Annunciationperformance, 22 minutes
Humboldt University Greenhouses, Berlin, Germany, 2019
photos: Julia Piagina
Annunciation is a 22-minute performance based on the 17th century painting by Nicolas Poussin. In the moment depicted the Blessed Virgin Mary is visited by Archangel Gabriel who announces that she will conceive and become the mother of Jesus. A white dove soars above her–a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
In my performance a drone continuously hovers over my head creating tension between organic and mechanical forms, the body and the machine. The stillness of the pose highlights the resistance of an individual in the age of mass surveillance, tracking and data harvesting for corporate and political gains.
Accept Your Penanceperformance, 2 hours
Weltkunstzimmer, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2018
photos: Rote Liebe, Erik Haines
When I entered first grade in post-Soviet Russia, my teacher instructed my mother to tie my left hand to my body with a leather belt. This way I could do homework only with my right hand. One could not be a lefty in Soviet Union, everyone had to be the same.
My mother could not handle my tears. To this day I remain left-handed. In Accept Your Penance, a two-hour performance, I recreate this childhood experience while repeatedly writing the words To dust we shall return with my right hand.
Never the Flag53x72 inches, 2020
deconstructed polyester bags, black thread
I made this flag out of bags my family brought all of our belongings in when we immigrated from Russia as Jewish refugees. These were black nondescript polyester bags my parents bought at an agency in Moscow that handled our paperwork. They were cut and sewed to the maximum dimensions that fit in checked baggage without paying extra. One of the first memories I have in the U.S. is of my father and I unloading these bags off the conveyor belt at JFK airport and piling them up on a baggage cart while my mother worried about my back.
This flag is a of a different America than the one I came to. President Trump’s extreme views and policies on immigration including setting a historically low ceiling for admitting new refugees in the year 2020 have left me wondering if my family and I would still stand a chance of coming to this country today.