An outdoor documentary rap musical
(St. Petersburg, Russia)
“Lots of people grew up in identical suburbs, inside of and surrounded by pre-fab apartment buildings, and the members of Techno Poetry are no different. Anton was born in and lived in Ukhta, Anastasia in Varavino neighborhood in Arkhangelsk, Mr. Osminkin in Southwest St. Petersburg, and Marina in Sebezh, Pskov Region, and later in Veselyy Poselok [translator’s note: literally “Happy Housing Development”], St. Petersburg. After intensive discussion, we decided to synthesize those scenes into an archetypical suburb, where we set our outdoor documentary rap musical.”
The project began with a research stage: a mini workshop in and around the Ivan Gaza Palace of Culture, where the artists mapped out the route of the rap musical, as well as creating a concept and script for each stop along the way. The play runs approximately two hours long. The artists meet the viewers in an arranged location and move from place to place, recounting stories from their own experience of suburban living, documentary-style, and invite viewers to share their own stories. The play includes stops for read-throughs of original rap tracks, documentary theater, and stand-up comedy. Viewers will be invited to join in simple games/practices such as Finding Your Voice, Sing-along with a Guitar, Acting Out Dialogues from a Script, Dancing to the Music on the Speakers, and Freestyle Rapping. The play will culminate in a modest picnic, concert, and discussion of what viewers saw and heard.
Techno Poetry is an interdisciplinary collective composed of Anton Komandirov, Anastasia Vepreva, Roman Osminkin, and Maria Shamova. It was founded in St. Petersburg in 2018. The group’s art practice, which goes in tandem with its activism, occupies a zone of utopian imagination and self-deprecating humor, but never loses touch with concrete issues. Techno Poetry’s members make use of various forms of expression, staging performances, holding lecture performances and workshops, making videos, as well as playing and recording musical manifestos.
Selected performances include the video vaudeville No Avoiding the Apocalpyse! (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2021), Greenhouse (Shelter Festival, Helsinki, 2018), and Daily Briefing (SDVIG Performing Arts Studio, St. Petersburg (2019). Group shows and festivals include Séance of Tenderness (Paris, 2018), Barents Spektakel (Kirkenes, Norway, 2018), Freie Tanz-und Theaterszene (Stuttgart, 2019), Art Prospect (St. Petersburg, 2019 and 2020), and Paradistopia: Outlining Imaginary Communities (online, 2020). Techno Poetry helped organize a concert to support protesters arrested at St. Petersburg Pride in 2018 and a reading in support of domestic violence survivors (PANDA Theater, Berlin, 2019). They performed at the Feminism for All and Outlaw Domestic Violence rallies (both in St. Petersburg, 2019). The collective has played in Berlin, Kyiv, Moscow, Leipzig, St. Petersburg, and elsewhere. In 2020, it was awarded a Culture in Motion travel grant for cultural professionals by the Goethe Institute. Its members are based in St. Petersburg.