No Tail No Scale

Daria Tuminas

2011 - 2012

The project ‘No Tail No Scale' grew from my 'double identity' as a folklorist and a photographer.

For this project I lived for a month in each of 5 cities I selected in the area between St. Petersburg and Moscow: Veliky Novgorod, Vologda, Tver, Jaroslavl, Vladimir. For each of them I found a local legend that served as a starting point for my photographic investigation and a reflection on certain male practices and behavioral strategies.

At each spot I began with a basic research: reading at local libraries, finding a text that puzzles me, and collecting related materials. After that I started visualizing my inquiries.

The edit presented here comes from two chapters (Vologda and Veliky Novgorod): first 8 images from First Half, or How to Fight Under the Ground; next 7 from Circle the Bite with Three Fingers.

The Vologda chapter is based on the legend about two unknown men dressed in white who appeared from beneath the ground and defeated a multiple enemy. These two characters mirror each other without any apparent reason. Many other Vologda plots repeat the ‘double hero’ issue, sometimes the men become adversaries. I question this need for two, for the other half, a dialogue, and a superpower. I wonder: will the two characters fight against an enemy or with one another? What do they do underground? I study men’s need for brotherhood and for conflict.

The Veliky Novgorod chapter is based on the story of Volkhov (the son of the city's founder) – a magician who took shape of a crocodile, ate people and eventually was killed by demons. What does a crocodile do in Russian chronicles of the 17th century and what is its role in a local cultural context? Why is a monster supposed to be cruel initially and humbled eventually? I study scaly beasts, men’s cruelty and innocence.

The project is ongoing: now I am working on the more profound artistic research that will end up as a textual and collage parts.

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