Debates On Division: When Private Becomes Public

Project portfolio [2011-2019]

‘Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public’ is an ongoing, interactive performance created and directed by Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), curated and produced by Anna Bitkina in collaboration with institutions that hosted the project and many local collaborators. Conducted several times internationally (as a part of Manifesta 10 in St Petersburg (2014), in Amsterdam at SMBA – Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2016), as a part of Creative Time Summit in Washington DC (2016) and in Oslo (2017) the project formed into a nomadic, discursive and performative platform/network with an algorithmic structure that aims to identify and analyze political order in different geographies and its implications on private lives of individuals.

What begins as a fictional TV talk show with local actors and performers ends with a public demonstration. This way, Gluklya and Anna Bitkina want to create a public forum that spotlights different forms of human fragility and traumas caused by deviation in structures of power. In the center of the performance several stories that evolve around various pieces of clothing. Presented cloths play an intermediary role between private and public, exposing the conflict between the inner world of a person and the political system. The audience is invited to vote whether each presented piece of clothing enters the collection of the Museum of Utopian Clothes – a speculative public institution. To have a sharp articulation of local conditions a group of 5-6 experts that consists of representatives of different professional fields are invited to reflect on each story.

In March 2019 the performance was presented at The Center for Fine Arts BOZAR in Brussels and as a part of  Performative Festival. Brussels’s version of ‘Debates on Division’ includes elements of criminal-conspiracy drama and deals with the subject of fear, suspicion, and distrust fueled by social segregation, financial insecurity and xenophobia in the context of growing degeneration of the political system in the EU and across the globe.

Debates on Division
Manifesta Biennale 10
St Petersburg, 2014

The first iteration of the performance was commissioned by Manifest 10 for its public program and took place at the New stage of Alexandrinsly Theater and Nevsky prospect. The project idea was a reaction on the annexation of Crimea and the escalation of Russian-Ukrainian conflict in 2014. It was a time of radical turn in the national political agenda that has changed position of Russia on the geopolitical arena and forced a major social division in the Russian society based on opposing political views. It became apparent that a new language is needed to articulate the complexity of current political conflicts, cross border relations and global economical and military interdependency. In the focus of the performance were other internal and urgent socio -political issues of contemporary Russia among which a suppression of minorities, including representatives of LGBTG community and working migrants.

Follow the link to see video documentation:
http://factoryoffoundclothes.org/?cat=6

Review by art critic Valeriy Lednev ‘Non-healing Gap’ on aroundart.org (in Russian)

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), “Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public”,Manifesta 10, 2014, New Stage of Alexandrinsky Theater, St Petersburg.

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), “Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public”,Manifesta 10, 2014. Documentation of the silent procession along the Nevsky Prospect (part of theperformance), St Petersburg.

Debates on Division
SMBA – Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, 2016

At SMBA the performance was adapted to the local context and conducted around three stories by migrants and recent refugees. Currently based in Amsterdam they are struggling by awaiting for an asylum or a permit to be able to continue living and legally working in the country. During the performance questions on current migration policy in The Netherlands and in the EU were in the center of debates. Who decides on the status of current refuges and long term residents without a legal status? Based on what requirements they could stay in the Netherlands? When they have to leave the country and where should they go to?

Performance documentation:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-yF0halMSw

Text about the project:
http://www.smba.nl/en/events/play-smba-3-debates-on-division/index.html

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), ‘Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public’, SMBA, Amsterdam, 2016

Debates on Division
Creative Time Summit in Washington DC, Lincoln Theater, 2016

The stories presented within ‘Debates on Division’ performance in Washington DC touched upon personal frustrations of individuals caused by the political crisis in the US. The event took place one month before the last presidential election in the United States in which Donald Trump was elected. The procession took place to the White House the next day of the performance and included participants of the workshop that was a part of the Creative Time Summit program.

Documentation of the performance:
http://creativetime.org/summit/2016/10/25/gluklya-anna-bitkina/

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), ‘Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public’, Creative Time Summit, Lincoln Theater, Washington DC, 2016

Debates on Division
Deichmanske Bibliotek in Grünerløkka, RAM Gallery, Oslo, 2017

In the third edition of the performance project initiators are engaged in a search for a visual and performative language to create a critical discussion around the ‘deviant use of democracy’, the future of Europe, and the position and agency of the younger generation within current post-neoliberal conditions. The project also challenges the idea of a ‘perfect state’ of Norway. Black humor, exaggerated features of the characters, futuristic forms and looks are important artistic methods of the project. The performance evolves around personal stories of young people of 15-20 yo, who live, study and work in Oslo. Young individuals of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds bring into spotlight important issues related to their social and political positions, attitudes towards governmental structures, youth policy in Norway and visions for meaningful future. Important additional component of this edition is an exhibition at RAM Gallery which includes video of recorded stories and costumes designed by Gluklya.

Documentation of the project:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MhPhUn1hqY

Curatorial text available here:
http://tok-spb.org/new/en/events/debates-on-division-oslo-2017

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), ‘Debates on Division: When Private BecomesPublic’, Deichmanske Bibliotek in Grünerløkka, Oslo, 2017



Debates on Division
The Center for Fine Arts BOZAR as a part of Performatik Festival, Brussels, 2019

Brussels’s version of ‘Debates on Division’ include elements of criminal-conspiracy drama and deals with the subject of fear, suspicion, and distrust fueled by social segregation, financial insecurity and xenophobia in the context of growing degeneration of the political system in the EU and across the globe.

In the focus of the show several stories that are carefully crafted from the parts of interviews and conversations with artists, human rights activists and representatives of LGBTQI communities, businessman, politicians, historians, social workers, sociologists, writers, media specialists and policymakers conducted by Gluklya and Anna Bitkina in Brussels since April 2018. The stories that are narrated by local artists and performers evolve around different elements of clothes. Presented as evidence of forensic investigation, the clothes play an intermediary role between the private and the public, exposing the conflict between the inner world of a person and the political system.

Performance participants, jury members and audience marched to the Parliament covered with blankets which served as a central element for the demonstration and a direct reference to the amount of homeless people in the EU capital that inhabit the premises of the EU headquarters at nights. Walking from BOZAR towards the European Parliament the demonstration manifests for the human and non-human rights and urgency for equal and inclusive politics, locally and globally in the pivotal moment before the European elections in May 2019.

Curatorial text available here:

http://tok-spb.org/new/en//debates-on-division-brussels-2019

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), ‘Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public’, Center for Fine Arts BOZAR, Brussels, 2019

Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya), ‘Debates on Division: When Private Becomes Public’, procession towards European Parliament (part of the performance), Brussels, 2019

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