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No Regrets

SD video, 05:28 min.
2011, re-cut 2016

No Regrets is based on footage of the suspension performance filmed in a night club in Kharkiv, a city in the East of Ukraine. Suspension is a subculture distinguished by the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through body piercings. Many participants are representatives of teenage communities fascinated by heavy music, tattoos and piercing. Youth radicalism is sublimed here in bodily experience and overcoming pain thresholds, practiced as a protest against the routines of everyday life and social normatives. Opposite to political activism, in this case literally shows a desire to fly away from social relationships – a breakup which is possible only through physical pain. Five years after these filmed events, Ukraine was engaged in a war that provoked a fatal challenge for youth. Apart from obligatory military service, many young people joined volunteer battalions engaged in political radicalism. Pain changed its role from a symbol of escape from social normatives to a symbol of a new normality in the context of war. 
Video accompanied by the sound of a jammed vinyl record and text from Edith Piaf’s famous song Non, je ne regrette rien. Originally this song referred to a private experience of the singer but later it was dedicated to the French Foreign Legion. Soldiers of the 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment were singing No, I regret nothing – symbolical and controversial lines for different historical periods and contexts.


  
  
"No Regrets", stills from video
  

"No Regrets" ("A Visit from Ghosts", Visual Culture Research Center, Kyiv, 2016
photo: Natalka Diachenko)