Purple Magazine

regina demina


interview and photography by OLIVIER ZAHM
style by IMRUH ASHA 

the neoromantic, digital dreams in regina demina’s first album are the musical side of a young artist whose universe spans writing, theater, video, and performance: a world of love, pain, and illusion, populated by sensitive androids.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your first album is called “Hysteria.” Do you identify with hysteria?
REGINA DEMINA — It’s a 10-track album. I know it’s a bit of an old-fashioned term, but in a way, yes. Plus, it’s been proven now that our limbic system is active in the stomach, that there are lots of emotional peaks that come from the stomach and not from the brain, except that it’s not just specific to women. So, I identify with this quite a lot, this visceral, emotional thing: the power of the womb and the uterus.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You sing, you make videos, you perform; your works combine it all. You write plays too. How would you define yourself?
REGINA DEMINA — As an artist. I enjoy being a performer, an actress, a singer, or working with other people, I like to collaborate. It enriches me. I work at the intersection of all these practices. I enjoy creating what I call “total works”, as much as I enjoy simply performing for others. They are vessels of communication. I like changes of scale, of context, of practices. It’s very French to say that if you work in several disciplines, you’re not doing anything at all. But actually, you have to know how to sing, to dance, to direct, to write… you have to know how to do everything.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Everything begins with you?
REGINA DEMINA — Absolutely. I am my own instrument. My work branches off in many directions; it’s a bit like a tree structure, with a fauna of recurring symbols. There are things that you can find in my music, for instance, that recur in my plays, or texts from the album that are actually excerpts from other texts or videos.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your videos are very beautiful.
REGINA DEMINA — Thank you.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you construct your persona, this creature who is a little foreign to the world, to her­self?
REGINA DEMINA — It’s not very methodical. Let’s say that I imagine a kind of mythology of myself. But it’s improvised… I mean, I don’t plan that my persona will do this or that, be one way or the other. It’s more about mixing. Different works flow into one another. It’s really a kind of personal mythology.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And is this mythology a way of defending yourself against your fears, of protecting yourself from the real world?
REGINA DEMINA — I think so. In the same way that children like to be told the same scary story a thousand times, because they already know the horrible thing that is about to happen, they know how it will happen, and so they understand and control their fears in that way. I think I do the opposite: I put the negative things, the things that have scared me, into my stories. That way, at least, I didn’t experience them for nothing; I can sublimate them, in the sense of creative sublimation. And I like storytelling, repetition. That’s why I love theatre, music, songs, etc. I love repeating things. I like forms that can be perfected ad infinitum, within which I can make a kind of character live. These worlds are very reassuring, actually, compared to reality. Even if my stories recount strange things, or phantasmagorical or terrible things, I find it very reassuring. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — You are an obsessive creator.
REGINA DEMINA — That’s right. All I think about is creating or performing, whether it’s for myself, or for other people’s roles…

OLIVIER ZAHM — You live in your own world.
REGINA DEMINA — I live in creation.

OLIVIER ZAHM — And does love inspire you?
REGINA DEMINA — Yes. I’m obsessed with love. It transports me to other places. It makes me sick too.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is it a negative or a positive balance?
REGINA DEMINA — I try to tip the balance toward the positive because I’m somewhat addicted to passionate love affairs, and at the same time, it’s my fuel. I wish I weren’t addicted to relationships, but…

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you addicted to the other person, or are you addicted to the stories you tell yourself with the other person?
REGINA DEMINA — A bit of both. When it’s lukewarm, I get bored. It has to be passionate. But, of course, the counterpart to passion is that at some point it drives you crazy. In fact, I had two passionate relationships one after the other. It was pretty weird. And both of them really inspired the album. I’ve also made three plays out of them. The worst of the two was with a person I would never want to see again. If I could choose, I’d prefer to never have met this person who almost destroyed me… Morbid romanticism.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Morbid romanticism.
REGINA DEMINA — Yeah… What interested me was to see it through a contemporary lens. And it’s also an aesthetic that suits me, a kind of contemporary delirium, that, nevertheless, harks back to the Pre-Raphaelites, with low-rise buildings alongside semi-abandoned areas of vegetation, and all the cemeteries around Paris, etc. I find it very moving. It’s Eros and Thanatos. But I don’t want to work on that now because I think there’s a bit of a rape culture delirium going on in the real world and it troubles me. This relationship was the worst thing that ever happened to me, and yet it was the most generative one. I don’t know if I want to work on death so much anymore. On the other hand, I’m still working, and I will always be working around some kind of melancholy. I know that at the moment, I’m more interested in working on joy, because I’m so afraid of it disappearing, even when things are good. It always makes for a charged relationship. I mean, fear is always there, even in joy — the fear of losing happiness or things like that. I’ll never be into that whole tropical fruit, palm tree fantasy. I don’t know if I want to include this person in the interview, maybe I can talk about the other one, the person who came after and picked up the pieces.

OLIVIER ZAHM — All love affairs usually end badly. You don’t hear people talking or singing about them if they end well.   
REGINA DEMINA — Not necessarily. Though in many cases, yeah. But the moment something ends, it becomes a bit tragic. From the moment you have to detach yourself from someone with whom you were viscerally connected, it’s necessarily tragic, it’s necessarily heartbreaking. Even if it’s a good thing in the end, I don’t just say bye, ciao, now we’re going to go live our own lives and that’s great. Even if it’s necessary to leave, it’s really difficult. 

OLIVIER ZAHM — Is love the last thing connecting us to a form of transcendence, that comes to us from out of nowhere?
REGINA DEMINA — Maybe, but for me it has more to do with childhood and games. It’s about a relationship to spontaneity, a space of fluidity, of daydreaming and games. It speaks to the child in me.

OLIVIER ZAHM — So it’s akin to creation. 
REGINA DEMINA — That’s it. I find it playful and beautiful — it gives you wings, opens the imagination, creates worlds. Lovers create a kind of world within the world, but a little apart from the world. I, too, tend toward the more enclosed experiences. Maybe that’s why I’m into the passionate and fusional stuff too. It creates spaces in the world, but outside of the world, with another person you know.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Okay. So, you have a hard time working if you’re not in love.
REGINA DEMINA — Yeah, but in reality, I’m always a little in love. Otherwise, it’s useless, it’s completely useless.

OLIVIER ZAHM — You’re lucky.
REGINA DEMINA — I don’t know if I’m lucky all the time, but in the end, it’s just a way of life, choosing to love. It’s a risky choice. It could be real love, or it could be imaginary love…

OLIVIER ZAHM — Or light-hearted, fleeting love affairs.
REGINA DEMINA — Yeah, but I’m not really into casual relationships. When I have a love affair with someone, if they make an impression on me, it lasts a bit. The idea of a love that lasts three years annoys me.

OLIVIER ZAHM — A year of passion, a year of boredom, a year of conflict?
REGINA DEMINA — I don’t want to think like that.



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