A FRUIT, NOT YET RIPE
A garage, in the backyard of some housing blocks in downtown Arkhangelsk. Its dark as we approach the scenario. A crowd of people and the muffled sound of music, a strange folk-punk. Coming closer we see a large video-projection with the band playing. Is it a video? Inside the garage the first rooms reveals another strange collection folk aesthetics, an installation of various objects, each oozing with atmosphere and hidden narratives. Behind a plastic curtain, sealed off, the band is actually playing live; in here the sound is loud and wild. Outside again the wine is absolutely discount and spirits are high. Last nights band arrives and starts a loose, anarchic session of jamming and circle-dancing in the dark.
In seldom moments a new art-scene is emerging, a new community comes alive. The second Artic Art Forum is an attempt at collecting such an emerging art community. Maybe even to take part in the production of such a moment.
The first two days of seminar, concerts, exhibition openings and discussions on art-conditions are sympathetic and interesting, but leaves one with the inevitable question: Is Arkhangelsk and the northern outskirts of Russia in fact too remote and culture too fragmented to claim status as an art-scene in itself?
To me and my generation the strange sensation of an art-scene in bloom, an aesthetics in becoming, is of course connected to the first part of the 90ties, Berlin 91-95, Riga 1993, Copenhagen 93/94. These were beautiful moments of our own becoming artists. Each generation and each community has its own periods of bloom, of creating artistic identity. Something comes together, something appears and a social aesthetic is shaped.
Thursday evening I feel exactly that sensation – arriving at that garage in the dark backyard everything comes together. Something collective is emerging in the darkness and a very specific aesthetics takes shape.
Somewhere in the seminar the next day, someone speaks of herself as a fruit, not yet ripe, but soon to become ripe. This might be the potential of the Murmansk/Arkhangelsk art-scene. Not yet ripe, but in exactly that most exciting state of urgent becoming.