The group was formed in 1975 by Gennady Donskoy (b. 1956, Moscow), Mikhail Roshal (1956, Moscow–2008, Moscow), and Viktor Skersis (b. 1956, Moscow). It existed until 1979
Captured in this photo is an action that Gnezdo (Nest) group performed in 1977 at Mikhail Roshal’s apartment for an audience of around ten people. Responding to the environmental agenda that was becoming increasingly popular in the 1970s, the group made their modest contribution to the ecological cause: in a minute of not breathing, the three artists spared the environment about a liter (or 2 grams) of CO2, thus reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, which are believed to be the main cause of global warming. A standard car produces around 125 liters (250 grams) of CO2 per kilometer, but had all humans joined Gnezdo’s action in 1977, they could have reduced CO2 emissions by almost 3 tons. That said, even this amount of CO2 has no significant impact on climate at the global level. Like Earth Hour, not breathing is a symbolic act. The action was not designed to lower emission levels, but to draw society’s attention to anthropogenic climate change.
In previous projects, such as Helping the Soviet Government in the Struggle for the Harvest (1976) and Let’s Get a Meter Closer (1977), the group mocked the ideological slogans of Soviet propaganda. A Minute Without Breathing, which imitated official moments of silence, seems to continue the series. It was also a rare example of unofficial Soviet artists engaging with the international artistic and environmental agenda: their ironic comment on the usefulness of art was inserted into a context where symbolic gestures devoted to ecology merged seamlessly with actual environmental activism.
Gnezdo’s performance will be re-enacted at Garage throughout the exhibition. Every day at 19:00 all Museum visitors can join in a minute without breathing announced by Viktor Skersis.