“Political Extras” documents a paid-for mass demonstration of the same title, organized by Anna Jermolaewa for the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in 2015. She hired over 100 extras to demonstrate both for and against contemporary art, carrying placards and filling the exhibition venue in an organized fashion. Protesters received a small fee – mimicking the practice of some recent political demonstrations in Russia, and making transparent the transaction between the artist and the hired protesters, many of whom weren’t aware or interested in what they were railing against.
This film, like much of Jermolaewa’s work, focuses on the influence of political systems on the individual and society’s functional structures, questioning the discredited forms of political participation and showing that “political protest can most certainly be mercenary,” says Daniel Urban.
A screening of “Political Extras” will be held on Dec. 21 as a part of Double Feature at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, a forum for national and international film and video artists. It will be followed by a film by the Ukrainian-Soviet director Felix Sobolev “Me and Others” (1971), which examines psychological studies relating to the theme of social expectations and their impact on the individual.
Double Feature with Anna Jermolaewa. Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. Dec. 21.