What is Fear Artists

Theo Ilichenko

“My identity was formed while growing up in Russia right after the fall of the Soviet Union, during turbulent times of massive historical transformations, when fear for one’s individual and collective survival was imminent. But so were the eccentric ways to assert one’s dignity and humanity found by history’s and society’s most vulnerable casualties and the queer community I was surrounded by.

This experience informs my hybrid video and performance practice and essayistic documentary forms that explore film, photo portraiture, and storytelling as an affective medium of care, engaged witnessing and cultural memory; art as a grassroots survival and solidarity technology; and my artistic and personal commitment as an aspiring “funeral stripper” in apprenticeship (a grief care worker for queer communities). Through mourning practices in the queer communities, I intend to mutually learn and share transferable skills of solidarity, unique ways of transforming social violence, and restoring the personhood of erased social agents.”