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Symphonic media performance "OM"

2018 | port Sevkabel | video artist  | St. Petersburg

Artist-director Oleg Kulik

Set design by Denis Kryuchkov

St. Petersburg New Music Orchestra conducted by Fyodor Lednev,

music by Philip Glass, Leonid Desyatnikov, Giacinto Scelsi, and Galina Ustvolskaya.


Oleg Kulik: We chose very boring, tedious music of middle European minimalism. Everyone would definitely fall asleep under it, so we decided to liven things up — give a punch in the face. The 20th century did not come up with anything more interesting than futurism. The strongest art is a punch in the face, Marinetti also wrote about it. The Habib vs McGregor fight is even considered a serious cultural drama. No one is interested in art and the process of its creation. People are tired of a life full of things. Everyone wants catastrophes, destruction, explosions, disappearances, annihilations, and transformations. Our performance offers exactly that, only at a very slow pace. The punch that happens in 10 seconds, we show for a whole hour. Besides the folds of underwear and flying bodies, the viewer will not see anything.

"OM" doesn't mean anything to us. The most important thing is how to pronounce it, where, and with whom. What is sex? Sex doesn't mean anything until you understand who, where, and with whom. And when you understand that, there may be no sex at all. Sex only appears during its production process. Before that, there is no sex at all.

"OM" only works at the moment of pronunciation, and it is meaningless and harmful to talk about it. Only in silence can we talk about silence. "OM" is not a topic for speculation. When "OM" begins in the hall, you will feel it. We will try to make the audience fall out of their usual state and enter a very harmonious and well-made world using music, light, and screens. We use symphonic music and video projection, but in a way that they do not have to compete with each other for the viewer's attention; sound and image will be significantly separated. The musicians will sit behind, and no one will see them, while the image will be projected from the front. The audience will watch a movie in which nothing happens: an empty screen with slow motion. By using six screens layered one after another, we will create a stereo effect without 3D equipment. The music will gradually fill everything, and in the viewer's mind, there will be an "OM" as a connection of very different lines: suddenly all the elements — sound, image, scenography — will converge into one.

Yes, we have a collective product where the taste of raisins, candied fruits, and mandarins doesn't overpower each other. You can pick out the raisins and eat them separately. You can watch the screen and listen to the music, or you can choose not to watch or listen and fall into darkness. We value individualization and freedom of perception. The performance is designed so that the audience can get up during the action, there are natural smells from the street in the hall, and there are homeless people among the audience. Everything will interfere with perception. If we understand harmony as an idyllic state of happiness, then here, we will need to work hard to achieve harmony. Homeless people will walk around the hall, but not all, only the most smelly ones. We deliberately create a scent with a light aroma of the Canadian forest in Canada. Nowadays, no Russian art performance in the West can do without scents, which are essential in the intelligence theatre. We are not theatrical artists; we are against templates. Everything will be very minimalistic: an orchestra on the backside, and an enormous screen in front of the audience. And minimalistic music that induces a trance. I think it will be wildly tense.

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