Gleb Napreenko
Virtual reality is sometimes called "augmented" or "augmented"; in the work of Ellina Khalyapina, this expansion or addition is frankly associated with a narrowing and
reduction: both for the artist herself, who subjected herself to the asceticism of voluntary imprisonment in her own room alone with access to the "game", and for the spectators - accomplices, when trying to join the game who find themselves in an extremely poor virtual world, where there is nothing in a uniformly white space, except for Ellina's avatar. In the center of the idea of this work, according to Ellina herself, is the question of how the multitude of choices can be organized. Any game replaces some conditions of choice with others; in Ellina's work this replacement is radical in its own way. However, what both Ellina and the viewer face is not just zero choice, not a sheer lack of options, but such a simplification, in which the player's dependence on the other is at the center. For the viewer, there is a choice between doing nothing, remaining alone with the white emptiness, or dealing with Ellina; for Ellina, the situation is even worse - she can deal with something other than her own loneliness, only when some spectator deigns to visit her. It is the avatar of Hellenic who is the narcissistic core, not only located in the center of the game space, but also common for him and for everyday reality outside of it, where we are all also endowed with the image of our own body as a representative of our "I". It is the narcissistic image of one's own body that underlies the existentialist notions of autonomy, on the one hand, as the embodiment of human freedom, on the other, as the quintessence of its absence, about a portable solitary prison cell to which everyone is doomed. The accumulation of points that Ellina is busy with in her project can also be read as the erection of a monument to narcissism: this is a pure quantitative measure of her feat, which cannot be exchanged for anything. At the same time, real bodies are deprived of the possibility of meeting in the project. The only hope remains the speech - with Ellina in the game you can
try to talk.

Sara Culmann
The minimalism of Ellina Khalyapina's work “Zone” refers to the functionality of the prototype - a working template that is not extended by a particular case of design. The singularity of the confinement cell works in favor of this statement. Obviously, a prison implies an array of such singular examples, where each is based on a zero conceptual model. Project "Zone" is not a game about personal experience, despite the first person game mode (from the first person), it is just an "example to others" packed in compiled code. Considering the project as a ready-made, self-copying game asset, one can imagine the individual development paths of each player, the variability of which imitates the freedom of choice. This form of the project gives rise to political fantasies - as you know, the state retains a monopoly on violence under various regimes, but the state monopoly in the penitentiary system is a discursive issue. Imagine an order to develop a prison, more indulgent, more fashionable, developed according to the laws of technical evolution - this is a typical move of the neo-liberal system called “harm reduction”. The concept of legitimate punishment has gone from bodily exhaustion of prisoners of stone sacks to the procedure of suppressing brain neurons in a virtual reality machine. Transformed from obvious old-fashioned brutality to methodical and rational suppression, punishment, like any commodity, can be transferred from one asset to another, bought out or sold. The project constructs benevolent coercion created on the drivers of entertainment technologies and, if analyzed, looks like a potential outsourcing development of mutually beneficial friendship between politicians and capital. Perhaps this idea is prompted by the infiltration of repressive elements into civil society simulators, such as VRChat, on the platform of which the project is made, and this is a reason to think whether games in digital democracy are a new agora or a testing ground for regime institutions.