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Performing the Fringe exhibition at Konsthall C was rewarding to setup. Most of the artists in our group came to Stockholm, where we were warmly welcomed by Erik Annerborn & staff. On site we had the pleasure to work with Kaisa Sööt who had designed the exhibition architecture. She had build wavy-benches based on a park seating design spotted in Hökarängen. A localized furniture architecture development effort (reminded me of NCD-C swingers club designs).

I arrived a day before my performance to extract samples from stone architecture using kitchenware from Ikea. A meat-hammer served as a mallet and a regular table knife as a chisel. I pulverized the rocks using a Ikea stone mortar & pestle. The powder was gray and dissolved (seemingly) well into the water (0,3 mg per liter). Polukord noted that granite ore contains metals which caused some concerns (I wonder if it’s possible to separate metals from ore using a magnet?).

My portable CO2 regulator worked well and produced ~5,5 bars of pressure inside standard 1,5 liter plastic bottles, which I used for water-to-gas agitation and serving. The gas was from a local shop which stocks consumer grade 475g CO2 tanks (CGA320 treads). Interestingly the plastic bottles stretched when I added pressure and when shaked the plastics retraction would add to the pressure, causing the content to retreat back towards the regulator. In my first rehearsals this counter pressure caused the valves to come loose.

The next day I performed for a private family which lives in the district. The family connection was facilitated by Annerborn, who introduced me to them in person before the show. I executed my performance in the family’s kitchen. I had some trouble with my sound system, the shape of the space caused a feedback loop, which was hard to resolve. I attempted to do the talk bits in Swedish (my Swedish language skills are fringy, which works well with the project theme) but turned to English midway and the kids lost interest soon after. My statuesque warm-up dance moves were constantly commented by kids, which made pacing difficult. The performance was a delightful mess.

The family was very concentrated on the presentation. I had some minor problems maintaining cohesion, the event challenged the artistic integrity of the piece in a good way. A beneficial learning opportunity and I think the family enjoyed the chamber performance too. We chatted a bit after the performance and they showed their backyard. I was donated a piece of rock from their garden and prompted to make mineral water from it.

The coronavirus didn’t change the performance much. At the time there was no social distancing etiquette guidelines in place in Stockholm (a week an a half ago). We did maintain a little more distance then normally and I executed extra caution in the water preparation. If the family would have wanted I could have made the performance outdoors, in which case it would have been a typical lecture-performance.

Our exhibition opening was cancelled, even so there were some 10 visitors at the space for the opening. This was just enough for setting the mood and actually made the social situation more dense than normal openings. The fewer people there are the more focus they demand. Performances for big audiences are more relaxed because the crowd behavior is more easy to react to than individual gazes. I prepared different waters for the guests and people were exited to drink them (particularly the gravestone water). When walking back to the hotel we shared a pleasant chat with Alexey.

Katarina Frifarare had a parallel opening in the Konsthall C Centrifug space. The Centrifug can be booked for exhibitions by anyone and the dates of the show are set randomly. We should have something like this in Helsinki too, in the Taidehalli space? Frifarare’ exhibition was a leftist analysis of women’s textile work and made a good match with our exhibition.

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Yesterday we saw a girl galloping from east, past the Vadim Sidur museum towards the center. The horse was a peasant breed and moved effortlessly along the tram tracks. The riders backpack had a flower pattern. Today we are drinking fermented horse milk in Kazan. We arrived in a open cabin night train, where the distance between our faces from the feet of other passengers was less then 10cm. Everyone in the train was at their peak performance, no disturbances at all. People timed their actions (packing and unpacking) perfectly and touched each other’s gently when passing.

We visited Sidurs museum to see Alexey Buldakov’s exhibition, which was organized as a part of the Mmoma artist placement project (they show contemporary art in old museums). Buldakovs exhibition offered a text citing Serres (parasites) and a shit-optical graffiti machine, in the form of a heated seating structure for pigeons. The shape of the structure invited pigeons to sit in such an arrangements, that their droppings would form words on the ground below. The shape we saw projected the text “peace”. The copper pipings, which positioned the birds to form the letters, were heated with water from a computer cooling system. The computer was mining for bitcoins (leaching on museum energy supply).

The exhibition offered snippets of everything we learned of his practice the day before. And extras like birds painted in watercolors and thermal imaging projections. For most of us, the shape of the pigeon seating machine would have been enough (without out the mining, heating etc. processes).

Our group discussed the maximalism of the exhibition as a feature of Russian art. In discussions we sympathized with Buldakov’s attempt to include everything into the display (he was “pulling all treads together”, Elina noted). I feel that opportunities to exhibit are rare, so I maximize the work to make. This maximalism could also be understood as an attempt to forge a narrative, which could account for the current, absurd state of affairs (The need to craft narratives was present in Vilnius too).

Maximalism could be the aesthetics of inclusivity. The museum displays here in Kazan (we visited National Museum of the Republic of Kazan) are jam-packed with stuff, ancient tools, gems etc. from every branch of social life and every historical phase of the territory. Something specific for every-specific-body. Maximalizing is a strategy for reaching out to diverse audiences.

Russians seem to manifest a strong believe in new construction materials and technology. Window frames are attached using blobs of sikaflex. Polyurethane is not cut into shape and covered with panels. The polyurethane blobs show progress: We have the new means, nails are for medieval times, our bonds are chemical.

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Our one night exhibition “In Various Stages of Ruins” at the ASI space in Fabrika felt like a success. The space, which was sort of hidden inside the old industrial complex managed to pull in a reasonable crowd. The audience was young, curious and people wanted to from relationships with the works. Miina and Arttu installed an image by Sauli Sirviö on the floor, cave exploration photos by Jussi Kivi on the wall and presented videoworks by Anni Puolakka and Maija Timonen. Elina presented a letter canvas (she’ll continue with the work on our train ride), Iona showed videos using a mobile phone as a screen and I made a 15min presentation about mineral waters. After the show I was asked: “When you described how rain corrodes the face of a marble statue and how the water then retains a memory of this encounter, where you talking about the metaphysical quality of the statue or the physical changes in the mineral composition of the water? Or are you taking about the negative space of the sculpture being filled with content?” We ended the evening by visiting Alexey Buldakov studios, which were located in the same complex, for a miniature after party with fun people.