Stories of the Open Water

Taus Makhacheva unveils the Caspian Sea in Venice's Lagoon.

For the 57th Venice Biennale Taus Makhacheva composed a new performance entitled “Baida.” The performance takes place daily for the duration of the exhibition in the open waters of the Adriatic Sea at the following coordinates: 45°23’30.8”N 12°24’47.7”E. Several performers appear and disappear on a capsized boat transported from the Caspian Sea of Dagestan to the open sea in front of the Venice Lagoon. It was scripted by Tim Etchells and will be performed by Zubair Dzhavatkhanov and Artem Krupin. Documentation of the performance will be uploaded to the Biennale website. 

“The idea came about when I visited the village of Stary Terek on the Caspian Sea for the first time a year ago. Our guide Makhad told us these incredible stories of local fishermen, how they survive on water during a storm. I was struck by their relationship with death, how calm and mindful it was. And how hope can be something scary to them, and how fear is lethal. These stories served as the basis for my performance in Venice.”

Taus Makhacheva was raised and educated in Moscow and London, and now lives and works in Makhachkala, Dagestan. In her videos and performance pieces Makhacheva uses the cultural context of her native Dagestan in the Russian Northern Caucasus as source material, addressing issues such as history, identity, and social relationships within communities.  

Curated by Christine Macel, the main exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennale, entitled VIVA ARTE VIVA, will take place at both the Giardini and Arsenale from May 13 to November 26, 2017.