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   

jekaterinenburg siren

Alley in jekaterinenburg

a strange siren woke you up. It was early in the morning, 5:47 or something. The sound of the siren rose from the peaceful silence of my sleep and brought you to jekaterinenburg. Half asleep you rise, the siren hangs over the rocky silent of the town, glides inot the blue colored interstice inbetween the bricked blocks of flat. You stagger to the window and the smooth and fresh air of the morning embraces you. The siren takes its time, just hanging suspended on a unchanging chord, a ongoing vibrato of an unvisible string orchestra. You catch your pants, not yet dry after a late night washing, and you slip into your t-shirt and find yourself in the sleepy boulevards of jekaterinenburg. You have your sound equipment with you, the camera as well and you prowl along the streets as a thief. You record clandestine the sharp hiss of the wheels cutting the crumbly asphalt, the sighing and moaning of the old loose trams - "oh, quels soupirs des miserables" - grinding the iron nerves tracks of jekaterinenburg. At this early saturday morning you are all alone with the trams and the few earlybirds as this lonesome slim officer who walks in the alley as the returning cowboy after a long ride in the prairies of the white night. You feel a bit drunken of too less sleep staring at some leftovers from the Great Cold War, a tank, a piece of artillery, a 45 mm gun pipe under thick layers of rustproofing olive color, a slim rocket resolutely upraised and counting the sheep clouds quietly going by. Further down, where proletarian Lunacharskogo street hit the noble Lenina Prospect, you find a roundabout for the trams which now become busy and hurry forth and back in elevated frequency. One of the tramway switches is out of order and forces the tram driver to stop, grab the orange safety vest, climb out of the cab, tear an iron stick out of a sheath underneath the headlights, ram it into the lazy switch and pull the rail from one side to the other, then pin the stick back into the trams belly like a harpoon into an already dying walrus, an almost heroic moment with mainly female middle aged blond heroines taken from some propagandistic black and white movies of the fifties, colored up for today's taste, who climb after the deed dignified back to their elevated seats of their "konkas", what means urban horses, manufactured in czechoslovakian combines and exported under the name of Tatra 3 and Tatra 4 to USSR in times where brotherhood was written in capital letters.

you stroller in the time, you didn't hear where the siren went this early morning in jekaterinenburg.

art perm

Perm abstract street art

and even Perm, this city, whose name comes from finno-ugric etymology and refers to the Vepsian language "Perämaa", what means "Far away Land", yes this lost city that stretches out for 70 kilometers along the banks of Kama River, one of the deepest rivers - you couldn't see the ground, bending over you only saw yourself in the dark water - which connects Ural Mountains with the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, Baltic Sea and White Sea, yes this city Perm where the employee in the museum whispers that one of the Romanovs, Grand Duke Michael to be precise, has been murdered on the 12 of June in 1918 by Bolsheviks, nobody knows the spot and some says he escaped but who knows the truth after all this time, yes this city Пермь , closed city in Soviet times and vital center of artillery productions in the Great Patriotic War, this almost forgotten one million city Perm has since 2009 a Museum for Contemporary Art called PERMM located in a three store building on the top of city's hill. And you can find there a damned good exhibition today and nice employees who take care of the visitors explaining them what this contemporary art is about. And if a you get around in the hilly city you discover more abstract art created by unknown workers in the time when Fluxus arrived in Europe. 


how to improvise in trains

Babajevo station 30.05.2016

st.petersburg Ladozsky station, train leaving 15:30 on a Monday.

27 hours in a train. Open any magazine you can get. Cut out whatever attracts your attention, clue the cutout in your diary, don't try to make it, don't choose, just enjoy cutting and clueing 27 hours. Invite Xenia, a ten year old girl to join you in cutting and clueing.

add some sleeping, drinking tea, sitting in the restaurant wagon, eating piroshki with cabbage and potatoes, hopping in and out the train whenever it stops, admire the stoic discipline of the trains stewardess in their light gray uniforms standing besides the entrance door of their wagons during any stopp and enduring the bites of the mosquitos which take their supper after sun setting at the platform in Babajevo.

perm, perm 2

Bridge over Kama river perm

Tuesday evening, just after sunset your train stops in perm 2. Yes, perm 2! Whatever this 2 means. You tried to get tickets to perm 1, but impossible, no trains to perm 1. The Kama river is lying as a fat, well nourished serpent from the Uralic mountains, you only know from the school maps. At 20:13 it's 6 degrees and you smell the heavy odors of an industrial city that was closed in earlier times for visitors.

improvisation could be ...

Performance stoppover st.petersburg

"Meeting other artists in a collective playfully improvisation. could become a model for a nonviolent and no hierarchical Communication in the future."