Do you need a bag?

2021 / VisComm

Eva Markelova

Project 1

Do you need a bag?

A participatory performance about the sustainable present

This project is a participatory performance focused on exploring individual approaches to being sustainable and eco-friendly in contemporary society. This project explores connections between visual communication, sustainability studies and performing arts and ways of expressing an idea using each of them. It is heavily practice-based and relies a lot on experimenting with forms, materials and found objects available to one at home whether it is level 5 lockdown or life as usual.

Our society has encountered plenty of challenges and turmoils during the last two years, one of the biggest probably being long-term isolation in our own homes. At the start of the global pandemic, I lived in Moscow. Now I have moved to Dublin and relocated several times while being here. Every move was accompanied by packing, throwing away the surplus and buying new stuff on the new spot. Each time it happened, I kept wondering: why cannot I, a person very much interested in sustainability and eco-friendly living, maintain a workable number of belongings? Why do I keep sending stuff to the landfills? Why aren’t lists and guidelines from sustainable, zero-waste and minimalistic bloggers working for me?

These questions led me to explore the connections between sustainability, performance and everyday life and to find ways of encouraging individuals to participate in sustainable practices while reevaluating ones they lead now.


I did not have space and time to launch a full-sized 1:1 performance during the year, so you will see pictures of a scale model I prepared showcasing the set-up with all 36 objects.
Before the participant enters the performance space, they read an introductory text.

Before the participant enters the performance space, they read an introductory text.


What if you could stand out of your life and look at everything from aside? Would you see the true nature of your life, reevaluate the way you exist and the things you use?

This performance aims to give you that chance. Use your imagination and the 36 common objects in front of you to think about what you have, how you shop, and where do you dispose of certain things in your life. The object recognition software projected on the wall will help you by adding some facts and questions to your thinking.
In this setup, you are asked to place the objects on a diagram with 2 axes representing 2 spectrums: Natural – Artificial and Necessary – Unnecessary. By the end of the interaction, you will get a receipt showcasing your result to carry home and return to in the future.

Take your time, think it through and have fun!

The participant enters the performance space and sees 36 common objects lined up against the wall.

They start placing the objects on the evaluation diagram.

The arrangement is finished when the participant is satisfied with the objects' placements.

Video-prorotype of a reduced version of the performance (12 objects instead of 36).


After finishing their arrangement the participant proceeds into the Check-out space. There they are given a receipt for their arrangement. The receipt includes a full list of objects and their placements and some advice for each of them according to the part of the field you placed them in.

On the table in the Check-out space you may also fill in a leaflet with a visual representation of your arrangement using provided stamps with objects’ depictions.
QR codes on the receipts and leaflets lead to the performances web page (in this prototypes’ case - to the MA Creative Arts website).

It is refreshing to explore seemingly familiar concepts through a new lens. I am delighted to see more participatory practices created and more immersive art pieces appear worldwide and hope that there will be a chance for me to launch this performance somewhere with all the requirements being met. However, I should emphasize that although my project is heavily concentrated on the individual, it is the big corporations (large grocery store chains, mass-market clothing brands and other giants of production industries) that we should look after to seek real change towards sustainable living. I am planning to do just that in my future endeavours.



Flexuous Forms

Manvi Pande /

2021 / Interior