Performance: CRYSTAL/the mental body of menthol

SAVE lab is an art-science laboratory located at Moscow State University in a basement that in the past was a bomb shelter. Julia Borovaya, one of their permanent residents, and collaborators have developed projects in which they fuse art with chemical molecules to explore the three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. In one of their latest projects, CRYSTAL / the mental body of menthol, they examine the direct communication between the human body and a chemical substance.

Julia Boravaya tells as over Email the intellectual process: ‘CRYSTAL / the mental body of menthol is evidence of an interaction between the human body and a substance as it changes from the gas phase into crystal phase and then finally evaporates on the human body. There is a circle of transformation: the plant (menthol) becomes a crystal, then steam, then again a plant (dendrite). CRYSTAL / the mental body of menthol is about hypersensitivity, the consciousness and subconsciousness relationship with matter.’ The performer is set inside a glass tank that is filled with steam that appears from this substance’s gas (fog) phase. The substance goes up from the bottom of the tank and precipitates on the performer’s body building polycrystals, dendrites. When the substance contacts her body makes her feels every stage of the matter in a different way, for example, the cold she is feeling it is not real, it is just irritation of skin receptors. During the 60-80 minutes that she is in contact with the substance, she experiences the various stages of the substance physic and consciously until the tank is over, then the substance is washed off the body with water and the body recovers.

After the performance, Julia continues telling us, that the substance stays on Anastasia Kraseva’s (the performer) body ‘as an invisible, thin but perceivable layer that makes her feels its action under her clothes as the environment changes and that  It takes about three hours for the substance to fully evaporate.’

CRYSTAL / the mental body of menthol opens on April, 19 to May 5, 2019.


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Text by CLOT Magazine (Twitter @clotmagazine)

(Photos and video courtesy of Save lab)

14 Apr 2019