ANNA TERESHKINA,

ANASTASIA MAKARENKO

CURATOR ANNA HARSANYI

ZAAGS

(Saint Petersburg, Russia)

 

ZAAGS is a temporary, interactive office by Anna Tereshkina and Anastasia Makarenko located inside DK Gaza that provides fictional Boston marriage registrations during the Art Prospect Festival. The registration experience will invite participants to playfully probe the typical marriage registration process, while offering a space to appreciate and commemorate potentially alternative forms of friendship and closeness not always appreciated within mainstream social structures. ZAAGS is short for Zapis’ aktov al’ternativnogo gedonisticheskogo sostoiania (Bureau of Acts of Alternative Hedonistic Nature), a play on the name of the Russian government office responsible for recording births, deaths, and marriages (ZAGS). The title also pays tribute to the late feminist activist Tatiana Nikonova, whose work in sexual education and gender equity included celebrating “hedonism” as a source of joy and empowerment.

 

The artists will occupy an entire room of DK Gaza, which will be set up as a familiar office space, decorated with flowers, photos, and framed certificates. Participants can sign up in advance to book a time to register their Boston marriage, and will enter the room during their scheduled appointment time. During their appointment, they will discuss this form of relationship and go through a series of small pseudo-bureaucratic rituals led by the artists, which end with taking a portrait. Participants will leave with a certificate of registration and their photograph, a copy of which will also be on display in the office.

 

A Boston marriage is a colloquial term used to describe a type of mutual living relationship between two women. This form of official cohabitation started in the United States in the 19th century, and allowed women to live autonomously without depending on men or their families. Women still choose to live together in this way today, favoring friendship and closeness over traditional partnerships. During COVID-19, when isolation and restrictions on social life have kept people apart, friendship and intimacy have proven to be an important part of survival. This project offers a chance to acknowledge kinship in all of its forms.

 

Photo: Anna Harsanyi

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Nastya Makarenko is an artist who deals with issues of friendship and sisterhood, invisibility and ambiguity, boundaries and transitions, tenderness and weakness. Her artistic statements utilize handicrafts, photography, video, and performance. Makarenko is a member of Nadenka Creative Association and a curator at Yegorka Communal Gallery (together with Anna Tereshkina). She graduated from Event School of Photography and Media Art (Omsk) in 2013 and, in 2017, from the Chto Delat School of Engaged Art (St. Petersburg).

Anna Tereshkina is an artist who deals with issues of family history, kinship, and care, imposture and folklore, passive influence, and horizontal ties. Her artistic statements utilize drawing and printmaking, collage, artist books, sound, and video. Tereshkina’s ongoing interdisciplinary collaborations include the newspaper Nasreddin in Russia, Yegorka Communal Gallery, Shvemy Sewing Cooperative, and the musical duo Red Dawns. She studied art at Omsk State Pedagogical University, graduating in 2008, and at the Chto Delat School of Engaged Art (St. Petersburg), graduating in 2014.

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Anna Harsanyi is a curator, educator, and arts manager. She is dedicated to presenting art in a non-art context and creating sites that invite participation from audiences outside of the art community. In 2019, she co-curated In the Historical Present, an exhibition marking The New School's Centennial that featured commissioned projects exploring the often hidden or dormant histories within the institution. She has organized projects presenting artist engagements within the historic Essex Street Market in New York's Lower East Side, collaborated with Sheetal Prajapati on a series of events centered around play, and was part of the team of curators who organized No Longer Empty's exhibition Through the Parlor in a former beauty salon in the Lower East Side. In 2014, she co-curated Hot & Cold: Revolution in the Present Tense, a public art project in Timișoara and Cluj, Romania that presented three artist projects responding to the 25th anniversary of the revolution that ended communism. Anna has worked in education and public programming roles at the Museum of Modern Art, New York Arts Practicum, A Blade of Grass, and, most recently, at the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She teaches at The New School.