This video film is official version made on the base of 4 channel video installation
In this video installation we are looking for a new language, adequate at least in part to the new situation in politics (and life in general), in which we suddenly find ourselves. When we began to work on this project, the situation in Russia was bad, but we knew what to expect from it and how to act. Now we stand on the threshold of a senseless and despicable war; what remains of public space is disappearing before our eyes; and we have no levers of political influence. The government brazenly declares a state of emergency, and society answers with full support. Meanwhile there are practically no forces capable of even reflecting upon this danger, let alone resisting it. The situation recalls a nightmare in which one’s habitual reality begins unraveling at the seams. What we thought impossible yesterday is met with enthusiasm today. What kind of art is possible now? Or is it altogether impossible?
We understand that any clear and complete statement will sound false now. To construct such a statement would require at least an approximate understanding of the logic of what is taking place, but this logic is so absurd that it resists all analysis. And so we have taken a different path. We invited our friends and students (graduates of the School of Engaged Art) to participate in our project and try to describe the situation in which we find ourselves together. At first glance it could seem like we are trying to use collectivity as a powerful tool in the creation of art. But, unfortunately, this is not the case. We used to think that collectivity is necessary in order to be strong, but now we realize it is necessary simply to maintain one’s sanity.
The starting point for our film was the fate of Ippolit Myshkin, a militant Russian narodnik and tragic figure of the Russian Revolution. All his undertakings invariably ended in failure, but it was precisely this man’s speeches, pronounced while on trial, that changed the consciousness of Russian society. All his life was devoted to a total concatenation of strength and weakness, victory and defeat. He is an ideal Unlucky Hero, and his image is extraordinarily relevant today, when all of us, whatever our personal successes or joys of self-realization, feel like failures. We are dissidents (what in Russian today is called a national-traitor). We are the excluded. We are excluded from this society, in which 80% of the population supports the war. We are excluded from public life. Our voice is heard less and less, excluded and cut off from the chorus of voices as something harmful and unnecessary. But not so long ago everything seemed possible: the Russian protests of 2011-12 and the Ukrainian Maidan of 2013 gave us hope that all together (it was only necessary to rise up!) we could change the situation. We had only begun to rise when life went all to hell.
What can be done with this state of affairs? We must recognize our failure: here it is before us. We lost. But we are prepared to learn from our mistakes. Where were our mistakes? What were they? Where did we go wrong? This film tests these questions in a situation that has shown all our radiant, seemingly proven intellectual constructions to be inoperative. If we can accept the challenge of these questions, then we can hope at some point to find pathways to transform our weakness into strength, our defeat into victory.
The film was realized in collaboration with graduates
of the Chto Delat School of Engaged Art
Film Concept, set and edit: Vilensky Dmitry & Tsaplya Olga Egorova
Director: Tsaplya Olga Egorova
The film features texts written by all participants: Lilu S. Deil / Jenya Shirjaeva / Olga Shirokostup / Anastasia Vepreva / Lia Guseyn-Zade / Olya Kurachyova / Alexey Markin / Dani Dugum / Tim / Georgy Rafailov / Roman Osminkin/ Anya Tereshkina / Anya Isidis / Marina Maraeva / Ilya Yakovenko / Sonya Akimova
Choreography: Nina Gasteva and Mikhail Ivanov
The scenes with voices were conducted by Mikhail Griboedov and Nikolay Oleynikov
Director of Photography: Artyom Ignatov
Object and costumes: Alyona Petit
Makeup: Natalya Vostrjakova
Assistant cameraman: Andrey Nesteruk
Street scene: Camera by Dmitry Vilensky
Director of Sound: Alexander Dudarev
The film was shot at the studio at Lendofilm in St. Petersburg
This film was made possible with support from Seccesion
(Vereinigung bildender KünstlerInnen Wiener Secession);
the Kunstbunker / Forum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Nürnberg
and the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo,
All visual materials used in the film were taken from open sources. In the case of unintentional copyright violation for a given image, please contact KOW Gallery Berlin