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Hosting the Inhuman

V-A-C opens another cutting-edge exhibition

Ivan Gushchin

The V-A-C Foundation once again proves to be one of the most forward-looking cultural institutions in the city. Its most recent exhibition, entitled “Hosting the Inhuman,” is designed as a hotel located in two buildings of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) on Gogolevsky Bulvar. One of them is a maintenance building, never before used as exhibition space. 

“Hosting the Inhuman” is part of the the MMOMA’s Carte Blanche program, which involves inviting guest institutions for a residency at the museum’s different branches. Karen Sarkisov, one of the curators of the exhibition, explains the idea behind the hotel design: “As we are MMOMA’s guests, it was only fitting that we would explore the dynamics of hospitality.” 

The “guests” at this exhibition are the artworks and the hosts are the artists themselves. “Hospitality necessarily implies the differentiation between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ and here we take the idea of ‘the other’ to its limit,” says Sarkisov. “Our guests are inhuman, from inorganic nature to the divine, artificial intelligence and fantastic creatures.” 

The format of the hotel also invites the visitors to participate in the exhibition more actively — for example, lie down on a bed while watching the video art, rather than just stare at the walls. 

Some of the rooms are of maintenance nature, like the boiler room and the prayer hall. The boiler room is occupied by Alexei Buldakov’s environmental installation “Butterfly,” which consists of a computer processor, that, while mining bitcoins, produces energy used to heat the room. The tubes of the oil-powered heater are arranged in the shape of a butterfly, a reference to the famous Lorenz attractor mathematical equations. 

Other participating artists include Yevgeny Antufiev, who went to the town of Zvenigorod, near Moscow, on a quest to find Anton Chekhov’s favorite tree; Italian Piero Golia, who made a tapestry depicting an empty forest; as well as Valery Chtak, Anna Zholud and Sara Culmann. 

“Hosting the Inhuman” is not just art. It’s also a series of workshops related to the themes of the exhibition, as well as film screenings and live performances by such diverse musicians as sound artist Elysia Crampton; Chino Amobi, co-founder of NON WORLDWIDE; and doom metal band Nuclear Cthulhu. 

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