Cooking city rats

A talk with artist Petr Davydtchenko.

On capitalism dystopia, eating rats, vampire blood, NFT’s and the apocalypse: Petr Davydtchenko in conversation with Maria Abramenko.

How and when did you first start your art practice?

In the 90th my mother and father were painters living in Saint-Petersburg. My father left us when I was 6. We had very little money. We had to move in with my grandparents. It was difficult to get food my mother could not afford anything. I remember walking on a small path near Frunzenskaya, there was that candy factory nearby. I saw rats dragging candies through a hole in the fence. Each time I would pass there I’d find a few of the candies and eat them. It turned out that rats were stealing candies from the factory and marking the trail so that other rats could find the repository. Until recently, the  Frunzensky district in the southern outskirts of Saint-Petersburg remained the city of Khrushchev slum with bad, criminal reputation. Its only attraction was the mystical and ominous long-term construction – the Khovrishkaya factory, where people and animals disappeared, the dead and dead were found, and satanists performed rituals in the basements. Nearby, in one of the gray panels, in a typical two-room apartment huddled my family: my mother, grandmother and grandfather. When a rat finds a source of food it takes back a piece leaving the trail so that other rats from the community could go and feed on the same source. This is how rat communities operate. Rats verify hunger levels based on odor. They are very smart and social creatures that take care of each other. They use the partner’s inadvertent smell of hunger as an indicator for its current need, adjusting their helping propensity accordingly. I was able to enjoy these small treats on a daily basis. This salvation made me part of their community. Since that time I would always see rats as saviours and an important source of income. In order to continue your speech or your painting, you have to choose a certain paradigm in accordance with the aim of the statement. And we are choosing this paradigm: I consider terror as the only effective action (for changing the world in this current political class struggle). Under terror (2, 3) I consider any action directed to and reaching the aim of destruction of the bourgeois (4) myth of eternal nature (Barthes “Myth Today”). Large part of the aforementioned methods found it’s reflection in this process. Here it only remains to postulate its action. My painting (8) presents to you the readers with your inoculated defining mind (4) a form of the Avant-gardist – chaotic, inconsistent style, impudence, unreasonableness of conclusions, coarseness, egoistic references to his unknown artworks, etc.

At some point your carrier has turned to focus on feeding yourself with roadkill. How and why did this happen?

A pornographic movie is shown to me. In the middle or by the end of the film (depending on how long ago I had intimate relations) all my physiological reactions are gone. The only thing that is left is a stupid stare at the screen. This is what a painting should be.

Deutschland – sterility, purity and order.
Deutschland – locomotive of the European economy.
Deutschland – symbol of the economic dawn of Europe.
Deutschland – archetype for financial innovation, discipline, army, police.
Deutschland 2021 – impossible to safely send children to school, due to the invasion of rats.
Deutschland 2021 – parents don’t let children on the local playground as they could be bitten by rats.

The streets of the German city of Cologne were seized by rats. Meschenich is one of the districts that suffers particularly from this invasion. You just walk along the streets and see hundreds and hundreds of animals that make the residents of the multi-storey complex shiver. A paradise for the rats. In the middle – a playground that was built with the taxpayers money. In the past children often went to play there with friends. Now this playground is occupied by rats. Parents no longer allow their children to play there. I have been catching, cooking and eating rats there for a period of two months. They have been my sole source of protein and I felt well nourished and healthy. As a matter of fact these little creatures are delicious in taste and I am currently working on a cookbook to help people with fresh ideas for recipes. A book about tasty and healthy food will consist of 86 recipes for cooking city rats. This book about tasty and healthy food is the only solution that will help to bring the German economy out of stagnation.

In some of the texts related to your work you were compared to such artists as Joseph Beuys and Chris Burden. Would you agree with these statements?

Terror (2, 3) is a process that has to, it is the essential conditions for its existence, be expressed in all areas of human activities (3) underlines its anti ideological direction. (3) Terrorism is a permanent action for which the aim is momentary and is not correlated with any absolute idea (Hegel) This is a purposeful war (6) Not the aimlessness that justifies means, but a struggle against system (7) That is to say against pseudo reasonable real (Hegel). Rats are attacking and hospitalizing people on the streets. It is an effect of the spread of Coronavirus that has savaged human life across the globe, killing at least five million people. Government imposed lockdowns trapped citizens within their homes like caged animals, granting rats their freedom, as they fed, fattened, and traded their labyrinthian subterranean tunnels for our deserted paths and pavements. Throughout history, the symbolism of rats, like bats, has oscillated between light and dark. The common vampire bat is noted for its unusual and highly evolved social structure. When an individual bat in a group does not get enough food at night, members of its group share their blood meals. Births are single but, unlike other bats that are usually weaned after four to six weeks, young vampires stay with their mothers for several months until they have learned to feed on their own. Females and their young form stable groups that roost together. Males roost separately, except for dominant males who roost with the females.After Marx in the face of Barthes, the meaning of politics needs to be understood in depth as the totality of human connections forming real social structure that is capable of creating peace. In order to continue your speech or your painting, you have to choose a certain paradigm in accordance with the aim of the statement. And we are choosing this paradigm: I consider terror as the only effective action (for changing the world in this current political class struggle). Under terror (2, 3) I consider any action directed to and reaching the aim of destruction of the bourgeois (4) myth of eternal nature (Barthes “Myth Today”).  During this dystopian period I embarked on a quest to bring down the big pharma company Pfizer by offering society an alternative remedy to Coronavirus in the form of a live vaccine.

Rigorously testing my hypothesis with scientific researchers across Europe, I seized opportunities to demonstrate its effectiveness by publicly ingesting live bats in front of the country’s respective Parliaments. I gained evidence proving acquired antibodies, and yet was arrested and interrogated repeatedly by Government officials who actively denied the legitimacy of my vaccine. I remain waiting for my days in court. PERFTORAN was largely made possible by the alternative funding source of the decentralised crypto community.

Could you tell us about your NFT  project that will be shown in Paris on 9-11 Dec 2021 during the Opyum Festival? How is this project to be developed in its future?

The internet giants go offline today and never return. What happens tomorrow?
A: A golden age dawn?    B: Collapse: we dine on rats
/Edward Snowden

I have learned you are never too small to make a difference. For this financial model to work, the first task is to change the consumers’ behaviour by teaching and promoting the capitalisation of their goods-to-hand and altering deeply ingrained mind-sets and routines. Each day the community gained insight into the profitability of the endeavour and began to facilitate capturing the rodents. It is a zero-waste strategy that promotes a circular economy – an economy blessed by high fertility rates and rapid reproduction cycles, resulting in the exponential growth of the central product. I ate 115 rats and converted them into 100 unique NFT tokens, to be released into the marketplace in a pyramid structure. The first mischief of 10 have a value of 0.73ETH, the second are valued at 1.46ETH, the third at 2.19ETH and they continue to increase until the last reach 7.32ETH. This small-scale, incremental pricing provides a low-risk, concrete structure with a promise of high returns. By sacrificing, ingesting, and minting the rats on the blockchain I suggest an alternative, transparent ecosystem for communities who find themselves infested. As a result, a minimal, effective gesture of displacement occurs. The creatures are transposed from the passageways of the city into the cryptographic data-set – eternalised in the immutable maze of peer-to-peer transactions, feeding and fattening ad infinitum. While the rats burrow through the meta-data, in and out of people’s wallets, Rat Race 100 takes the form of an alchemistic algorithm, an act of humanitarian aid and an illumination of Cologne’s most lucrative commodity.

For a while you have been living and working at the Foundry Art Center led by Andrei Molodkin and the a/political organisation which I was honoured visit recently. What can you tell us about your life and creative process there?

February screams / in my night with its / raw black pit… / Fate, shout / and don’t be silent, / do not clang the frozen frame. Bed creaks… / In this night / I do not want to steal. / Just kill / just kill / just kill / all clean! / Just press / on the trigger / and see roses of shots. / Then – run, / then – silence / in the bosom – and quickly…

I’ve always dreamt of collapse, ever since I was a child. I’ve been waiting for the apocalypse to roll across the sky. Nowadays we can’t escape the idea; we all have a little pocket apocalypse on us at all times. People who live in cities are so ugly. They have bad skin, they’re covered in spots and are overweight. It’s all because of their unhealthy supermarket diets. They are born in stone coffins; they live and die in them. Once they die, they’re put in wooden coffins, so the earth can swallow them up. Is it worth living to be transferred from one coffin to another? It reminds me of that experiment when humans tried to teach monkeys about creativity. They spent four years in the laboratory teaching monkeys how to draw. In the end, one monkey took pity on humanity and made a drawing. People who are superficially familiar with fecal matter believe that the content of the sewage system is a thick, impenetrable mass of excrement. It’s not like that at all. Excrement is only 20%. The rest is fluid. There can be no technocratic paradise on earth. In general, paradise is impossible. Earth is given to us as an island to overcome. And everyone chooses – what to overcome and how.

What are your future plans?

Europe was covered by the garbage dump of history. Arrived in Germany and understood that only a rat can survive in this dump. Around the year 2030, 3044 days away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%. In 2018, the latest year for which accurate data is available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock on EU farms (including the UK) were responsible for the equivalent of about 502m tones of carbon dioxide a year, mostly through the methane they release. That compares with 656m of carbon dioxide from Europe’s cars and vans in the same year. Certain inhibitions in the history of the 20th century lead to such close contact between the physical medium with its pseudo essence that even a slight change in reality can lead to global destabilisation of this essence. The transition to specifics causes a certain ripple in the life of the author between the practical and theoretical world. Resulting in repeated theorisation in order to keep authenticity of practical recommendations. At the same time you can’t simplify your relation to bombing operations. It is a fatal approach for 2 and 3. It is essential to consider that the aim of the impact is not reality, which belongs to us, but instead it’s symbolical background in the determining consciousness (4). We should urgently reduce intensive animal farming and that is only possible by finding alternative ways of obtaining rich protein food. Such study is already being conducted on edible insects. I was in Cologne, to help with the environmental crisis. I am working to transform the way rats are seen by society. Promoting a new alternative source of protein that is locally available in large quantities. They are a far greater source of protein than meat produced by the farming industry. Following the Second World War Germany has shown how to quickly get out of the crisis and become the most prosperous economy in the world. It seems that now Germany once again will show us the same progress and once more quickly go out of the crisis. The only solution now for Germany is to begin to eat all these rats. Children will go to schools well-fed. No rats will attack or bite them and finally The Greens party will win the election.

Petr Davydtchenko

Artist: Petr Davydtchenko / @innovativehealth_official
RatRace / Music: Makoto Sakamoto
Editor: Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko
Assistant: Antoine Schafroth / @a.schafroth

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