Tsada | Taus Makhacheva

My grandfather and I. Dagestan-USSR.


Taus Makhacheva

Read the artist’s submitted proposal in this PDF file. Follow the further development of the proposal below. Click here for an overview of all proposals.

On hold

It breaks our hearts to let you know that due to unforeseen circumstances imagine art after will be on hold until further notice.

summer break

We will have a summer break until September.

Feel free to update your proposals if you wish. Have a good August!



I think from what you write that you already know the answer … It is about your quest, no? Not about being the best impersonation of your grandfather.

Dress down

Im not sure how would i do that, how does one become someone else? one either takes on their appearance, or their behaviour, manners, words…Dressing up is a way of letting the audience know what im trying to do, thats why i came up with it. This is a project with inherent failure in it. It will fail, i will fail in this attempt to find out something about the fears and weaknesses or anything else about my ancestors. But i always admired failure in art, so it is not something i care about.

Im still puzzled about the question, may be i can answer with a work of art, that i came across recently. It is perfect to me. It perfectly illustrates what you are asking about.

Mom-Me 1973 by Larry Miller

Miller created Mom-Me as a durational event that involved six sessions with a hypnotherapist. Mom-Me begins with Miller’s voiceover explaining: “I wanted to know what it would feel like to become my mother, to lose consciousness of my own identity through hypnosis and to believe for a while that I was Mom.” Hypnotized, Miller-as-Mom answered questions about herself and drew a portrait of Mom and of Larry.

Taus Makhacheva

Taus Makhacheva

Taus Makhacheva

Installation of components from event realized under hypnosis, two panels with family snapshots, photographs by the artist, and video stills with ink and china marker text of the video transcript, mounted on board; life-size portraits, ink on paper, post hypnotic ink drawings on paper and video documentary, 53 minutes, 23 seconds.


Can i just decide that from 1pm-2pm i will be my grandfather, is my decision enough to realise the work this way without costumes, make up, if yes then the image is poorer, then it could have been, if the image is poor, then may be it is  a sound or a text piece…?!

I feel that i need to test this and do a video to answer this question…

Dress up

Hi Taus – wondering why you would need make-up and body-suits. Would it not be more interesting to just ‘be’ your grandfather without hiding behind this artificial layer?

Tsada proposal

Brief Outline
It’s a proposal that needs to be developed. I envision an installation made from video, slide projections, photographs and objects. It’s a project about presenting myself through the big Other, my Grandfather. How it affected my perception, my identity, my understanding.
What I want to do is shoot videos of my memories, real and fictional. It will be like a home video archive, that I don’t really have, about the events that happened and never happened… I would have to find girls of different ages that would look like me and film in different places like Tsada village, my great grandfathers house, and my grandfathers house in Makhachkala …in the end I see several films (home-video style) and several slide projections. Changing slides of different objects from my grandfather’s house and childhood photos-where I would photoshop myself into the images I was not meant to be in…
I’m thinking of playing out the role of my grandfather in those videos myself, I’m thinking of doing the same thing with my great grandfather, becoming them for some time. Walking around the house as him, writing poetry in his study, laughing, talking to a little girl (an actress that would be playing me in one of the videos).

Emotion Behind the Project
To imitate a memory I don’t want to forget and to record in video the memory I craved for. It all has to do with a fact that I remember things differently than other people in that same situation. In a way it is a licence for a lived experience, justification, video as a proof, justification for my memory. Its a way of capturing those memory flashes that one gets, capturing and adding to them. I remember a voice, an image, or a detail, a short frame, I want to build a video sculpture around those fragmented memories…add plaster of imaginary to a fragment of real.

Beeing transformed into my grandfather is an act of longing and a desire of becoming him, that I always had, since I have been very little. Having his achievements, simulating his mind, having a chance to say things to myself beeing him. Its probably as deep as self-deception can get, but on the other hand this deception will be a resolution of my own ambitions.

Principal medium: Video and photography
Location(s) of production: Dagestan (Russia)
Production budget indication: less than £3,500