2003-02-25 - The performance Ц Berliner Festspiele Berlin
Young homeless people from Moscow are talking from the stage about their everyday life. The main "instrument of production" of homeless youth is their speech. Endlessly retelling various stories, inventing every time new tales of all kinds and manners, they provoke fear, respect, sorrow, pity, sympathy for them. Retelling it once and twice, they are somehow giving back different journalistic cliche, "terrible incidents", invented not by themselves. But this stories become part of their inner mythology. It's impossible to understand and distinguish where truth and lies are. But you shall be charmed listening to them, because every homeless child is talented social actor. More precisely, he has to be such an actor. To get his everyday money. To stay within this community. Actually, we know almost nothing about their real life. And all we hear from their side is in fact not evident. Who knows, maybe their selfrepresentation-stories are much distant from the truth, which nobody essentially know.
2002-05-01 - Photo from G. Pervov Supported by the Ford Foundation. Ц Sankt-Petersburg
This project has been realized with support of the Museum of Revolutionary Movements in St-Petersburg, Russia, which collaborated on the Red Shelter Committee`s activities. Other members of the Committee were recruited from various social service agencies of the city of St-Petersburg.
In working on this project, I tried to reflect on the history of the charitable organizations in Russia during the 19th century. Interestingly, public attitudes toward charity were politically polarized, with one group favoring the notion that revolution was the only possible way to change society, the other insisting on private charity as the more efficient method.
Positioning this project between art and life, I wanted to pursue the question: what could and should be the competence and involvement of art, in addressing the problems of society? How shall we take mercy in the social structure? Perhaps, the very idea of it is defective and creates new problems like dependence. In my project, I attempted to involve the so-called disfavored groups of society into the creative process and foster conditions for communication among the different groups. In May 2002, we organized a concert by orphans and children from poor families for the occupants of a nursing home. We also helped finance the participation of a family at a musical competition in Moscow and staged a theater performance by homeless children, which I have been working for more than a year.
2000-07-15 - mixed media, prints, video, sound installation (the project by Elena Kovylina and Anna Abazieva) Ц Guelman Gallery, Moscow
This project is called “Heroines from the East”.
Here we are playing with stereotypes of Soviet Army’s policy of expansionism.
We disguise ourselves in military costumes. Then we draw something with Photoshop and… Now we are sitting on the Statue of Liberty’s head, afterwards we are rushing to the attack sitting naked on a tank muzzle.
This is a kind of feministic irony on totalitarian myths related to Soviet Russia.