Winzavod CCA
Moscow, 4th Syromyatnichesky lane 1/8 105120 Kurskaya/Chkalovskaya metro station

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21 January — 02 March 2020
19 11.12 Gallery



"1999" is a project to commemorate the events of the first and second Chechen wars. The memories of eyewitnesses and participants in those events have been put together and turned into a total installation at an abandoned military facility in the Moscow region. The object was the site of a clip of the 1999 song by the group SBPCH.

In this project we, first of all, are interested in a person. We are interested in relations of a little man with something bigger - society, power, state, Motherland, war. How a person feels at war: how he changes (or does not change), what moral and ethical choices he faces, what decisions he has to make, what questions he asks himself, how he looks at the world and people around him after the war. We want to show the personal, subjective and unique stories of people, and through the prism of this unique experience of each of the heroes to tell once again about those events and raise the question of the need for any war. 

The project consists of two parts. The first part of the project is a collection of interviews with veterans of the first and second Chechen wars. An unusual and risky approach was chosen to collect the interviews - we asked relatives and close friends of the veterans to become interviewers and talk to the heroes in person. Most of the interviews in the project were taken by the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces of the people who served in Chechnya. We asked our interviewers to ask what was of personal interest to them. Or not to ask anything at all - just to listen carefully to our heroes. In this way, we wanted to personalise a great and significant event in the history of the country through the live and sincere stories of individuals.

The second part of the project is the creation of a total art installation in public space, namely at an abandoned military facility in the Moscow region. From the collected interviews, the most vivid, interesting and characteristic quotations were taken, but such quotations, "taking them out of context", would not distort their meaning. These quotes were transferred to the walls and various objects inside several buildings of the selected military facility by me and a team of volunteers consisting of the very same interviewers-veterans' relatives. In this way, we turned this place into a total installation, a kind of giant book with people's memories, and at the same time a collective portrait of a man who was caught in the war. 

The place we chose was a complex of buildings in the village of Kosterevo-1 in the Vladimir region, which used to be a training center for anti-aircraft missile specialists of the Russian Air Force. Now this facility is completely abandoned, many things of military life have remained in their places after the departure of people, and access to the territory is completely free. In this space in the second half of September, director Sergei Kancher made a video for the song of the group The Big Simple Number - "1999". This song is both a source of inspiration, one of the starting points of the project and a personal story of a teenage boyfriend, who is on holiday in the Crimea in August 1999, while somewhere around him something terrible starts to happen. 

This project is not only a desire to remember important events from the recent history of our country and to preserve the memory of the people who took part in them, but also an attempt to once again discuss the banal and eternal, but such current topics as patriotism, man in war, soldiers and orders, duty to the Motherland, the Motherland and the state.