2017 - Ongoing
The modern rational civilized scientific commercial world is totally separated from nature, which is officially deprived of all secrets and forced only to expect the caring and firm hand of the gardener in order to become places of residence suitable for humanity. Numerous scientific theories replaced myths related to natural forces and harvest and adopted the task of highlighting all the dark corners of the past, present and future. The cult of money and progress almost pushed away the remnants of transcendence from human consciousness. At the same time, the very origin of man - an anthropological phenomenon - is connected with mystery, with myth. Disenchanting the world is a process synonymous with dehumanization.
In this long-term project, I analyze the system of images that exists in Russia, formed under the influence of traditional mythology. Not being a religious person, I, nevertheless, am interested in the idea of multi-layered world. The mythologies of many nations divide the universe into parallel realities, abodes of people, gods and spirits. To the question “do these other worlds exist,” I answer myself - “yes, because they are looked at by people with different cultural historical experiences.” Any cultural experience is based on original images and symbols. In the modern world, they constantly transform, but they continue to surround me and broadcast something. It is interesting for me to explore my personal connection to them, because the world of ideas affects the material world, and vice versa. This project helps me to understand who I am, where I am from and where I am going. And it does not let me get bored in a too ordered city full of written and unwritten laws. As a shaman in The Mooseman videogame, I move between worlds through photography, learning more about my history and culture.
Slavic mythology is difficult to study, due to the lack of early written sources. It is full of fakes, blueprints following European examples, a variety of neo-pagan currents and profanations, amplified by complex and fascinating relationships of myth and religion, as well as the emergence in the 20th century of numerous Soviet theories and rewriting of history, ideologized by the media, and the following chaotic Internet culture. In my project, I began with the most researched and universal myths, for example, the myth of Kostroma, the seasonal spring-summer ritual character of traditional Russian peasant culture. In the Russian rites, Kostroma is a young girl wrapped in white sheets, with an oak branch in her hands, accompanied by a round dance. There was a ritual of “funeral of Kostroma”: the straw dummy, personifying Kostroma, was burned or buried, torn to pieces with ritual lament and singing of songs. Kostroma's dummy probably was a center of fertility energy, which, with the help of rituals, was sought to be conveyed to the fields. The ceremonies with Kostroma were performed on Mermaid («Rusalka») Sunday. Starting with the immersion into this story, like a ceremonial wreath thrown into the water, I plan to float along the mythological river until I move to a new level of knowledge about myself and the world around me.
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