Canary Archives #2022

Canary Archives

One-channel video demo of 4 channel video installation.
Filmed between 16th of February and 4th of March 2022

Canary Archives employs the imagery of the canary in the coal mine, once used to alarm miners when carbon monoxide levels rose. It is a metaphor that can be seen as a paradigm for our anthropocentric relationship with the world, the broken connection between humans and the planet, and the crucial need for rare sensory perceptions of threat indicators in current times. The present-day is characterized by manifold life-threatening dangers; life-threatening to humans as well as all beings and memories of the ancestors.
But where is the canary that tells us whether the danger is real? And where is the exit from the mineshaft?
The installation Canary Archives is realized in a bird cage with a four-channel video installation. In one video, the nine members of the collective Chto Delat share their dreams and stories related to the shock at the beginning of the military escalation in Ukraine.

Two more videos document the lives of nine canaries of different breeds in a cage and a scene of collective dance in the darkness. An additional channel shows the animation of mineshaft elevator descending underground. All four channels combine the sounds of birdsong, oration and the noise of the shaft in a single musical composition.

The idea: Tsaplya Olga Egorova and Dmitry Vilensky
Participating in the film: Artem Magun, Oksana Timofeeva, Alexey Penzin, Alexander Skidan, Gluklya Pershina Yakimanskaya, Dmitry Vilensky, Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Nikolai Oleinikov, Nina Gasteva (together with Mikhail Ivanov)
Music: Elina Lebedze
Camera: Artem Ignatov (assistant Andrey Nesteruk)
Edit: Tsaplya Olga Egorova


Свидетельства Канарейки (одно-экранная версия) | Canary Archive (one screen version) from chto delat on Vimeo.


For the work Canary Archives, created for The Whole Life. Archives & Imaginaries, the collective Chto Delat produced an emergency newspaper issue. The editing took place in St Petersburg, under the impression of the first weeks of the Russian war against Ukraine and in shock of the violence. The newspaper assembles the anti-war views of Russian artists and critics (members of the Chto Delat network) in texts, graphics, social media comments and expresses their support of and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Here is the link to the publication
canary newspaper – full fin