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Elephants on Elephants*. A Taking Places ethical media franchise presentation in three acts

2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art
A Beautiful Night for All the People
28 February 2021


“The presentation experience always remains partial. The level of its completeness does not depend on which of the acts you have access to.”

Taking Places

“This substitution no longer knows the place of its own, but the taking-place of every single being is always already common—an empty space offered to the one, irrevocable hospitality.”

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community (translated by Michael Hardt)

Taking Places is an artistic form that addresses issues of substitutability and social roles and problematizes the distribution of visibility and of symbolic capital in the art systems. It explores the permanent emergence/loss of autonomy by participants of the cultural field and the implicitness of boundaries between a personal statement, service delivery, and content production. Taking Places abandons the production of work, gives way, acts as an assistant, guide, lobbyist, PR agent, curator, mediator, or “cover.” It takes full responsibility for what will be shown and does not question the choice of participants. Taking Places started in 2017 with the development of ethical attitudes that embrace uncertainty and instability as life forms.

Occurring in various places, it continues to redistribute the accumulated resources between all the participants.

Together with the 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art and new participants, Taking Places is producing the presentation of Elephants on Elephants, presenting the principle of giving way as a franchise open for reproduction and free from copyright.

Presentation: Elephants on Elephants

The presentation Elephants on Elephants was originally conceived as a live public event, during which the form of Taking Places is presented within the walls of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. As the constantly changing local and global response to the crisis influenced the habitual organization of work processes, the operation of the Museum and the access to art, the experience of spectatorship and participation, the presentation acquired a three-part form.

Act I — Performance began six months ago and finished on December 14, 2020 with a performance for a limited audience behind the museum’s closed doors. In the midst of a global disaster, the participants became both the enactors of the performance, hired by professionals performing the outsourced presence, and spectators with exclusive access to the event.

Act II — will take place in the Auditorium of the recently Museum at 18:00 to 19:30 on February 28.

Act III — The Video and Screenings will not launch due to «absence of a light of pure beauty» (Vera Varadi)

Presentation: Elephants on Elephants

With: Hanna Zubkova, Evgenia Ivanova, Vitya Pleskov, Gosha Gerasichev, Roma Uvarov, Sasha Pevak, Konstantin Sinitsin, Vsevolod Sinitsin, Alina Nasibullina, Gladstone Makhib
Dubbing studio: MER-NOIR (Paris)
Sound mastering: Sergey Luginin

Taking Places

With: Kenny Dunkan, Jordie, Hassan Kurbanbaev, Dasha Loyko, Sasha Pevak, Marijke De Roover, Alex Schulz Steckman

*Elephants on Elephants is an expression referencing Donna Haraway's The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness (2003), which says: “There is no foundation; there are only elephants supporting elephants all the way down.”

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