The header image of this blog shows the outcome of a 1970s event by the Moscow conceptual art group Collective Actions. Most of their actions consisted of situations in which a group of people, invited by the action’s organizers, participated in some unknown activity. In this event, titled The Encounter, two artists, Monastirsky and Panitkov, were led blindfolded to a twin tunnel underneath a railway line. Each of them was led into a tunnel, the exit holes on both sides were sealed with black paper screens, and they were asked to walk down further, in total darkness.
The first to reach the opposite exit hole (the pipes’ length was 50-60 meters approx.) was Monastyrski. On breaking the seal with his body and running outside, he noticed the entrance to the other pipe on his right that was sealed with black screen with an inscription that said “Break the seal and get inside the pipe”. After doing so (and smashing the screen against the pipe’s floor) he moved forward. A few steps in darkness, and he stumbled upon Panitkov who was moving inside the pipe from the opposite direction.
The picture shows the two of them, standing a little bit silly looking. No shaking of hands, no hugging, no conversation. They bumped into each other. No mutual interests. No expectations. No favors returned. An encounter without reciprocity.
The full report by artist Andrey Monastirsky of this encounter, including more photo’s can be read at: http://conceptualism.letov.ru/KD-ACTIONS-19.htm