The Last Valve (2004) is a multi-layered work at the intersection of technology, ethics, and human/machine identity. In ‘The Last Valve’ I stitch up my vulva with surgical thread. This symbolic gesture illustrates the ULTRAFUTURO Manifesto, which calls for the abolition of gender animosity. The performance is also dedicated to the future emergence of a new class of biological and cyborgian beings artificially created in bio-engineering labs. For them, sexual differences or gender performances will not be a foundation for contradictions, because these entities are most often not gender-specific. This ‘revolution of the species’ is already changing our notion of sex and gender. Inspirational for me is not only the existing trans-bodies and trans-sexualities in both human and animal worlds but mostly the emerging artificial manufacture of ‘intelligent’ robotic, biological, and cyborgian entities that don’t have a sexual determination which calls for assigned “gender-appropriate” performances as well.
‘The Last Valve’ is also the name of an article written by Lenin in 1905 about Pyotr Stolypin’s agrarian reform. As the prime minister of Russia, Stolypin passed a populist reform to ease social tension prior to the Bolshevik Revolution. Steam generators need valves so they don’t blow up. If one closes the ‘last valve,’ the generator explodes. The metaphor of “The Last Valve” used by Lenin was used to say that Stolypin’s reform postponed the Revolution, but not for long. He “opened” the last valve, for now, released the tension, but not for long. In my performance, I symbolically close the ‘last valve’ that stands in the way of the ‘The Great Genderless Revolution of the Species’ or the time when gender problems will cease to exist.” (Boryana Rossa)
During the performance, an EMG is connected to the artist’s head and the image on the left channel of the video documentation is a visualization of the artist’s pain, transmitted through her muscles.
The performance is made together with ULTRAFUTURO collective, in our apartment in Sofia, Bulgaria before an audience of artist friends.
Photography: Alla Georgieva, Rassim
Video camera: Anton Terziev
Video editing: Oleg Mavromatti
Sound: Oleg Mavromatti