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Probably, this is a performance about hopelessness in general. A hopelessness that arises when the dominant vertical of power is not willing to give its power to horizontal forces and change towards equality. This is a performance about violence caused by people unwilling to give their power away. And about the understanding of gender as a form of dominant and submissive behaviour.

Ascension resembles the labour of Sisyphus, and as we try to ascend, we confirm to this model of hierarchy. But is it worth it to spend so much effort? Or is it worth changing the «leadership» relationship model to a «partnership»?

The performance took place at the Artplay platform in 2015 within the framework of Mediaudar (Media Impact) on 6-th Moscow biennale.

Before the start of the performance, I said: «When we were little, we were told: you were born equal, you live in the fairest country and you have equal rights with everyone. Nevertheless, we had to be taller, smarter, stronger ... And without thinking about this contradiction, we entered this life to become taller, smarter, bolder, stronger.»

So I and my assistant, we began to climb the stairs together. When we reached the middle, the assistant suddenly turned around and pushed me down the stairs. No matter how hard I tried to go up, I was inevitably pushed down from the stairs.

When the power of the blow was so strong that I had to fall down or lose my breath, I was saying something about the events in the country related to my personal history or just cases from life connected with violence of the authorities or discrimination, ending with the sentence saying we need to be taller, grow and head upward.

Stairs. 2014. Performance. Artplay. Moscow. 6-th Moscow biennale of contemporary art.

They say,

they laid down their arms...

At the opening of the exhibition, during the buffet with the waitresses, lists of those killed during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict were read for 3 hours. Fallen from both sides. Before reading, I threw the mashine gun on the floor and in the process of reading I began to move and passing by the weapon trampled its sheets with lists flew to the floor until the weapon was also covered with these sheets.

They say they laid down their arms. 2014. Performance. A 3 Gallerie, Moscow, Russia

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Yanka Smetanina 

artist  |  researcher  | curator 

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