Darya Koltsova
Theory of Protection


For now, you must try not to die.


First step: window taping - instructions


  1. You will need duct tape and a stool if the window is tall. In old tenements, windows are even two and a half meters high. The last fifty centimeters of the window is the vent. This also needs to be taped. It is best if the tape is thick, at least five centimeters wide.
  2. Tear the tape with your teeth or cut with scissors. Then stick to the glass, first diagonally, from the lower right corner of the window towards the upper left corner, then vice versa. Repeat the same process on the vent.
  3. Also stick the tape through the center of the glass, joining its frames from bottom to top and from right to left.
  4. Repeat the patterns in the form of smaller intersections. This creates numerous intersecting patterns from the tape on the glass.
  5. When finished, secure the tape, and put it back for reuse.


The patterns on the windows are very intricate. Five stripes across, three stripes from bottom to top, two diagonally, would be enough. Meanwhile, those on the windows in Donetsk and Luhansk, Kyiv and Kharkiv, form intricate ornaments that take a whole day to stick. The carriers of faith in salvation, both a wound and a bandage. They are beautiful.

When the shock wave from the explosion comes, the windows will vibrate. First, you will hear the impact, a millisecond later you will notice the vibrating movement of the floor and walls, it will pass through your feet and reach the top of your head, you will feel it in every hair on your body. The windows will vibrate. First the frames, then the long windowsills. You will watch as the vibrations pass from the frames to the strips, which fight with all their lifeless being. At this moment, all your attention will be focused only on them. You will see them tense, the tiny cracks in the glass crawling rapidly from edge to center, and tugging at the taped bodies, trying to find a free run to release the explosive energy that lurks within them. It will all take ten or twelve seconds. When the wave is gone, you will stroke the smooth surface of the tape with your hand. You will look out on the street; you will see who is dead.


Second step: protective spell - text


Dark and silent night. You sit on a brown horse, on a falcon saddle. You close the cell, doors, pigsties, Orthodox churches, and monasteries. Close my enemies' mouths, eyes, and cheeks.


God our Veles, my word is as hard as this silent hard white stone. Let all hedgehogs, wolves, and animals go around it sideways. Let them not see or hear, let them not do any harm.


Most Holy Mother, lead us and we will carry your fame into the world. To Veles, to Mokosh, to Perun Perunowich, to brightness, and to all gods close to us.


Wind gods, protect during the day, at night, at midnight, at dawn, and in the mornings. And save in our sleep.


Activity three: waiting


Keep your head down and don’t tempt fate. Don't talk or make noise. Be quiet, don't go out, don't get into unnecessary discussions. Don't lean out, don't look in the eyes. Pray. Don't stick out your head. Keep your head down. Away from the windows. Huddled, hidden like a mouse under a broom, hidden like a needle in a haystack, crouching like a cobra in the grass, like a viper in grapes. Silent. Invisible. Absent.


Text: Ewa Sułek




The Lescer Art Center presents Theory of Protection, an installation by Ukrainian artist Darya Koltsova. In 2017, the project was shown in Warsaw, Poland, as part of the exhibition State of Danger (Pracownia Duży Pokój). In the text for the exhibition, Ewa Sułek wrote:


The state of danger is the moment when nothing is happening yet. It is a moment of uncertainty and observation, a moment of vigilance and suspension, a moment of little stabilization. (...) Conflicts also have a second face - quiet and every day, full of small changes, new practices aimed at adapting to the changed realities of life.


The state of emergency in which the inhabitants of Ukraine have lived since 2013 has taken the form of massive-scale warfare. Thus, it is a registration of the new reality in its private (apartment windows), but also in a mass-scale version. The tapes arranged in beautiful patterns can save lives. But they also talk about a wound, a place that hurts, which is still whole but may turn to dust in a moment.


We invite you to cooperate on the project in an act of solidarity with the inhabitants of Ukraine. Let it appear in every window to remind us of this tragedy and to show our support. 


Darya Koltsova: born in 1987, Kharkiv. Until the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022 lived and worked in Kyiv and Odesa. Graduated Kharkiv Academy of Design and Arts in the direction of History and Theory of Arts. Artist, performer, author of installations and media projects, curator. Grand Prix winner of the MUHi 2015 competition for young Ukrainian artists. Nominated for the PinchukArtCentre Prize 2015. In 2017 she received the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland "Gaude Polonia". In 2018 she became a finalist of Non Stop Media IX.


Curator: Ewa Sułek

Producer: Paweł Zaręba