SBP4 / PTRK / 1999
Solo exhibition in 11.12 Gallery, Winzavod, Moscow
January – February 2020.
«1999» is a project dedicated to the memory of the First and Second Chechen Wars. Memories of witnesses and soldiers are gathered together and turned into a total installation at an abandoned military facility near Moscow. This object became the place where the video for the song of Samoe Bol’shoe Prostoe Chislo band (The Largest Prime Number or SBP4) was shot.
In this project we are interested in people. We are interested in the relationships between “small” person and something much global than he is – society, government, state, homeland, war. How he feel sat war: how he changes (or not), what moral and ethical choices he faces, what decisions he has to make, what questions he asks himself, how he sees the war and people around him after the war. We want to show personal, subjective and unique stories of people, and through the prism of each hero’s unique experience to tell about those events once again and highlight the need of any war.
The project has two parts. First one is complied from interviews with veterans of the First and Second Chechen Wars. An unusual and risky approach was chosen to collect these interviews. We asked veteran’s relatives and close friends to be interviewers, so sons, daughters, brothers and sisters of soldiers took these interviews. We asked them to talk with veterans about things they wanted to know. They could also just listen carefully to their beloved ones. Thus, we wanted to personalize a large and important moment in Russian history through lively and sincere stories.
The second part of the project is a total public installation at an abandoned military facility near Moscow. The most striking, interesting and characteristic quotes were taken from interviews so that tearing them out of context wouldn’t twist their meaning. We with the volunteers consisting of our interviewers transferred these quotes to the walls and various objects inside several buildings of the military facility. Thus, we turned this place into a total installation, semblance of giant book with people’s memories, and at the same time the representation of a collective portrait of a person who went to war.
The place we chose is a complex of buildings in the Kosterovo-1 village, Vladimir Region. The training center of anti-aircraft missile forces of the Russian Army was located here earlier. Now this facility is completely abandoned. Many things of military life remained on their places after people. Now the territory is free for access. The director Sergey Kancher made a video for the song of Samoe Bol’shoe Prostoe Chislo “1999” in this area in the second half of September. This song is a source of inspiration, one of the starting points in working on the project, and at the same time it is a personal story of teenager who was having holiday in Crimea in August 1999, when something terrible was starting to happen somewhere nearby.
This project is not only a willing to remember the important moments from recent history of our country and keep the memory of people who were involved in the war. But also it is an attempt to discuss on trivial and eternal themes which are on top today – like patriotism, a person on the war, a soldier and order, duty to the motherland, homeland and government.