Video insatallation, 2011
Mikhail Maksimov’s interactive metaphor Barriers (2011) is a product of its time. When visitors rotate a metal tiller, tipped with small birch logs, the metal barriers on a video screen begin to shake
and eventually fall over. The piece was made before the anti-government demonstrations of that year, but reflect the mood of empowerment. “The piece suggests that there is hope,”Maksimov acknowledges, “but actually I
have no hope. That is the miracle of art,” he adds wryly.
Exhibition curator and founder of Moscow’s Multimedia Museum, Olga Sviblova told the Kompass: “2011 was an important moment of hope, both in a social and a metaphysical sense … we had this big demonstration
in Bolotnaya Square and it was a moment when people thought they could change something. And then, two years later, they no longer trusted in their own powers and are like paralysed people.”
In Barriers (2011) Mikhail Maksimov creates an ordinary backdrop, detached from viewers by digitally generated barriers. The artist calls every visitor to participate in the breaking of these constructed
obstacles between viewers and the environment, simply using their hands and Russian birches. Symbolising the state control over the media, the virtual metal fences appear to be not as solid under direct action of the audience.