During their residency, Mykola Ridnyi and Serhiy Popov were looking for parallels between their hometown Kharkov, and Maribor. While Ukraine was preparing to host the European football championship, Maribor was in anticipation of holding the European Capital of Culture title. Both are important events that theoretically bring new possibilities and challenges to the cities, but can, in the event of failure, also cause a lot of damage. The artists investigated the climate in Maribor, and the role politics play in such a challenge. With well-known trouble and problems that arose during the preparation for the title, and with similar experiences from their hometown, the artists were faced with the question: Is what we’re really talking about here the Capital of Authority, where the main role belongs to power and authority, with corruption lurking in the background? As an answer to that, the artists created an installation – a huge speaker’s podium, which looked exactly like its ‘normal sized’ namesake. The installation was too big to fit into a gallery; it was oversized, cramped, and a bit disturbing at the same time. It was inviting for the audience, but at the same time also disabling, since its size prevented anyone to actually go up, reach the microphone and speak. Function and functionality were devaluated, the installation became an artistic statement in itsef, questioning the value, power, and reach of the individual’s voice.
Text: Maja Pardeilhan