project image
Svetlana Lopato

first performed on May 16, 2019
PerformanceCrossings 2019, Prague, Czechia
performed once in 2019


Essen, Germany


1 bowl with water, 1 blue t-shirt, 1 big canning jar, 1 cactus, scissors, 1 table, 1 bottle of water.

There was just one week left till Europe had to vote for the EU Parliament. I packed some materials for the festival in Prague with the aim of making a performance centered around the big thing called the EU. When I arrived at the space, I was surprised to find this sentence someone had written on the wall years before: I don’t know how to explain that you should care about the others. It really described my feelings about the elections, about the borders of the EU, about our privileged position, and about the negative vibes that move across Europe (Brexit, the rejection of refugees, and the rise of the right wing parties).

The materials for my performances are mostly everyday objects and I try to use them without any clear statement or clear one to one message, rather leaving everything open for all kinds of interpretation. Within my performance, I held a big bowl in front of my mouth and gargled with the little water that was in the bowl. This sounds funny at first, but after a while it also gives you the impression of a drowning person. With a pair of scissors I cut twelve holes in my blue shirt according to the stars of the EU flag. While I was moving the table around, a big glass jar with a cactus inside was sliding around, and finally fell and smashed on the ground. The cactus was laying unprotected on the floor. While blocking the word “others” written on the wall with my right hand, I pointed my left finger at the audience. And finally, I took the cactus from the floor and squeezed it to my naked chest while raising the blue shirt with my left arm.

In my performance work, I do not often feature direct political actions or images, but in this case I felt a certain need to create a political performative image with these everyday objects.

The blue shirt with twelve holes / stars, the gargling / drowning, water / sea, the sentence on the wall being redirected to the audience, the fall of the cactus which is actually protected by thorns and suddenly becomes unprotected, the rise of my shirt / flag while hurting myself—all these actions and items were representative of my view of the situation in the EU. The sentence and the pain I inflicted on myself with the cactus made it especially clear to me that we actually should care more. Care more about us, about you and me, about the way we live, about the way we live together, about the EU and about the planet.