As unique as she is, I have a suspicion there might actually be several copies of Regina Demina going around the world simultaneously.
I did meet instances of her in real life. The first time was during a meeting at her new record label, Marc Collin’s Kwaidan Records, during which, after I was briefed on her soon-to-materialize musical project, she casually pulled from her bag an iPad-sized chunk of tombstone with l’Été meurtier, the title of her first EP, engraved on it in gold letters.
We touched on all of the requisite elements of an artist bio: her unconventional origins (her parents are Ukrainian political refugees who were exiled to France, and she spent her childhood in a sort of legal void, with no declared nationality), the many, many collaborations she accrued while partying around Paris, her modelling career (she was cast on the street, just like that), her recent attempts at a formal education (she attended the coveted Le Fresnoy contemporary arts research centre’s audiovisual program), and how it all finally led to a chance meeting with Collin, with whom she is currently developing her new songs, to be featured alongside her early musical experimentations on said debut EP. A full-length, Hystéries, is slated to follow in the spring of 2018.
But somehow none of that raw data accounts for the sheer volume of visual, performance – and now sonic – artistry that Regina outputs, in what seems likes a constant Internet-driven stream that defies geography and generations.
The Fresnoy stint had its perks (it is often cited as a gearhead wonderland), but the creation-as-education format mostly gave Regina the opportunity to pick which parts of the “business” she felt most comfortable in. While directing and scoring her graduation project (ALMA, a multimedia show in which sound and light where the actors) she realized that media (and the constraints of institutions) stood as hindrances for what she finds primordial: “I don’t feel like I belong in the director’s chair, being responsible for production logistics and all that” she admits during our second meeting in a 10th arrondissement café. “I’m more of a storyteller, and I’m not so concerned with what form – or finality – the stories end up taking.”
A fearless autodidactic instinct led Regina to experiment with electronic and electroacoustic gear, but also with theatre, performance, dance, and visual art. With each artform influencing the next in the midst of her creation, suffice to say that listing her many influences (90s club flyers and Venus flytraps come to mind among a profusion of more formal, yet still genre-defying, references) is pointless in explaining how it all comes together. The records we will soon get a chance to hear will serve to exhibit but one facet the Deminaverse.
And as for how she manages to make it all happen, the mystery remains. A few weeks after our last meeting, she was set to leave for Goa, India, to take part in the multidisciplinary Serendipity Arts Festival. And just as I was finishing up my first draft of this bio, I get a “Good News!” email from her announcing a four-event residency at Palais de Tokyo, during which she will be presenting one aspect of her work each week, in the form of a concert/performance/installation that will welcome the audience at its very core.
Maybe it is that the stories do, in the end, take on a life of their own.
Régina Demina’s tracks