What IgorBaskin/ St-Petersburg wrote and what he intends to do:
As I wrote, I started thinking over the idea of a harbour city as an open and closed space, a space as a part of a country/territory which has borders, own laws and special relations to the outside as well as to the inside of the country. For instance, St-Petersburg was established in the 17th century by tzar Peter, the1st as a 'window to Europe' and got features which still make it rather different from the rest of the country.
It is conceptually open to the outside (By the way, St-Petersburg was maybe the first 'postmodernistic', completely conceptual and representative project in the world. The town was created on an empty site, in maybe 20-30 years, and the creation was planned in all details in accordance with one person's concept). St-Petersburg's differences from the other parts of the country make it in some way closed. I mean: noticeable allocation and a sort of limitation of understanding in mental areas. At the same time St-Petersburg owns differences from the rest of the country because of it's special functionality and some parts of itīs inner structure. These differences must be the same for any harbour-city. For instance, any separate location has special interests, but harbour cities have better possibilities to provide local interests because of their important position and their influence over the infrastructure of the country. It creates a closed mentality. The mentality of a powerful local community, closed to the outside of the country and closed to inside of the country, too. Parallel to that the mentality of harbour citiesī citizens in general should be 'more open' in itīs behavior, because they can get a more invariable experience of communication, the same reason should make them 'more closed' for prejudices. Here we can see a situation in which the same reason can lead to opposite results. In general, itīs possible to say that the more open a harbour city is to the outside, the more it is closed to the inside. At the same time a harbour city belongs to and is a subject of a larger territory, which is ordinary closed to the outside and open to the inside by definition.
I found that it could be really interesting to observe in real samples the appearance of the things I wrote above. I start with a concept, but I canīt promise to follow it strictly, I prefer practice. That's why I suggest the project to be based on photo and video documentation, and itīs documents should compare St-Petersburg and Hamburg on the subject of common things and differences. The suggested projects are rather simple and not costly. My conversation with other hosts told me that the budget of the Artgenda doesn't allow to create global objects, and total projects.
1) 'The Gates': The project is based on photography and accords to my project 'Documents'. I'll bring to Hamburg ten photographs of St-Petersburg's gates located mostly in the port/harbour area. Currently I took more then 10 pieces, but I'll choose. Size of photographs - 20/30 cm (or 30/40), it depends on what you tell me about the indoor place, and how much you already plan to fill it up. Then I'll take ten photographs of Hamburg's gates preferable in areas of the port/harbour. Next I'll cut all photographs in halves and will make 20 photographs: half-St-Petersburg, half-Hamburg each one. I think it may give interesting results. Here is a sort of a comparision and creation of a new reality in one. Else: 'Hamburg's halfs' might be taken by artists of tetrapak and other artists participating in the project. It could be perfect if each artist would take one photograph of a gate in the home town, and then to mix them half-plus-half! In case that you find that idea interesting, you are WELCOME to enter the field of discussion!
2) 'Interference': Very simple one-photo-based project. In the end of May I'll take one negative film 36 pictures of St-Petersburg. In Hamburg I'll take pictures of Hamburg with the same film again. After printing the photos, we'll see the results. It also may be diapositives. In this case we can show them as a slide show.
3) 'Capture to reality': Installation in progress. The aim of the project is an exploration and fixation of different qualities of harbour citiesī realities in real time. The fixation of new experiences and impressions during my stay in Hamburg. The installation will be based on the quite big and detailed map of Hamburg's harbour. I want to invite you to spend at least one day together with me walking around the harbour and taking photographs. I'll continue these photo walks in my free time, along or in common, in common itīs much better. I have some experience of such creative common walks and want to tell that it is more interesting as it may appear to be in the beginning. When I walked with not-St-Petersburg's artists I started to see my own town with different eyes. So, the photographs also were different than usual. The collected images, signed with the exact time, should be put to the map at the places where they were taken. At the end of the festival the map will be cut into squares, which will be pasted to some solid, hard material (for instance squares of plastic). I'll be happy if you will accept my invitation, otherwise I'll have to develop this project along, but together it is twice as interesting. The final of the project: The squares stuck with parts of mat will be returned to to different places of the town and will be left there. By that way the reality will be captured by it's own artistic projection. Hamburg will become an 'art installation of it's own traces', 'a shadow of itself'.
I'm also going to bring to Hamburg a number of photos made in the St-Petersburg. We can think about how to use or not to use them. But I see here many possibilities to play and create a mysterious vision. I described three concrete projects and want to leave other possibilities open. It will be interesting to give it rise in common work. I will collect video material, and after a certain period of time after the opening it will be possible to show it. And I will bring according video material from St-Petersburg. It would be fine to connect the videos and the map/installation. Please let me know if you have the equipment for the video demonstrations (VHS), etc.. I applied for a video interview with the chief of St-Petersburg's commercial port, in which I will ask him how he understands the specific power of a harbour city, and I want to talk about local strategies; also what he thinks about the matters of 'open and closed' sites. The interview was promised by his secretary, but I'm waiting for that since the middle of April. If I'll finally reach him (appears to be difficult) it will be a reason to continue the video interviews in Hamburg. I'm also trying to contact several other important persons to make interviews. If something will be successful, we maybe will be able to set up a conference via internet. But I'm afraid to say, no results untill now (but I have reasons to hope).
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