Ekaterina Panchenko’s Diary

Ekaterina Panchenko (b. 1991, Moscow)
I graduated in Defectology from Moscow Pedagogical State University, specializing in Oligophrenopedagogics and Logopedics. I have an experience of working as a guide but prefer the mediation format which implies more options for discussion and feedback. I mediated at the exhibitions Here and Nowat Moscow Manege and the III Biennale of Street Wave Art Artmossphere at Winzavod. Some visitors who previously attended my mediation sessions and tours recognize me and come up to say hello as to an old acquaintance.

So, “Dear Diary” … I will try to break my story into several dates. There have been days when people were not in the mood to communicate, hence the different amount of lines devoted to different days.

March 9

The first visitors who came to the show during my opening shift were a middle-aged, skeptically looking man of affairs and his silent wife. She listened with some interest, as her husband disdainfully observed Karoline’s ribbons from the Collective Stringsinstallation and also listened with half an ear about the exhibition. “Why is it here at all?”, he asked looking at the knitting yarns. After the explanation we sat down to make a doll out of the yarn, and he actually enjoyed making a pigtail for it. In the meantime, another mediator continued the dialogue with his wife.

“Ok, it was worth its 500 rubles”, he said scratching his chin with a ticket to the Rasheed Araeen retrospective, allegedly meaning Garage. He thanked me and left, pretty satisfied, taking the doll with him, as, he said, “he put a lot of effort into making it and who knows if it’s going to be thrown out after the show ends”. He didn’t want to discuss the exhibition. And I preferred not to insist on forcing him into a dialogue. The right to give no comment is also an important freedom which has to be respected.

We had a workshop together with Karoline, which everyone enjoyed a lot. After the workshop, a group of school teenagers came up to the microsillons installation excited about the possibility to drink some tea. As they learnt that they had to discuss politics and art in the process, it made them even happier. They jumped from one topic to another smartly, being constantly distracted by completely side ideas. The conversation was captivating. They approved of the conception of a feminist museum where works of various female artists would be represented. How many female workers among the rest of the staff of such a museum should be didn’t seem so important to them. They came to the conclusion that art could serve democracy, since it generally serves political goals (while discussing politics and art everyone always remembers propaganda posters). On March 30 a classmate of one of the school students who visited on March 9, also came and sent a personal hello to me. Oh god, it was so nice!

March 14

At the Ladder Café installation by microsillonsme and two other girls chose a mug with a clandestine and pretty difficult question: can an artist stimulate the situation downward? Aiming to clear things out, we found the question in English with an example attached to it, in Russian. It turned out that it meant an action, or performance which doesn’t develop towards a climax, but instead, rather starts with it and then goes “downward”. Such an action is quite hard to realize because its structure is unusual. And secondly, climax is always the most exciting and emotionally sublime part of the act, so it is hard to keep the attention of the audience and the participants on the same level after it, hard to maintain the suspense.

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