GO EAST blog

this blog follows the road movie research of estonian performance artist katrin essenson and swiss performance artist matthias ruettimann across the former states of the sovjet union. mai - july 2016   

evaporating splendour

odessa, this big lady on the Black Sea shore, is laying in her magnificent splendour and each breath is accompanied by a sigh, oh old times where are you, why you have left me, on which ship you sailed away, with whom you betray me far far away. She sighs and sinks deeper in her stoney bed, soon soon you will be only a mountain left under the endless sky of eternity. When night falls the lunapark flickers and quivers and pretend in a nervous outbreak of nostalgia that live will go on, yes yes we will never die believe me, ferris wheel turns and turns, the man on the engine has got drunken and will fall asleep, and we will turn and cut the smooth warm coat of the night on and on.

crossing borders

Zhmerinka subway 20062016

The train runs. An old Moldavian train from the last century, at least your age, bedsheets stiff and threadbare, washed by the sweat of bolshevik travelers. Anatoly, an Ukrainian born 50 year old engineer, who works for Jamal, a Russian airline, is on the way back home to visit his mother who lives on a rent of 1500 griwnas, approximately 60 Swiss francs a month. The afternoon dies in the birch woods under a sleepy sky. Anatoly has brought some bottles of beer. Ukrainian beer, he underlines and fills up the cups. The train rocks you over the railroads on his punky ride from Moscow to Chisinâu. Anatoly shows picture of his hometown, the flowers in the garden of his mother, the lake, mushrooms in the woods, the summerhouse in winter, the cats and a dog. I don't know, he says, perhaps Putin wants  only the best for Russia, but the circumstances are very difficult, he has to deal with all these oligarchs and the bandits and America. He takes a sip of the warm golden beer in the cardboard cup and smiles at you. He loves Russia and he loves Ukraine and he doesn't like this patriotic attitudes which divides people. The iron wheels hammer the railroad junctions. It's the sound of goodbye followed by a long big silence. In this silence steps the border control. You hand over your passport, he browses the pages, asks your migration card and checks your back bag. A one minute check, then you can leave Russia, then you are handed over to the Ukrainian border controls. Similar procedure with another cast in the same roles. This guy wants to know where are you going and you answer to Zhmerinka. To Zhmerinka? He pulls the eyebrows up looking at you. Is there something wrong about Zhmerinka you ask. No no, he laughs, Zhmerinka is fine, but nobody goes to Zhmerinka. Now you laugh as well, and Anatoly laughs, and laughing all together you cross the border.

homage on red square

Red square performance 19062016

Sunday, 10.40 am, red square Moscow. What will happen if you do the same performance you did in Krasnosamjenka, Siberia, here in Moscow on the red square? The difference could not be bigger. There in this tiny village of 38 inhabitants was only one sandy road, called central road. Here the 20 million capital of the Russian empire with his historical meaningful main square. Surrounded of hundreds of Asian tourists you stand in middle of the square and pull the white cloth over your head. Covered by the white canvas you feel total vulnerable. You are not alone under this cover, with you your fears. You try to think about something else, you remember Max  Dätwyler, who walked in 1964 with a white flag on the red square. He wanted to talk with the rulers in kreml, but they ignored the Swiss  peace apostle. Not so in this case. After three minutes two heavy armed security guys, tourist police, Oleg and Aleksej, asked you to stop the action. You explained them that you do this performance on different places. But not here, Oleg says in a broken English. They warned you and went away, but returned almost in a sudden to ask your passport. They write your name in a notebook. Oleg who is the spokesman says, we thought you want suicide yourself. No no, I love to live, you said and laughed. Now he laughs as well and confirms yes yes I love life too. Then the discussion went further. He reminded pavlenskis performance on the red square and wants to know from Katrin, what do you think if your son would sit naked on the red square and nail his balls on the floor. She says, if he has good reasons to do it I would support his art. Oleg shakes his head! I don't understand that as an art, I have been educated differently, I'm conservative. Then they went away. You take your "white flag" and look around. It seems as if nobody took notice of the incident. Everybody is occupied with taking selfies.

This performance is a homage to Max Dätwyler, a simple man with a big idea of a peaceful world, and dedicated to my beloved daughters. May the world become ready for the big idea.

"Heute wehte die weisse Fahne auf dem Roten Platze. Oben auf dem Kreml die rote Fahne Lenins. Welch ein Anblick für die Russen! Wir werden sehen, welche Fahne mächtiger ist. Ich weiss es. Die Herren im Kreml ahnen es ..." Max Dätwyler, Moscow 1964


до свидания Россия

Video still Auktyon FIRE

Russia, whatever you may be, you touched me and something is burning in my heart thinking of all the wonderful encounters with bright hilarious people who crossed my road and who are open minded and curious and take care of strangers. Thank you all and listen to this song of Аукцион, a great Russian band. This song let you feel what I felt leaving after 30 days a country so wide and surprising, leaving all the new friends, leaving a part of my dream.


masterclass moscow

Masterclass Moscow 18062016

on Thursday night Katerina and Alena posted on Facebook that there will be a masterclass improvisation in ЦЕХ Studio, Skakovaja ulitsa 24. On Friday you arrived in the studio and had a hearty welcome by the staff of this studio for contemporary dance. At 7 pm you started the class with 20 participants, but there came more and more. Finally more than 30 open minded and very engaging students practiced two days improvisation. Thank you all for this experience, for your openness and your readiness to share this vision about improvisation as an aware full way of communication. Wish you all the best on your journey, artistically and in life.