Maria Mozgovaya (b. 1998, Moscow)
I am completing my BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the British Higher School of Design this year. I have been involved in the work of Garage’s Education Department for two years now. Combining fine art classes with teaching, I read lectures and deliver workshops. In my own artworks I investigate cultural and physical aspects of clothing, engaging visitors in this process.

Even though the entire project is aimed at building horizontal relationships within the museum space, moderators still play a significant, if not crucial role in shaping the visitors’ perception of works. I experimented a lot of times with the way I deliver information about what’s going on within the territory of Bureau des transmissions, and each time it was evident in which direction it takes the visitor’s thought. Depending on the order in which I introduced the projects, the whole picture also changed. Moderators are agents between the artist and the viewer. This setup endows us with certain power and responsibility. We plant grains in people’s minds and try to grow them together in the process of conversation. And it is important to choose proper “water” and “fertilization”, so that the experience of presence on the territory of Bureau turns out useful for everyone.

Every time I personally sympathized with some projects, it passed on to visitors. My tiniest emotional reaction, e.g. I smiled while talking, or gave a bit more information, instantly focused the person’s attention on certain nuances of the works.

It is very interesting to watch people who wander across the Bureau space independently first, when moderators have no opportunity to come up and start a dialogue about the whole project. When I’m busy at any of the spots, I always watch out of the corner of my eye what such independent viewers do. Sometimes from afar one can notice that some people restrain themselves from the slightest physical contact with any objects on the territory. Several times visitors who showed interest in the Nasreddin project came up to me, to Ladder Café, and asked whether we could discuss racism too. And the same people suggested that the strings are a part of some Mexican or Indian festivity. After grasping the idea of one work, they started building links with the rest of the pieces, and those “filters” often times were very unexpected. Some viewers would immediately rush to throw the ribbons and construct something, as they saw people sitting by the tables and simply wanted to join them. This process of silent understanding of what and why is happening here is the most magical and essential thing about the project as a whole for me.

I always feel surprised how much people enjoy communicating with strangers!