'Adaptive Degradation', 2018, detail of the video installation
In her videos Polina Kanis depicts the logic that lays in the shadows behind the façade of social conventions. The movements and methodologies in her films reference the almost invisible yet brutally forceful routines, procedures, conventions, and mechanisms that are imposed on the human body and mind to make them conform to social pro- tocols. She shows how general society influences individual behaviour: the constant pressure of fitting in, and the restrictions and boundaries constructed by communities that influence our interactions with each other, as much as they shape our inner workings and responses. The clean, sterile architecture and environments in Kanis’s videos represent these strict systems and frameworks.
In her most recent work, Kanis refers to the medieval myth in which animals injure themselves in order to avoid being captured: they amputate the most desired aspect of their body in the pursuit of safety. This could metaphorically be read as a mode of resistance, a means to make oneself unattractive to the system. In the film we witness a female operator who holds power and gives directions, while simultaneously suggesting modes of perversion and addressing the overindulgence of personal desires. She uses her domestic space to evade the inclinations and expectations from the outside world, while still digitally connected to it, she shows how hierarchical systems of power create shifts and perversions in relationships between individuals. The surrounding installation hints at the ways governments and companies direct human choreographies and block movement, as much as influence and limit our desires, possibilities, and freedom.