Not a Sad Tale

Not a Sad Tale

2016
Duration: 20 minutes
Performance and animation by Yuliya Lanina
Original music by Vladimir Rannev

Not A Sad Tale is a story of creation gone awry. Its creator – simultaneously the author and the character – is visual artist Yuliya Lanina. Known for her animations and mechanical sculptures, this is the first time Lanina steps inside one of her creations, literally and figuratively, to reveal a fantastical micro-realm in the process of being made. Progress is slow, the resulting beauty is ephemeral, and the wicked forces of obstruction thwart her every step.

The animation and Lanina’s live performance are synchronized with original music by the award-winning Russian avant-garde composer, Vladimir Rannev. The electroacoustic track mixes fixed media with sounds that the performer manipulates in real time entirely with her breathing. Going beyond mere accompaniment, the music serves as a primary voice in the narrative and its unfolding. The presentation blurs the line between on-stage reality and its sublimation on screen, as the artist shapes her art “in her own image”, endowing it with all her strengths and her flaws. Taking a cue from Lanina’s previous work, the animation features characters with a mismatch of misshapen body parts both animal and human. They rejoice in the brief moment of their existence, while their creator remains, in James Joyce’s words, “within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork.”

This project was made possible with the support of a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts and Fusebox Festival. Special thanks to Lian Amber, Andrea Ariel, Ryan Laney, and Yevgeniy Sharlat.

Photos by Scott David Gordon
Video documentation by Dávid Lovas