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A film screening in which each audience member watched edited footage from the Ukrainian riots whilst tied to a chair.
I was a little disappointed by my first protest. Though I was certainly sympathetic to the cause, I was struck by the strict orchestration of the affair; not only was I directed by the mounted police, but also by the protest organisers. It was so awkward and tightly controlled that it seemed weirdly pointless; I felt like I was part of some strange spectacle, forced to shout the same rhyming chants which I didn't write and, to be honest, found quite cringeworthy. As shoppers on Murray St Mall stood quietly and took photos of me on their iPhones, I hid behind my placard, stood towards the back, and marched feebly; it was all so embarrassing.
This happened around about the same time as the riots in Kiev that preceded the Ukrainian Revolution of 2014. Though I found the violence deplorable, I couldn't help but romanticise the flames, the shouting, the collective anger of an entire city. In Perth, the police asked us to stick to our designated area and to stop swearing; in Kiev, the police dodged Molotov cocktails and ran away screaming from the rabid crowds. And, unlike our modest student march, the Ukrainian people actually got what they wanted, though not without the tragic cost of widespread death and destruction.
And so, a little disturbed by my own insensitivity as a distant spectator, I obtained footage from the Ukrainian riots and edited it into a reverse-colour film. I held a late night screening for a limited audience; each went in one by one, tied to a chair, alone amongst the cacophony of sound, though still, of course, comfortable in knowing that such a thing would probably never happen in Perth.
Thank you to Jill, Shaun, Jess, Jack and Graham for their participation.