Today, 15 June, the final part in a series of anti-war performances by artists-actionists Toshain/Makowsky/Ceeh will take place at Westbahnhof in Vienna. We have had a talk with the artists before their first performance.
On the first day of summer, anti-war artists Toshain/ Makowsky/ Ceeh, performed their work at MOTA, ‘Museum on Tour’, Austria. Their performance was titled : МИР : МИРУ : FRIEDE and mirrored the venerable artistic culture contributed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gustav Klimt, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Falco.
Various international artists, ranging from Austria, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, USA, South Africa, and Russia were invited to present a slogan on the topic of “world peace”. Each statement was printed onto T-shirts which could only be viewed with night vision devices. We got in contact with these Viennese Austrian actionists in order to get a commentary on their project.
Why do the performances begin precisely on International Children’s Day? Is it a coincidence or part of the concept?
Actually it’s just a coincidence, but it fits the issue. The series of performances starts on the first day of June in the first district of Vienna next to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, then it moves on the 7th June to the seventh district of the city to Museums Quartier and later ends up at Vienna’s main railway station Hauptbahnhof.
Did all the artists who were asked to participate take part in this project?
Our performance is based on the art show or to be more precise – on the alternative art-fair PARKFAIR TERMINARTOR, which we (TOSHAIN/ MAKOWSKY/ CEEH) organized and realized in September 2014 and where 28 artists participated. The art fair was devised with the centenary of World War I in mind and was also our reaction to the current situation in the world. We were developing the performances at the start of the Maidan (Ukraine) and Syrian conflicts and used them to inspire our slogans. Afterwards, we selected the 10 most relevant works created by various artists from Syria, Ukraine and Israel.
Violence and war are usually always associated with men, but plenty of women can be aggressive as well. Do you believe that you are contributing to this sexist stereotype?
Both men and women are participating equally in the project . The participants in the performances are both female and male. We have even incorporated a man into our female duo – XXXXi̶s̶m̶ TOSHAIN/ MAKOWSKY/ CEEH – where the three of us act together.
Why are the artists’ messages invisible to the naked eye?
It’s a kind of self-identification with the meat grinding nature of the art world that provides glossy emotions… Our installation-performance is bringing back the notion of “art work” so to say – extracting it from the public perception. An individual experience of contemplation exists alongside the viewers awareness of the public place at the physical level; initiating this intimate encounter with the art work was important for us. The recognition of a parallel reality reconfigures not only the reality within the perception of the art world, but also ways of constructing it.
Why is the individual connection with an art object so important to you?
Because we’re against mindless mass consumption. Every person is unique, and so is their experience with our work.
What is the source of the aggression – human nature, a lack of education, social sphere, political and economic systems?
We’re not going to claim anything and explain what, why and for whichever reason because they could all be different. We’re not doctors and have no intention of prescribing a cure for the appearance of aggression. We’re artists and we initiate signals; we give attention to a variety of issues which are important to us and to society. Our peaceful art-messages are just signals.
Would you say that an overall message exists within your work?
We’re just going to quote the message of the Afghan artist from our project Ammanullah Mojadidi: “Go Bomb Yourself!” – Everyone has to shit in his own garden!
To whom do you address your art works to – society as a whole including guest workers and refugees or exclusively to well educated groups?
To everyone – citizens, tourists, immigrants. By the way, one of the performers is an artist from Belarus who is currently studying at our academy.
Will there be an opportunity for Austrian farmers to see your project?
Well, they should come down from the mountains for that. But actually we’re planning this project to exhibit in other cities around the world. We’re also planning a show in Minsk!
MOTA — Museum On Tour Austria, developed as a hybrid between museum and art work, is showing “МИР – МИРУ – FRIEDE”: a performance series at the city public spaces by the art label XXXXi̶s̶m̶ TMC. Focusing on the ongoing International crises, shifts in religious and political power as well as armed confrontations, the collective has set themselves the goal of sending out a message of peace to the world. The messages are written on T-shirts worn by soldiers and can only be seen with a night-vision device. Experience it — how the moving immaterial art space appears!
Valera Krasnagir, photo: Toshain/ Makowsky/ Ceeh
Special thanks to Rustam Batyrau.