Willkommen plastik 3 “We could call you an ambisexual. A duosexual. A-” “Do I really have to find a word for it?” Kyle interrupts. “Cant it just be what it is?” “Of course,” I say, even though in the bigger world Im not so sure. The world loves stupid labels. I wish we got to choose our own. We pause for a moment. I wonder if that’s allif he just needed to say the truth and have it heard. But then Kyle looks at me with unsure eyes and says, “You see, I don’t know who Im supposed to be.” “Nobody does,” I assure him. David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy
Inna Lipovets is a young Russian artist, who I met in Rostov-on-Don, the city considered the Southern capital of Russia and one that maintains cultural and economic links with Scotland by way of being twinned with Glasgow. Inna has recently completed a very interesting project, one that combines social history with an examination of sound and movement. She interviewed many of Rostovâ€™s elderly citizens - who had to be 75 years old, at a minimum - and asked them specifically about their memories of dance, during the Second World War.
The piece itself takes the form of a short video, where direct audio recordings of the participants - both men and women - are juxtaposed with footage of Inna recreating the dances described. The effect is one both of poignancy and humour, as we are exposed both to one woman’s account of dancing with her sailor husband as he was granted one day of shore leave, to another gentleman’s spontaneous burst of song. Although his advanced years are evident in the notes he sings, the lyrics (in Russian: “Love, oh happy Love...”) remind us how certain aspects of the human experience may transcend both politics, and time.
What struck me about this project was her novel approach to the discussion of war time experience. One does not need to live in Russia long, to recognise that the war remains to this day a defining feature in how Russians perceive themselves. Given how we most readily find our own definition in how we overcome adversity, this should not be surprising. But the Soviet union was a militaristic society, one that glorified war, and rendered all itâ€™s participants as heroes. As such, their memories of this time have been assumed as property of the State ,being as they are so critical in the formation of the national narrative. For Inna to ask these veterans and pensioners to revisit that time, but from the perspective of levity and light-heartedness, to look at such moments when the blood and the sacrifice were temporarily forgotten â€“ this has the effect of freeing these memories from chauvinism, and restoring them to their rightful owners.
Thanks to: Guest Cover: Matthew Kidd 1: Richard Myles 3:Reginald MacDonald: reginaldmacdonald.com 4: Hannah Tait: projectnaked.wordpress.com 5: Deborah Chapman 6,8,10: Max Walker 7,18: L端ger & Penrose,L端ger 9: Emily Savill: flickr.com/photos/prettypickled00d 11: Kirsten Bradley Henderson facebook.com/kirstenbhendersonart 12: Katie Stott 13: James Page: jamescraigpage.co.uk 14: Sean Elder: seanelder.tumblr.com 15: Sandra Schneider 16: Alexander Allan 17: Sophie Suominen 19: Jennifer Galbraith 20: Catherine Dickson 21: Aylson Stewart