The White House runs red with the blood of American citizens, no matter who wins the election the US will suffer
As a conceptual artist, I use blood donated by ordinary people to depict the costs of imperialism and war.
During military service in the Soviet Army, when I was 20 years old, a soldier friend of mine shot himself in the heart in front of me. As people dragged his body away, his heart continued to pump his blood, leaving a red line in the snow, like a signature, all the way back to our base.
It was then that I understood blood as a currency and the extent to which governments brainwash their citizens into forfeiting their lives for an ideology that can ultimately fail.
I work with the same materials as politicians: blood and oil; the true cost of Western imperialism. I have used the blood of Irish Catholics in Protestant symbols in Derry, illegal immigrants in France’s Marianne, and hip hop artists censored by the UK government for their lyrics allegedly inciting violence.
In 2009, I exhibited ‘Le Rouge et le Noir’ at the Venice Biennale. The installation featured the blood of Russian veterans of the Chechen War alongside Chechen oil pumped through acrylic sculptures of the Nike of Samothrace.
All of the blood I use is donated freely by volunteers. I tell each volunteer that they can watch as the piece comes to life with their blood. They are hollow, dead without them. I never use my own blood because I was born in a militarist country in a totalitarian regime. I use the currency of the people to attack politicians in the language they understand.
For my most recent piece, I am using blood donated by US citizens, inside the so-called symbol of democracy – the White House. My sculpture of the building, around which the blood flows, will be installed in collaboration with CulturalDC in Washington, DC later this year.
I encourage those who are deeply disillusioned with US politics to come and donate their blood for my work. I always work with a qualified nurse on hand to administer donations. It is important that politicians see that the public are willing to spill blood for their own fight, not just for the wars fought in the name of false democracy.
Why did I make this sculpture? For the past four years, Donald Trump has shown the world the true gruesome face of American politics. One engorged with racism, violence and egotism. Joe Biden’s politics are just the same, he is just better at hiding it.
It doesn’t matter who sits in that House. You could have been fooled for thinking Barack Obama wanted change. But he carried out more drone strikes in his first year of presidency than Bush did in his whole term. He imprisoned more whistleblowers than any other president. He bombed Libya, leaving it destroyed and laying the way for the refugee crisis in Europe.
It doesn’t matter who eventually wins this week’s election, both candidates embody the same blood-soaked system. A regime built on slavery, murder, war and the toppling of democratically elected governments across the world. As businesses board up their storefronts in the US, gun sales increase and people take to the streets, the future of America will, once again, be built on the blood of its citizens.