Guided by the theme of Russian isolation, Anasova's new project focuses on a small northern village which her family founded over three centuries ago. Isolation in Russia often intersects with social and cultural marginalization.
Klimov began his career photographing war, but moved on to river, oceans, and the towns on them. People live in poor conditions on Sakhalin Island. The government exploits the region's oil and other natural resources. Klimov argues that most Russian people are indifferent to social problems.
Using a mobile phone, Markov photographs isolated and impoverished suburbs. He volunteers in a home for intellectually disabled young people. He argues that most of them are capable, but have been disadvantaged and exploited from an early age.
Moukhin documented the beginning of the underground movement in 1980s Russia. While inhabiting the closed-off society behind the Iron Curtain, Moukhin was shocked when Western students and rock bands came to the city in 1985. He describes the recent rise in censorship.
Credits: On the Edges of the Empire
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From the great North’s snows to the Bering Strait, the Russian territory’s borders blend in with the continent’s. Numerous Russian provinces are hard to reach. In those harsh environments, geographical isolation amounts to being culturally and socially on the fringe. Elena Anosova is a photographer from a remote village at the border with Mongolia. Her geographical origin resonates deeply with her work—centered on the question of isolation. Then we discover Sakhalin Island—on the eastern edge of Russia—with Oleg Klimov; the island embodies multiple fringes of Russian society. In 1890, Anton Chekhov spent three months there and wrote “Sakhalin Island”—a literary account of the exiles’ lives in which he details their horrid living conditions. As for Dmitri Markov, he attempts to put faces on today’s exiles by going to poor suburbs and forgotten provinces—which are as many places of exclusion and isolation. Then we meet Igor Moukhin in a large abandoned factory which doubles as a bohemian and decadent workshop squatted by contemporary artists. After the festive enthusiasm of the post-Soviet era, the country seems to be closing up again: repression, censorship, and self-censorship symbolically re-erect an opaque curtain at the Russian borders. Will today’s young artists be able to crack it like their elders did?
Length: 27 minutes
Copyright date: ©2017
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