22:16 min, 4K, Color, Sound
The subject of the performance DEMONUMENT* (2022) by Mascha Naumova deals with the great monuments of humanity, the symbols of faith and power, with the vision of transforming the immaterial into materiality through human hands and creating a new common form of life. It describes the attempt of an unfinished utopia.
Concrete on the way to eternity
When an earthquake in western Sicily buried the old town in 1968, a new town was created alongside the destruction: Gibellina Nuova (1970) – the dream of architects, a planned town created on the drawing board. A spacious open-air museum was created, a laboratory of modernity for a life in the midst of aesthetics and art. The dynamism of tradition lived on in the ruins of the old town, victorious nature exercised its power over people, proclaiming that civilization was finite.
Today an eerie stillness and emptiness hangs over the dysfunctional city, like just before the arrival of Noah's ark, only a single dove bears witness to regenerating vegetation and returning life. Noah's Ark is the symbol of the first natural catastrophe in human history, the beacon of a post-apocalyptic future. What comes after the absolute catastrophe?
Mascha Naumova reinterprets the notions of a post-"post-apocalyptic" future: a world where man is absent, in which a defensive nature rebalances itself over man-made destruction and survived artifacts. A game between water and sand , earth and ocean The sandcastle becomes a parable of our existence, we build on sand as always, our dreams become nightmares, the last utopia becomes a dystopia.
The modern dynamics of man-made destruction of nature multiplies with every season, we break the permanent elements of our earthly existence. Even the material is man-made. We invade matter by force, from natural disaster to man-made irreparable consequence of a technological utopia. Is there an absolution of the ancient mythical structure, does the punishment last not just for a single lifetime but forever?
The story begins again from the beginning. One thinks of Kafka's Prometheus: "Since it comes from a reason for truth, it must again end again in the inexplicable."
*DEMONUMENT is a hybrid of Monument and Demon (English) both of the reversal "de-" from the positive to the negative, dismantle, dissolve, disassemble. The demonic voice of past cultural history stops from these monuments and warns of the doom of human hubris:
Text by Eleonora Frolov