Risk Lab is a series of the participatory performances about risk in art and artists-at-risk. How can performing arts dismantle the distance caused by political oppression, forced migration or closed borders, using technology? How can we create a sense of solidarity and propose an alternative view on the future, that could start already now in the theatre space, by sharing risks and privileges? Internet and projections help Ada Mukhína to create a 360° video studio where the audience situated in one geographical location is connected to and challenged by risk-taking artists from around the world. 

For each Risk Lab performance, Ada Mukhína invites a different artist, who has a special relation to risk in their work or life, to join her over Zoom in the theatre for a live meeting with the audience. Working remotely before the performance, they prepare artistic provocations, invitations or questions for the audience that make the audience think about the meaning of risk in different contexts, question the role of art in today’s society, and take action towards the desired future.

The first two episodes of Risk Lab were presented on October 4 & 5, 2018, at Camden People’s Theatre in London. With a theatre-maker, performer and puppeteer Abhishek Thapar (India / Netherlands), Ada Mukhina explored the topic of “artistic crimes” in relation to the “looted” cultural objects presented in the British Museum. With a director and writer Anis Hamdoun (Syria / Germany), they established a fictional organisation “Mirror International” that aims to protect artists at risk by “laundering” their art and names by audience members with the “good” passports. 

Episode 1 – With Abhishek Thapar (India / Netherlands), Camden People’s Theatre, London, 2018.
Episode 2 – With Anis Hamdoun (Syria / Germany), Camden People’s Theatre, London, 2018.
Episode 3 – With Anna Sagalchik & Tim Tkachev (Belarus / Russia), Radar Ost Festival, Deutsches Theater Berlin, 2021.
Episode 4 – With Elina Kulikova (Russia / Exile in Georgia), The Gathering by Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Washington DC, 2022.
Episode 5 – With Anton Ryanov (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Grenzenlos Kultur Festival, Staatstheater Mainz, 2022.
Episode 6 – With Azade Shahmiri (Iran / Germany), Theater Rampe, Stuttgart, March 2024.

Risk Lab, Theater Rampe, 2024. Photos by Daniela Wolf.