CLARINDA MAC LOW, 

NATALIA TIKHONOVA, ASYA VOLODINA

Mutual Education School

(Saint Petersburg, Russia)

 

In Mutual Education School, Natalia Tikhonova (Russia), Clarinda Mac Low (USA), and Asya Volodina (Russia) connect with the history of the Gaza House of Culture as a cultural and educational nexus to build a meta-school of doing and knowing that leads visitors through practical and philosophical steps for building mutual aid networks. Like (ideal) schools, mutual aid groups are a source of information that connect people into one group and circulate knowledge and resources within the group and between groups. In a maze of information, the three artists lead the audience through a series of games and interactions, a “class” that emphasizes the group problem-solving that is at the heart of what mutual aid is and does.

 

The work is continuation of a collaboration between Mac Low and Tikhonova that began in the tumultuous months at the beginning of 2021, where the work they made was built around the upheavals taking place in their two nations, and the networks of care and support that grew up around the many crises taking place.

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Clarinda Mac Low began in dance and molecular biology and now creates participatory events investigating social constructs and corporeal experience. She is Director of Culture Push, an experimental organization linking artistic practice and civic engagement, and co-founder of Works on Water, an organization that supports art that works on, in, and with the water. She has created performance interventions in urban space with TRYST, and since 2010, she and Carolyn Hall (dancer and marine ecologist) have collaborated on Sunk Shore, speculative tours of the future on real shorelines. TRYST has staged interventions in New York, Finland, Siberia, and Portugal. Mac Low’s recent work includes: “Incredible Witness,” game-based events on the sensory origins of empathy; “Free the Orphans,” investigating spiritual and intellectual implications of intellectual property in a digital age; and “The Year of Dance”, a self-ethnography of how unconventional kinship structures form in the NYC dance world. Mac Low’s residencies include the CEC Back Apartment Residency, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Mount Tremper Arts. Also BAX Award (2004), Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant (2007) and Franklin Furnace grant (2010). BA in Dance and Molecular Biology (Wesleyan University) and MFA in Digital and Interdisciplinary Arts Practice (City College of New York-CUNY).

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Natalia Tikhonova is a multidisciplinary artist, curator and media-researcher. She acquired her first education in theoretical physics, and after that in the field of art in Roerich Art College and School for young artists at Pro Arte Foundation. Her work has been exhibited in Russia and abroad, including the Ural Industrial Biennale and Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Natalia is an active participant in the Russian art scene and has organized many curatorial projects at the intersection of arts, technology and community-based art, including, Radio Hopes and Dreams: Moscow Edition! for Garage Museum, ArtGar(b)age Coop. and Spravochnik, which she conducted with the support of Northern branches of NCCA. In 2019 Natalia received her MA in curatorial studies from Smolny/Bard College and successfully defended her thesis based on her research on online-platforms as a hybrid form of art.  Natalia also works with media about art and activism. She is a contributor and co-organizer of Spaika.media and “procartistination” tg channel, and a resident of the 2020/2021 Studio program of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.  

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Asya Volodina is an artist, script writer, and game designer. Since 2005, she has been working with the medium of Live-Action Role Play both as an individual artist and as a member of creative collectives. Her work has been shown at Bard College (New York), Khodynka Gallery (Moscow), Bonniers Konsthall (Stockholm), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), Live Action Theater (Moscow), and Kampnagel (Hamburg). Since 2019, she and artist Arseny Zhilyaev have worked at the Institute for Mastering Time. Volodina is the author of the play Normansk (Meyerhold Center, Moscow) and a co-writer of the game Justice Against the Grain (V-A-C Foundation, Moscow).