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Polina Medvedeva: A knock from below heard at the bottom


In this interactive sound installation, equipped with an electromagnetic microphone the audience becomes a voyeur, a foreign agent, an onlooker and an accomplice scanning the space that feigns normalcy, where up is down. Polina Medvedeva, born in Murmansk region, raised in the Netherlands, and now based in Norway, draws inspiration from the saying "just as you thought you've reached the bottom, someone knocks from below." Referring to the wire-tapping of power sockets in the Soviet Union and GDR, the work is an assemblage of conversations which are intercepted, listened in on, recalled or recorded. It attempts a search for the origin of the atrocities, trust in disinformation and passive endurance in today's Russia, as well as sparks of civil disobedience amid absurdity of censorship and the decline of civil rights. A noticeable undercurrent within the conversations is a generational divide tearing up family ties.

For the installation at Lydgalleriet, Medvedeva has developed audio-responsive glass light sculptures. Hanging from the ceiling, these beetroot sculptures speculate on the position of the audience. Sunday 3rd December, Medvedeva will perform a live-composed piece, Re-Currents, using the voice as an instrument. It researches militarised gender violence and is inspired by a practice adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha developed and called visionary fiction, which aims to imagine new just worlds through bottom up collective organising.

Polina Medvedeva works within the intersection of film, installation and performance, portraying individuals or communities who exist by circumventing political prohibitions, societal stereotypes, and effects of economic crises and conflicts. Questioning linearity in storytelling, she explores formats that allow for nuance and multiplicity of narratives. Her focus on the tactics of civil disobedience and mechanisms of vernacular resilience – improvised, passed through generations as oral histories, smuggled in through migration – speaks of the (im)possibilities of existing within while being against systems of oppression.

A knock from below heard at the bottom is developed through residencies at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, BEK, Bergen Kunsthall, S12 and Mustarinda. The exhibition is supported by Mondriaan Fund, Bergen City Council and Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond. Curated by Julie Lillelien Porter.

Last Updated: 11/01/2023

Source: Visit Bergen

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