Issue: №3 2014

Section: Artists' Text

What am I doing here?!

What am I doing here?!

The material is illustrated with photographs from Alina Gutkina’s projects from various years. Courtesy: Alina Gutkina

Alina Gutkina Born in 1985 in Moscow. Artist. Lives in Moscow.

Reality is a constant only because I fix it as such as an artist.

My goal is to discover and underline the rupture between reality—which is a constant for the spectator—and myself, as a constant of a new reality.

The artist knows space owing to the decision to see it and know it as such. The system exists owing only to the power of faith in it. As long as you are confident—it exists.

When you look deeper, you understand that there is nothing, except for yourself as a substance.

Any worldview creates a rupture. You can determine it only at the moment of your own disappearance.


A subculture as a closed ecosystem is comprised of myriad of connections, creating an exchange of matter and energy between living organisms. To understand oneself inside it today is practically impossible. In one way or another, you have to be part of some group of similar thinkers, giving you a living presence and real time. Putting on a certain uniform, you represent your group. You, as one for all, make a radical gesture. You—the presentation of the movement.

The resistance that is laid into you by a subculture—this is above all the focus of a subject on oneself as an exemplar of a completely anti-systemic behaviour in a general sense.

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An apartment or a studio where the recording is being made, a club, where the performance is being put on, the internet, where material is uploaded, transform into zones of broadcast of “dangerous” behaviour. And this is not talking about a political protest or some kind of an appeal. This is much deeper and more serious: an elusive programming of behaviour with specific patterns by only one performer (behind whom, as was already mentioned, stands an entire group). The style of communication, sentence structure and meaning, construct the reality of the receiver.

Music has a vast potential of programming when it comes to street subculture as a religion.

As much as chanson is secured in our consciousness as connected to a certain audience, so is rap affixed to a certain social stratum. An enormous percentage of rap themes lie outside the law. This was not always the case, but perhaps became especially so in the last ten years, acquiring an indicative character.


The poetics of streets, but not of Stoleshnikov Alley or Teatralniy Passage, but streets on which you grew up and where you meet your end if you “do not rise up.” This is a street on which your route is charted from the very beginning, the one around which you orient yourself as if on a battlefield.

My heroes know the buzz codes to the entrances of almost all the important [apartment] homes in their district. These are entrances where it is warm and a decent view opens up from the stairwell. Inside you feel safe.

The choices of behaviour and appearance are directly connected with the notion of safety, which implies a possibility of making independent and free choices, and of implementing your own strategy of development, both spiritual and social-economic.

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In a residential area, a representative of street culture knows how to avoid pressures and interventions from outside. Culture itself teaches this, in substance, preparing a person for the most unexpected turns and psychologically priming him or her to overcome them.

This is only possible in places of uninterrupted presence, which means, only in well-known and studied spaces, as well as in areas especially built for positionality.

Falling into a completely different space, a person is forced to radicalize.

During a conversation, my comrade was insisting that it is easier for him to perform (reading rap) in a basement, than in downtown Moscow, where he is also given a good honorarium. His explained that a right crowd is ready to receive only in “their” places, and he justified his position by his unwillingness to constantly think, “what am I doing here?!”.

Moscow, 2013


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