url is actually taken up by another Rebecca Volynsky, you know, rvolynsky.com. It’s an artist website, too. Do you ever get emails written to her?


Illustration by Fontaine Capel

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Yeah, she’s an artist, too. She’s my age. Err—I’m an artist, too. We’re 7 years younger than you.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: You’re the eldest.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: I had wanted to interview you about Fashion. I thought maybe an interesting conversation would result out of two Rebekah Volinsky’s speaking about a neutral topic.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Did you think I was a hoax?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Did you think my voicemail was creepy?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: But, aren’t you intrigued? Don’t you want to engage?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Don’t you think there must be some metaphysical consequence of this coincidence?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Yes, I do. Absolutely. Do you know the Jewish superstition when it comes to naming babies?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: White people name babies after living relatives: Junior, Henry the 8th, Louis the XVI. It’s some kind of honor or something. Jews don’t do that. Its bad luck. You name your baby “Roberta” and then your grandmother “Roberta” dies.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: So, the assumption behind it, the guiding principle, is that there is only enough room in the world for one “Roberta Volinsky.” This is true, this happened. My grandmother’s name is Roberta. And my half-goyish cousin, Tracy, named her quarter-Jewish, half-Dominican baby “Roberta.” Luckily the baby wasn’t fully Jewish, or else the older Roberta would really be dead by now. Even as it is, she had a stroke. She’s on her way out. I bet you when baby Roberta is old enough to be Bat Mitzvah-ed, that’ll really be it for my grandmother.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: No, I’m not being insensitive. This is fact. This is evidence. I need an informed theory.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Really, Rebecca, if we follow Roberta logic, you should be the one that’s worried here. You’re the oldest.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: The other Rebecca doesn’t count. She lives in Boston.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Do you think we think the same thoughts? We work in the same media already as it is . . .

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Well, how do you think of yourself in your video work?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Your personal presence. Is it just hints of yourself? Is it a performance of yourself?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: Yeah, I think I perform myself—the parts of myself I’m most uncomfortable with, feel uneasy about. Crying. Vulnerability. Falling. Failure. But, make it funny. . . Separate it from my personal experience and put it on the screen to make it not my sadness but platonic Sadness with a capital “S.” Separate myself from it to better accept it, I guess. I take my most private experiences and make them public. Then I see it how everyone else sees it. Then I’m just a member of the audience.

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: That’s what I’m doing now. That’s why I wanted to interview you and make a spectacle of it.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Because I’m afraid you have the life I want.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: You don’t see how that could be flashing like a big neon sign in my psyche?

REBEKAH: What was your childhood like?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Ok, ok, ok.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: The whims of Fashion in the contemporary art world. How do you relate?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: Do you think your work is in line with the fashion of the times?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: Just the right amount to get shown but not enough to lose your individuality?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: How did you get your first show?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: What do you account it to?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Huh? No, I’m sorry. I mean, do you think it was just that your work fit into current popular themes of the gallery scene?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Uhh, no. No. I’m sorry. I like your work. Uh. Next question: how did you get your second show?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: How do you feel your work has grown since you finished school?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: What did you do in the years in between when you finished school and now?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: How did you feel during that time?

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: No. No, I’m not just fishing for coincidences.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: I’m looking for advice.

REBECCA:

REBEKAH: Ok, how has the way you think about yourself and your place in relation to galleries and other artists changed over time?

REBECCA:

 

 

 

 

 

REBEKAH: Wait, but aren’t you worried that we’re the same, Rebecca?

REBECCA: