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Anya Kravchenko and Nastya Tolchneva The Pack / An Act for Performers and Digital Agents

2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art
A Beautiful Night for All the People
28–29 October 2020


The artists invited eight dancers to research the nature of mutual relations a shared space with digital modules.

The selection method of the 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art is process-based and relies on the subjectivity of choices, thereby implying an unshakable belief that there are landscape-changing figures operating in Russian art whose experience it is important to present to the viewer. As a rule, the “passionary’s” level of influence is proportional to the number of roles that this person is ready to take on and the extent to which their activity involves cooperation with others. An era of new heroes is coming, heroes whose strength is not in one-off gestures of bravery but in the constant search for new forms of interaction and permanent reflection, integrated into creativity and the horizontal ethics of work and self-care. The Pack, a new project by Anya Kravchenko and Nastya Tolchneva, is an outstanding example of such work. Its aesthetic value lies in collaboration and in the observation of a choreography based on common actions but enacted according to individual algorithms.

Anya Kravchenko and Nastya Tolchneva: “The pack is a metaphor for wild, nomadic, animal self-organization, a field of instincts and survival mechanisms that stimulates us to seek technical and sensual links between actors of different ‘natures.’

The project was conceived in 2018 as a continuation of our work with dance, vocalization, and algorithms. Through this work, we discovered the possibility of a specific behavior, a form of community practice that is conditionally human and nonhuman. In this performance, we want to create a situation of seeking coherence between different systems through the technologies of coordinated behavior of those systems.

We invited our colleagues—dance artists, dancers, and performers whose activities we follow and with whom we want to share the proposed research—to join the project: Valya Lutsenko, Nazar Rakhmanov, Masha Sheshukova, Sonya Kolukanova, Natalia Poplevskaya, Albina Vakhitova, Anton Vdovichenko, and Kamil Mustafaev. The participants will spend five days practicing collectively using the technologies we have proposed. The last two days will be open to the audience, with eight dancers and several digital modules (devices and algorithms) coexisting for three hours in the space of Garage Atrium.

We are interested in exploring the coordination of computational and behavioral processes of varying complexity as a sensory and semiotic territory, where a certain ‘us’ is being reassembled.”


Anya Kravchenko (b. 1985, Berdyansk; lives and works in St. Petersburg) and Nastya Tolchneva (b. 1992, Moscow; lives and works in Moscow) began collaborating in 2015 with the project The Body is Full of Movement, That is Sound, a series of interviews with contemporary composers. Those conversations and reflections on the common points of sound and choreographic practices prompted the artists to continue their research and led to the development of a number of joint projects, including: mertsanie (a concert-practice, 2017–2019), descent (co-authored with Masha Kharitonova and Nastya Tolchneva; with the participation of Anton Vdovichenko, Valentina Lutsenko, Kamil Mustafaev, and Alina Guzhva; performance, 2019), and and those unwelcomed (with Masha Kharitonova; performance, 2019). In 2019, a prototype of the project The Pack was runner-up in the Nova Art competition (St. Petersburg), receiving a special prize from the Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin Foundation (Moscow). In addition to joint projects, each of the artists has an independent practice. For more information on the artists: http://anyakravchenko.com, https://lovozero.cloud.

Valya Lutsenko (b. 1988, Uzhur, Krasnoyarsk Region) is a dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher. She graduated in Art History from the History Faculty of St. Petersburg State University, where she also completed a master’s program in Art Criticism in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2019–2020, she took part in collaborations with Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater (St. Petersburg), V-A-C Foundation (Moscow), and SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts (St. Petersburg). As a dancer, Lutsenko has collaborated with Anton Vdovichenko and Maria Sheshukova, Eldad Ben Sasson, Tino Sehgal, Anya Kravchenko, Anna Gritsuk, Dina Hussein, Dmitry Vlasik, and Konstantin Keihel, among others. She lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Sofia Kolukanova (b. 1994, Irkutsk) is a dancer. Since 2016, she has been a member of TechnoLaboratory dance and performance group (St. Petersburg). She has participated in projects by Anton Vdovichenko and Sasha Konnikova. Since 2019, she has been involved with the performance Irrational Body, together with the members of TechnoLaboratory and Timofey Lavin (aka Droozh). The performance has been staged in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Kostroma. She is resident of SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts (St. Petersburg). She lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Kamil Mustafaev (b. 1990, St. Petersburg) is an engineer, chef, and performer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Control Systems and Informatics from ITMO University (St. Petersburg). He has taken part in projects by Anton Vdovichenko, Sasha Konnikova, Anya Kravchenko, Masha Sheshukova, and others. He is the co-curator at SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts (St. Petersburg). He lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Albina Vakhitova (b. 1995, Khabarovsk) is a performer, dancer, and choreographer. She has participated in international street dance festivals, including Juste debout, Instinct Battle, and Battle Zone. From 2014 to 2017, she was a member of FarFor dance company (Moscow). She has collaborated with the choreographers Anna Abalikhina and Ivan Evstigneev, director Kirill Serebrennikov, and artists Masha Kharitonova, Sasha Pirogova, and Alexey Taruts. She lives and works in Moscow.

Natalia Poplevskaya (b. 1991, Petrozavodsk) conducts monitoring and international advocacy at the Cross-Regional Public Movement “Russian LGBT Network,” performances as a dancers at TechnoLaboratory, and is a member of the music projects Materic, dp, and qb. She is a resident SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts (St. Petersburg). She lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Nazar Rakhmanov (b. 1991, Izhevsk) is a dance artist. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the School for New Dance Development (Amsterdam). He has assisted in the treatment of people with disabilities. He participated in the SOTA'15 workshop on contemporary dance and performance (Moscow). Rakhmanov has worked at PoemaTheater of Butoh dance (Moscow) and ChernoyeNEBObeloe Theater (Moscow, 2016–2019). Select solo projects include Spring_25 (Moscow, 2016), hear the bells but don’t know where (Amsterdam, 2019), and POKROV working title (Izhevsk–Amsterdam, 2020). He lives and works in Moscow.

Anton Vdovichenko (b. 1988, Ussuriysk) is a choreographer, performer, and pedagogue. He graduated in Drama Theater and Film Acting from Lev Erenburg’s course at the Theater Institute (2011). In 2012–2013, Anton worked at Okno Dance Project and in 2016 he produced his own work in collaboration with Nischebrodsky Festival at Skorokhod space. Since 2014 Anton has directed the project TechnoLaboratory, which has performed at St. Petersburg venues, including Skorokhod, KvartaRiata, Manege Exhibition Hall, and the General Staff Building. Since 2017, Anton has been working at SDVIG Performance Art Studio.

Masha Sheshukova (b. 1990, St. Petersburg) is a dance artist, choreographer, and performer. A graduate of the master's program Art Practices of Contemporary Dance at Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet (St. Petersburg), she teaches at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions. She has raken part in the festivals TERRITORIA (Moscow), Nischebrodsky, Anton Tut Ryadom, ProToArt, Museum Night, and Electro-Mechanics (all St. Petersburg). As a choreographer and performer, she has collaborated with the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky Theater and contributed to the New People project run by Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater (St. Petersburg). In 2019, Sheshukova joined the team of SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts (St. Petersburg). She lives and works in St. Petersburg.


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