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17 Degrees Outside

Collaborated w/ Tiko Imnadze

Kharkiv physics technical institute “UPTI” has a long history and important facts for the development of physics. In the Soviet Union, it was the first place where the atom was split, the largest electrostatic generator “Van de Graaff”, had huge achievements in the field of theoretical physics, studies of nuclear power, and so on. Mishiko Sulakauri and Tiko Imnadze tried to find the beginning of the Institute by studying and rethinking its history. The main building was constructed with parts of the Russian royal military ship “Empress Maria”, which exploded and sunk in Sevastopol Bay ‘1916 (Black Sea), it was not possible to fix it, so its parts were used for various purposes, including iron columns in ‘UPTI’, which made it possible to protect the building from explosions.


Russian military ship was called after last monarch Nicolas II’s mother Empress Maria Feoderovna. The name of the artwork “it was 17 degrees outside, so I could stay a little bit longer” is an opening sentence in Empress Maria’s diaries. The artists received seawater from the Black Sea coast by Post, which became key materials for the show production. It was important for them to return the origin of history - water, to the university building.

Exposition in Nuclear Research Institute was including coordinates of a sunk ship, lasers separating ship metal parts from the architecture, scans of a nuclear tests, documentation of sending seawater by post, Empresses portrait in Black Sea water and

was ending with live Opera, which took place at “Van de Graaff’s” famous generator. Aria “Enchant me, Enchant!” sang by a local opera singer became a romantic touch, underlining secret relationships between abandoned institutes and physicists. Opera was also sung in Institutes abandoned underground “monocrystal” laboratory, where the soviets were growing crystals.

Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Supported by “Open Place” residency

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