Collaboration with Nadiya Petrovska
Concrete, glass, plastic, acrylic, liquid.
As you probably already guessed, this story is about Russian roadblocks. One of these located behind the bridge that connected the Ostriv (Island) district, where Nadya lived during the occupation and before it, with the city of Kherson. For her and all other residents who lived in this area, there was no way to avoid this unpleasant flying object. It was the only way into the city. Russian aliens with their organic bio-Buryats quite often stopped and searched not only individual cars, but also passenger buses with people. Men were sometimes forced to undress and even the yellow-blue shoes of a child could become the reason for their suspects. On this part of the road, on this asteroid, two parallel realities, two different worlds met.
I had my first own experience of driving through roadblocks in the summer, when I had a need to leave the orbit of the city. The first few times I was scared a lot. I did not know whether the Russians had already learned about me or not. Since my work with a stitched-up face with a Z-shaped scar went viral on social media, I have already managed to give a dozen interviews to the British BBC and a number of Russian opposition media. My phone, on closer inspection, would betray me in a minute, no matter how well I cleaned all the compromising traces. But everything worked out, and during the summer I quite often traveled outside the Kherson planet. In the direction of Beryslav, the first asteroid was a roadblock in the area of ​​Inzhenerne. It was inhabited by Russian cops. Whether for intimidation or out of negligence, there was a destroyed, burned car in the middle of the road. Behind it, next to Molodizhne, there was another one, inhabited by someone who looked like bums from the LPR/DPR. They called me "compatriot" and begged for cigarettes. The most difficult task here was to hide my disgust. My first space adventure was when one of the Russian cops, after checking my space passport and the trunk of my stargolf, opened the back door, put down his blaster and got in by himself, saying to my wife, who was sitting at the wheel: "drive!". Of course, I had time to think that I may have already found fans of my art here and now we will talk about it for a long time somewhere in a cool basement, hidden from the summer heat. Fortunately, my Artist Talk at the local art torture gallery didn't get confirmed. He and his blaster just came out at the end of the roadblock. The last argument that turned me into a retired space traveler was a conflict with another cop on the same asteroid. My wife and I managed to avoid a full search of ourselves and the car but we did not dare to try our luck next time. Like many other Kherson residents who did not flee because of fear of turning to tobacco tar on the cigarette filter on one of those space blocks of intersection with a parallel universe, where at any moment you can become a character in their virtual reality - that space Nazi that they hunt.
In November 2022, immediately after the liberation of Kherson, we were driving our car along the roads of free Ukraine in the direction of Mykolaiv and saw the first roadblock. It was attended by Ukrainian military personnel, our defenders and liberators. We should have felt safe, but the same fear that was in the occupation rose to the surface. I understand that for the part of nervous system responsible for survival details and circumstances do not matter. Concrete block, car, camouflage, rifle... just a set of appropriate triggers. Does it matter at this moment and what are we actually guided by? As in this video and photo, the road and danger might disappear but the block remains. I would be happy to continue: “for life”, but I am not sure. Whose fear arose at the beginning of the invasion? Aren't we going round and round from generation to generation?
Series concept

   The gift that no one would want to receive.

   It is unlikely that anyone in their right mind would want to receive such a gift, but unfortunately, our fate and nervous system do just that and leave us no other choice. War is traumatic. It will end someday, but triggers - certain objects, sounds, and places - will periodically return us to the feelings and states that we experienced and are still experiencing. They settle on the bottom of our psyche like a heavy block of concrete and will lie there as long as they are connected to intense negative emotions and feelings. Until we have rethought the events that have happened and understood what has changed in our personality and values for the better. Until the traumatic memories fit  into neat row of blocks in the foundation of the structure that we have not yet become. It is impossible to run away from triggers, they can and should be discharged, before inherited by children.
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