Drawing on my childhood memories of growing up in Russia during the transition to capitalism in the 1990s, I analyze the informal economies that provide a livelihood for a significant portion of the population. The video installation The Champagne Drinkers focuses on the unlicensed taxi drivers in my hometown of Pskov, who proudly defend their work by citing a Russian proverb: “One who doesn’t take risks doesn’t drink champagne.” Recording from the back seat, I document a population of resourceful, strong-willed individuals who refuse to give in to hopelessness, even when faced with widespread unemployment and financial hardship. For a 2018 exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, the film has been set up as an installation, and is accompanied by smartphones placed between car seats reflecting on the film three years later, where feverish economic activity of this newly-formed precariat is contrasted by continuous waiting for the order.
Exhibitions and screenings include:
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, as part of Freedom of Movement, municipal art acquisitions, 2018-2019.
NPO2 and 2Doc, in “Makers van morgen”
Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem,
Framer Framed, Amsterdam as part of the ‘Dialetheia’ group exhibition
Hotel Droog, Amsterdam