Amalia Ulman
Annals of the Private History
Video, installation
In her work Amalia Ulman has been consistently exploring the possibilities of the Internet and social media, using them as a tool for promoting her art, a source material and an aesthetical framework. The artist gained wide recognition thanks to her two Instagram projects, namely "Excellences & Perfections" (2014) and "Privilege" (2015-2016). A video lecture titled "Annals of the Private History", which resembles a mix of a TED Talk and video instructions published on Youtube, brings together a variety of features of the Internet information stream that are easy to recognize: information overload, a multiplicity of channels, the blurry line between fact and fiction.

Using miscellaneous elements such as primitive animation, pop music, frames from popular films, commercials, and fragments from video blogs, Ulman creates a narrative about the history of the private diary. With an ironic tone the piece talks about dictatorships, family violence and the struggle for power, studying these widespread cultural phenomena in the framework of power relations. In the storyteller's view, by gifting women with diaries men made them remove their feelings and thoughts from the public discourse, invoking their sacred and private nature (an analogy the artist draws between the diary with a padlock and the prison for female consciousness seems particularly relevant). At the same time, men used a pen and paper for gaining knowledge and spreading their ideas. Although the Internet, with a variety of blogs that can be seen as contemporary technology-driven versions of the diary, gives wide possibilities for sharing one's experiences, Ulman emphasizes that video-blogs about such topics as plastic surgery, pregnancy, and diet quoted in her piece are still labeled as sensitive and taboo.

The artist radically transforms the exhibition space, removing visitors from the usual "white cube". Her narrative's tone of voice drifts from historical research to a stream of banalities as though borrowed from a messaging app. The semantic accents, contradictions and contrasts, packed in a 14-minute video that at first glance may appear frivolous and playful, offer a contemporary perspective on the history and the current state of female subjectivity, women's right for autobiographical narrative and its equivalence to male narrative.

artistic director of the project: Viktor Misiano
National Center for Contemporary Arts
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
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