How to be a Good Guest
2-Day Performance

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How to be a Good Guest
was a two-day performance in Belgrade, Serbia. Driving from the airport to my hotel I witnessed for the first time the devastation inflicted on Belgrade by the bombs of my US countrymen. The US has long relied on force rather than understanding in it's dealing with a great many countries such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to name a few. American Senator William Fulbright said: In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine. It occurred to me that getting to know a people and their culture might be a way to avoid conflict. The performance focused on engaging Serbian people through their culture. For two days I traveled around Belgrade and collected miscellaneous memorabilia such as old photographs, records, cd's, dolls, political posters from the walls of the city, bus tickets, etc. As the things were collected they were attached to my suit with pins. With the progression of the performance my suit became more and more densely decorated with fragments of Serbian culture. People began to add various objects to the suit as I traveled the city. The culminating event was at Gallery Progress during the Night of Museums, where people added to the suit and explained the meanings behind the found objects to me on a blackboard.

Artists Statement for Gallery

I come to Belgrade as a guest. I come here in search of the center between east and west, which is part of my heritage as a Russian/American.

As a good guest I am eager to learn about the culture of your city. I will collect the things I don't understand and attach them to myself in the hopes of having my hosts explain them to me. For that purpose we will have a blackboard and chalk, as every good classroom must have.

What can you show me about a thing a word or a dance?
The German Artist Joseph Beuys used blackboards to explain things to his audience. I propose to use a blackboard to have my audience explain things to me. When you come to an art gallery it's usually to look at art, in this case I am asking you to make art. The interaction is the art.