One of the Most Beautiful Places 
performance by Mikhail Tolmachev 
and Natalya Zaytseva 
16.10.21, Saturday
15:00 – 15:15
Circus, 8 Marta St., 43, Ekaterinburg
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16.10.21, Saturday
15:00 – 15:15
The third part of the Re-locations project was modified for the Ural Biennial.
Artists –

The Ekaterinburg Circus features the performance One of the Most Beautiful Places modified for the Ural Biennial. Artist Mikhail Tolmachev and playwright Natalya Zaytseva got interested in the circus architecture and specific context. The circus is an inverted panopticon, where a supervising gaze is directed to the center of space. The artist turns this look in the opposite direction: the action of the performance takes place not in the arena but on the spectator seats, the spotlight is patrolling space, finds and then loses the performer again, who is hiding behind the seats. In the era of technological warfare, the visibility of the target means death for it. The searchlight beam serves as a weapon; as an objectifying and violent gaze.

The performer in the Ekaterinburg State Circus — Maxim Kasyanov

Two other parts of Re-Locations (2020) are presented at The Metenkov House Museum of Photography. The Re-Locations — digital animation, installation, and performance —  is based on memoirs and photographs of the Soviet soldier Vladislav Tamarov who fought in the Soviet-Afghan war in the mid-1980s. Later, he moved to the US and published a book with the help of the journalist Naomi Marcus. It is distinguished by its very subtle transitions from battles to the author's pre-war life and vice versa.

Digital animation of the landscape stems from Tamarov's text descriptions and topographic maps of the war. The audio installation features a piece of rock, Tamarov's hiding place during an ambush. This witness is not dumb: the stone speaks in the words of people describing Afghan gouaches of military artists. Thus, the landscape takes on a voice. The performance is the recitation of a text in which Tamarov writes about a dramatic event.

However, the main character is not the soldier but the place. Each part of the project focuses on the landscape. Conflict scenes, like crime scenes, are tainted with violence: what could they communicate and how to activate their testimony?

All parts of the Re-Locations only pretend that they bear witness to the experience of the war. They do not hide their artificiality and the form of each shows the idea of losing the ability to testify.