Real Weapon

Video Artist: Anna Rotaenko
Country: Year: Duration: 18 min 36 sec


Video installation

Vertical and horizontal (two-channel) exposure options. Also, the video exists in Russian and English versions (full dubbing).

Machinima, original scenario, shooting, editing, and music.

The scenario features real dialogues and quotes from chats shot in the gaming environment. Machinima matches the DIY principle of using those media and facilities available at the moment, referring to self-organization practices and digital anarchy. The main character is some kind of Danila Bagrov [the character of cult movie ‘Brother’ by Aleksei Balabanov] – the way he would be like if he was transferred in the art sphere. He’s the author’s alter ego as well.

If we focus on the ‘search of power’ fable, this character, as well as Bagrov interpreted by Bodrov [actor], seeks to escape the deceitful duality of art in the capitalist era, in this case. He is a representative of the precariat, with all the helplessness and romanticism that are typical of this segment.

The plot is structurally divided into parts similarly to the 12 steps program that the character undergoes. In this version of the program, addiction is replaced by capitalism, while art takes the place of god.

Any communication becomes a form of violence. Real art, just like a real weapon, can be only such a communication that brings a change into the participant’s world. Real communication breaks the logic of capitalist production. The transmission of real situations into the gaming environment illustrates the critical introspection that remains locked in the vacuum of escapism before any direct action takes place.


Anna Rotaenko

Anna Rotaenko is a Germany-based artist born in Kharkov, Ukrainian SSR in 1990. In addition to making large-scale installations, she works with electronic music, video, and digital imagery.

Moving from the particular to the general, her practice often draws upon personal stories that reveal a shared vulnerability of individuals from oppressed communities, including artists. Anna’s works explore the urban environment and its media, appropriating pop culture elements and its toolkit, such as apps, videogames, songwriting, etc. In a world where everyone is a user and technology is here to stay, Anna embraces digital art. Blurring the lines between work, artistic production, and everyday life, she explores the possibilities of re-coding existing technological systems.

Rotaenko studied at the Rodchenko Art School (2016 — 2018) and Institute of Problems of Contemporary Art (2015 — 2016). She participated in group exhibitions and festivals including New Russias 2020 (Manchester, UK), The Wrong Biennale ( — 2019), Inrocks festival (Paris — 2018), ELECTRO- MECHANICA XIII, International Multimedia Festival (St. Petersburg, 2018), VII Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art (Moscow, 2017), V Moscow International Biennale for Young Art «Deep Inside» (Moscow, 2016) and others. Solo exhibitions: "Ringtone" (Vadim Sidur Museum, MMOMA, Moscow, 2020), "Magic precautions'' (Cité internationale des arts, Paris, 2019), "Underside" (MMOMA, Moscow, 2016), «Waiting room» (Triumph Gallery, Moscow, 2015). Awards and nominations: Nomination «New Generation» and French Institute Prize at the Innovation Award, 2019. Nomination «Best Media Object», Sergey Kuryokhin Award, 2018 Laureate of the Dostoevsky List «The most relevant photographers of Russia and Ukraine», 2016

Her works are in the collections of the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum (MMAM), Moscow Modern Art Museum (MMOMA), and private collections in Russia, France, Japan, Germany, Ukraine, and the US.