Connection, conjunction, complicity, unity, solidarity.
Today, something that should be measured in units of length (feet and inches) is measured in trust in one another. Distance now acts as a marker of the (im)possibility of closeness between us. During the pandemic, the goalposts were suddenly shifted, and we were given social distance instead of physical distance. We internalized it at the level of a reflex. How does it feel to us? How does it change space and time? What is social distance—programming or a reflection of the quality of the relationship between us?
Physical distance is the distance between two points in space, the line segment that connects or separates them. Social distance, in contrast, is the level of alienation and interconnection between social groups or specific people in a communication context, their level of social and mental closeness or distance from each other.
In this performance, an exchange of clothing replaces the traditional daily ritual of exchanging handshakes and becomes a physical proof of ultimate closeness and unconditional trust between people, an act of accepting the Other. The continuous process of exchanging clothes makes visible both physical and also mental and emotional contacts between participants, embodying the transmitted “current” and synchronizing each movement into a single flow, a signal, a dance. The participants move in unison, as if they are performing an exercise to build and strengthen their “confidence muscles” on a physical level. All social interactions directly impact biochemical processes in the human brain. Psychiatrists and therapists are confident that human connection is a key factor in strengthening the immune system and significantly reducing the risk of mood and anxiety disorders. Social distancing has the opposite effect. Touch, embrace—all these visible trappings of healthy intimacy between people are the only way to counteract the disastrous program of distancing/isolating each of us in digital pockets of the global community. Today.
Ekaterina Georg is a contemporary art teacher, performer, artist, and historian. After graduating from Belgorod State University in 2011, she moved to Moscow to join the Moscow Museum of Modern Art’s Free Workshops program. In 2012, she joined the civil service at Moscow Suvorov Military School as an art teacher, going on to become the head of their contemporary art studio Art Practice. Today she represents and is responsible for the growth of Art&Design, a joint educational initiative of Skolkovo International Gymnasium and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Georg has appeared in many performances, exhibitions, and festivals as an artist, performer, and event organizer.