~ shame on you! on tour

Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komarov

contemporary travelling theatre

schäm dich! / shame on you!

July 6 – August 4, 2021
on tour in russia

/ curatorial initiative of Microterritory Gorod Ustinov
/ assistant Yurii Smirnov

The project of Trixa Arnold and Ilja Komarov from Zurich is an artistic study of the theme of shame. It started with creating possibilities for collecting personal memories of shame. In Switzerland, they built shame-o-mat – a booth with an installed recording device. In Pakistan, their local artistic partners organised workshops to hold collective discussions on the topic. In Russia, Microterritory Gorod Ustinov has come up with a portable shamephone that can be used at any opportunity.

The accumulated stories formed the basis of the interactive performance. In textual and musical form, it represents a universal archive of shame that continues to grow. Public participation, dialogue, improvisation, renewal are an integral part of the project. On tour in Russia, the world premiere of the shame on you! performative part took place!

One can share a story and contribute to the archive of shame directly during the show, as well as anonymously using the shamephone and through the form on the schaemdi.ch website. On the eve of the tour, a russian-language version appeared there, including a detailed author's concept. Here is a fragment of it:

“ Shame can save us from embarrassment. Shame keeps us from total disgrace. It is impeding, it is irritating, it makes us insecure, it can trigger fear, aggression against others and oneself. We treat shame as something private, although its causes are social, religious and moral norms and constraints. Shame has many faces and can be passed on for several generations. It settles in our memory. Years, even decades later, we remember when, where, and why we were ashamed. For example, for your own mother who remains an outsider on visiting days at school, who is incorrectly dressed and unable to talk to other parents. For keeping silent when we get groped on a crowded bus. We are ashamed of ourselves and all the others present who stand idly by and watch the humiliation when the customs officer on the train at the border checks only the papers of PoC's. It is a paradox that we feel shame as something intimate and personal, although it has been deeply instilled by society, religion, culture and family. Almost everyone is affected by it. The reasons for shame are as complex as our society. ”

Members of the Swiss band traveled half the country – from Yekaterinburg to St. Petersburg. The itinerary included Perm, Izhevsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Tula region and other locations announced during the tour. In Udmurtia, they stopped for a week and, together with the villagers, created an improvisational orchestra of home-made instruments, and also recorded a joint radio play in the studio of the village of Sep.

~ more

The variety of locations and venues of the schäm dich! / shame on you! became a unique opportunity to see how ideas about shame are formed depending on the place and environment. Performative sessions were planned in the contexts of alternative spaces, museums and just on the street. Photographs, videos, the reaction of the audience and the impressions of the performers made up a diary of the journey of Swiss artists in Russia organized within the net of Microterritory Gorod Ustinov and emerged connections.

~ the full performance is filmed by Noisy Wed Philharmony

The russian tour of Trixa Arnold & Ilja Komarov with schäm dich! / shame on you! was initiated by the Microterritory Gorod Ustinov within the framework of the self-organized art platform #micromuseum and received the support of the Swiss Council for Culture Pro Helvetia. The project was non-commercial in nature, and the performances were freely available with the opportunity to make a donation for future cultural initiatives. Many thanks to the partners and all participants for hospitality and cordial contribution!

The journey diary could be seen below ︎︎︎


Afterwards there were performances in Switzerland, as well as tours in the Netherlands, Scotland and England, including participation in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022. The archive of shame has been translated into four languages – English, Dutch, German and Russian. The book from the archive of shame has been published by one hundred pages, Zurich.

“ The brilliance of this disarming show is its exploration of an emotion we rarely interrogate without judgement. ” – VOICEMAG

The news of schäm dich! / shame on you! could be found on schaemdi.ch