Last Dying Speech

Park Elagin, St.Petersburg Russia

Last Dying Speech is a Site Spesific, interactive installation designed for and presented in Park Elagin in St. Petersburg Russia, as part of the public Art Project Critical Mass curated by Anna Bitkina and TOK.

The installation Last Dying Speech conceptually departs from the origin of the well-known Speakers Corner in Hyde Park London. Until 1783 close to the actual Speakers Corner the gallows of Tyburn were standing, where the condemned men got the chance to rise to speak the last time – with a «Last Dying Speech». All though London finally abandoned public executions the Speakers Corner survived.

Typically the speaker brings a little box to get a more exhibited position while speaking. Speakers embracing a multitude of political, social, sexual and religious causes, and no small number of eccentrics, meet at Speakers‘ Corner every Sunday. The site has hosted speeches by Albert Einstein, writer George Orwell and Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state.

Since 2009, after visiting Hyde Park in London, President Dmitry Medvedev has announced he would like to set aside a small area in central Moscow akin to London’s “Speakers’ Corner” where Russians can give free vent to their political ideas. “I need to speak with the Russian authorities and build our very own Hyde Park,” Medvedev said. For Russians, the notion of Hyde Park is synonymous with Speakers’ Corner. Medvedevs great vision has not convinced the parliament yet, meaning the Russians still haven’t seen their own Speakers Corner being realized.

Rambergs interactive installation is changing that. Last Dying Speech is consisting of 250 individual wooden objects, identical to the soapboxes used in Hyde Park. Every box is burn-marked with Russian texts addressing the discourse of free speech itself, - stressing Russia as a young democracy with limited freedom of speech. The number of journalist registered being killed for raising their voice in public since the fall of Soviet Union has passed 250.

Last Dying Speech will become Russia’s very first Speakers Corner. The cubic macro-shape of the installation will soon dissolve as the public is allowed to borrow the specially designed soapboxes to perform their own speech somewhere in the park.

The monumental shape, the random use by the public will change the sculptural installation but also its surroundings. The final shape of the Artwork is therefore designed by the citizens them selves, both formally and by content since they are the speakers. They are bringing free individual statements into the public space.

«Ideally, the voice of every single person should be heard»
President Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev wants speakers corner

The Art Project Last Dying Speech is made possible with the generous support of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs UD and Nordisk Ministerråd


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