Practises of Subordination
In his personal project »Practices of Subordination« Sergey Shabohin methodically and meticulously analyzes the mechanisms of power. Since 2010, the artist has been collecting stories and trivial objects in public spaces and private settings about everyday events in Belarus that bear witness to the deliberate, violent interference of the state in the lives of its citizens. From this »totalitarian archive« of text documents, images, photographs, and objects, he formulated a poignant narrative in 18 artistic panels about the state structures that pressure citizens in modern Belarus.
For the project ECHOES–Voices from Belarus I (ECLAT 2021), a one-and-a-half-hour film was created, for which Shabohin combines the 18 panels into a continuous narrative and in which Christoph Ogiermann’s composition makes the full force contained in the visual messages immediately physically tangible. Excerpts of this impressive »collection of the various pathologies of an authoritarian system« can now be experienced live at ECLAT 2022. Thanks to the knowledgeable interpretation of art historian Lena Prents, who has accompanied Sergey Shabohin’s artistic work for many years, we learn in the process to decipher the countless quotations and symbols of a life under the system of totalitarianism.
»In Belarusian culture there is no solid ground, the ground moves under your feet and you always have to find the balance anew,« says Valzhyna Mort. Her poetry is of pointed, hard, rhythmic diction; there is something relentless about her tone. She can’t cope with Belarus, the country of her origin, where silence is also the silence that lies over fields of graves. Having grown up in a city where ‘streets bear the names of murderers’ shapes memory: she is present as an ‘illegal migrant’ in her own present.
Georg Büchner Prize winner Jan Wagner talks with Valzhyna Mort about her poetry collection »Music for the Dead and Resurrected« and the poem »Music for Girl’s Voice and Bison«. For Oxana Omelchuk, the poet read the poem in Belarusian. At the end of the afternoon rich in impressions, a hybrid dialogue between the poet and the composer unfolds: a musical poem interpretation with the analog synthesizer.
»Valzhyna Mort’s voice miraculously reminds us that words can do many things–they can dance, they can indulge in irony, they can praise love, but they can also tell the truth.«
(Quotations from the blurb to Valzhyna Mort’s book of poems »Music for the Dead and Resurrected«. edition suhrkamp, Berlin 2021)