A commissioned performance within the program Garage Live to accompany the exhibition The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030–2100.
The artistic duo Sun Yuan & Pengyu will present a one-off live event on the closing day of the exhibition. The piece—а provocative yet laconic performance that involves a sword that ends with a flag and a professional sword swallower—is intended to underline the often life-threatening quality of our political choices, the heavy responsibility and dangers our chosen ideologies entail. Drawing a very straightforward parallel between the practice of environmental protection and that of the ancient art of sword swallowing, the artists stress not only the great courage, self-control, and determination it takes but also the equally great limitations it entails. Any ideology (symbolically represented by a red flag fixed to the end of the sword) simultaneously defines and constrains us, limiting our movements just as the blade in the acrobat’s act confines their body. For Sun Yuan & Pengyu, acting upon one’s political beliefs means exactly that: being aware of the blade and being ready to be the sword swallower at any given time. The title of the work, Plant the Flag, is a colloquial term in Chinese meaning “take an oath.”
The performance is produced with the participation of Konstantin Dasov, a professional sword swallower whose craft runs in the family.