Red Square
Pam Patterson, Canada

Political Performance III, March 25, 2013

videography by John Oughton
edited by Miklos Legrady

click to play video

"Red Square" was named not for the colour of its bricks nor for a link between the colour red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word Red in Russianl cyrilic characters (krasnaya) can mean either "red" or "beautiful". Red Square was considered a sacred place and now is a world heritage site; a centre for cathedrals, museums and government. Various festive processions have been held there as well as executions and military or victory parades. It provides a complex site for culture and the display of state power. It provides an iconic space for perceived stability and safety. But as we know, such spaces, and the institutions they commemorate, can be problematic. When unsuccessfully and relentlessly negotiating institutions, we can feel mired in red tape, deadened by bureaucratic meetings, and unable to succeed. We are at a loss, for this is a system organised to defend its hierarchy and its (unacknowledged) class bias. It hides its failings under self-aggrandizing and obfuscating rhetoric. I journey through the halls of an educational institution where I teach, tracking and marking space, trawling a wrapped ball of red twine, clutching my "red square" like a child’s blankey. It is a red army blanket used by Canadian troops. Its presence speaks to warmth, comfort, safety but also can reference the Canadian government’s distribution of disease-ridden blankets to its native people with the intention to (successfully) decimate their numbers.

photography by Miklos Legrady

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