#5: Love and Politics
Why is this so important? The original premise: feminism as a means of "liberating" feminine subjectivity. The politics of love. Love and politics. But what is feminine subjectivity? And even more importantly, what is subjectivity at large? What is love? And how can they be connected? Is love limited to sweet intimacy, excluding any third party? The isolated community of two, lost to the world? Or maybe love is a movement that takes you beyond the boundaries of what seemed possible? The disjunctive union of two, asocial to the outer world, moving toward the horizon of the future, to resistence and struggle? Is the political dimension of love rooted in this disconnected excess?
Victor Mazin /// Commentary on the questionnaire
1. I feel uncomfortable about writing for women. And this isn't because I think that I am a man. Hell no! I can't speak for men either, even more so because I don't even want to speak for them. I don't feel comfortable about speaking for anybody of any category at all. Speaking for women (for the elderly, for children) is a task that can be left to the politicians and their "masculine" mugs. After all, they need to go on and on chopping their teeth in order to divert our attention from the Black Flag. In this sense, I agree that feminism is "an integral part of neo-liberal ideology", or to be more precise, of "neoliberal" oligarchy. But this does not mean that the "liberal" does not turn into a patriarch at home, nor does it imply that the laws passed by "liberals" have any pro-feminist quality. Was the trial of the American president's phallus really a perfect example of in how far feminism has spread to the American legal system? In the end, the President didn't only launch his rockets into the open mouth of bureaucracy; he also fired some missiles at the Third World, even if this wasn't the only reason. Phallocracy may well wrap itself in the cloak of feminism, but does it ever really succeed? Isn't the entire neo-liberal discourse perforated by rockets, missiles that you will never be able to hide?
Pyotr Bystrov – Tsaplya /// Doing Right by Lena (A Conversational Fragment)
Pyotr Bystrov (P.) …Lena Kovylina, my women, doesn't make my life very comfortable at all. Zero point zero zero comfort. Nothing but discomfort. But I find it motivating to face her endless demands, her claims, the conditions that she sets. They motivate me to grow personally. I'm telling you: unlike all the other guys, who sit around at home comfortably, sleeping and eating, nobody's degraded or anything, they're all still alive, but it seems like they're all resting or hibernating, because their girlfriends let them do so. But I'm constantly chasing Lena, who is a person you will always have to catch up with. She never yields and is far more energetic than me in many ways. She's a person who has made herself what she is. Like Baron Mьnchhausen, she's constantly pulling herself out of a swamp by her own hair. She's strong enough to take any risk, to win or to lose, to experiment. So our love and our relationship is actually completely different from all of the relationships or loves that my friends are involved in, some of which, in my opinion, have lowered the stakes of their experiments, deciding to take it easy.
Tsaplya (Ts.) Recently, you've been taking part in Lena's projects as an assistant and have been less focused on pursuing your own art, even though you've been quite successful by Russian standards, both as a member of the "Radek" group and as an artist in your right. Does this mean that you're willing to play a secondary role for the sake of your relationship?
Penzin - Savronov - Timofeeva /// Love history
A. Penzin: In talking about love, it is actually important to gain some distance from the ideological languages of sex and sentimentality. I am especially suspicious of the latter, since it is a reaction to the confirmation of sex as a power-apparatus and a product of the cultural industry, in its variant as a mass-cultural romance, as well as in the slightly cynical anti-psychologism of intellectual culture.
Barthes' famous analysis of love as an archive of discursive figures is a type of refined sentimentalism, a melancholy menagerie of figurines. It places the reality of love, its status as an event or a form of praxis with political results, into semiological brackets. "There", we find nothing but the reverberating emptiness of desire's impossibility, or the alibi of the sexual act, which is neither necessary nor ever enough.
Artemy Magun /// Between the feasts of love (dialoque)
The girl goes beyond all borders
(From a street conversation, 15 April 2004).
A humid Saint-Petersburg morning. A room in disorder. Bottles of vodka, cigarette ashes, and spent condom cover the floor. The clothes of Kolya and Yulia, who are sitting on the floor and smoking pensively, are also in disarray. Yulia is wearing Kolya’s shirt. Kolya is wearing Yulia’s towel..
Factory of Found Clothes /// Dialoque #1: Dmitry Vilensky - Gluklya
D. I remember that when you and Tsaplya started working together, you tried to distance yourselves from any attempt at locating your work within the framework of feminist tradition. But at the same time, you also cooperated with some of Petersburg's key figures in the feminist cultural discourse, such as Alla Mitrofanova and Ira Aktuganova. What has changed in recent years? How would you re-sketch your position today?
Factory of Found Clothes /// Dialoque #2: David Riff - Tsaplya
D. In “Streetcar named Desire”, your latest action with the Factory of Found Clothes, you invited eight girls whom Gluklya has been working with recently. Although they weren’t artists to begin with, each of them brought a historical street-cars in a Petersburg tram-museum to life with their independent work, consisting of installations and performances. When we talked about this action, both Gluklya and you spoke about “giving a voice” to these young girls. What does “giving a voice” to someone mean to you? Is this simply a figure of speech?