Performative Nuance


One of my formative memories is walking through a art museum, in Moscow. There’s gorky park, full of removed Lenin heads, which you probably know about. And in that park is the most incredible museum. I walked in and saw a small exhibit- A mid 2000s computer, and on a flopy next to it, a copy of a worm- I think stuxnet. In retrospect, geopolitically charged. Held together as one artistic exhibit, it opened my eyes to what art could be- The Arab spring was springing, or just beginning to stop, I remember because a few months later I logged on to my google reader in a cafe in ulan bator, and caught up with the news. It was a long way away.

Beyond the atrium, I walked through a history of modern Russian art- Modernists and exiles bouncing off the bauhaus, glorious visions of a predictable and perfect future, of potential, and then through galleries of soviet realism- Odes to the peasant and the tractor. And then at the end, was an exhibit by a young artist- I don’t know who, or what- I remember energy, opening, I remember protests and police and rage. Contrast and saturation pumped right up, and him jittery in skinny jeans in a small gallery off the main run of this quiet gallery, excited and at the start of his career. Full of potential.

It is a start of the person who was ada- She’s about to travel across a giant fucking continent and probably not really speak english to other people for nearly a month. It’s a lot. She reads Lessig, and sees him speak a year later, rides the Beijing subway, and discovers affordances, and mostly realises she’s a she and is probably not going to do something like this for a long time.

Everything is opening.

It feels like a long fucking time ago. It is.