“Sobyanin, Baby, C’mon!”

On December 13, 2012 we shared a year's worth of projects at the Vostochnaya Gallery in Moscow. The exhibition, called "Sobyanin, Baby Come on," contains a variety of art research and urban interventions that we performed throughout the year. The exhibition runs till 13th of January at 10 Pushkarev Pereulok.

 

On November 27, 2011 we launched our website dedicated to urban re-planning. Soon after, we participated as observers at the parliamentary elections, carried posters at meetings, printed bulletins with ideas of self-organization, painted crosswalks and made benches, organized discussions at the Abai statue and more. This year, beginning in early December, was perhaps the most incredible in our lives.

We developed and shared the term partizaning which, as it turns out, is not only relevant for Russia (but has taken on a special revolutionary nature here). Working individually and in diverse spheres—activism and urbanism, sociology and geography, contemporary art and street art—we have sought to create a new field for interdisciplinary dialogue; one that is open to everyone.

We are artists, researchers, and citizens; we work for you, the people, the inhabitants of cities, for humanity. Our goal is to create a new society, where the boundaries between public and private, rich and poor, art and non-art, the author and the audience, professional and personal life will repeatedly be called into question.

We favor self-organization, the local economy, a society based on respect for the views of all minorities. We choose a variety of forms of appropriation of the language of the people who took away our right to the city, space, movement and most importantly our relationship, friendship, love and trust.

Let critics say that it has been, and politicians say that this is not serious and leftists say it is not radical enough for them. We believe that the repeated exchange of ideas and roles, acting strategically and just enjoying the process, without anticipation of power, money or fame, can achieve a lot.

Sobyanin is Moscow's new mayor and on the one hand is a member of United Russia and has been blamed as one who made possible mass falsification during recent elections. On the other hand he started a program promoting public transport, cyclification, and better public transport. He is known for repaving pedestrian passes using brick instead of asphalt.

 

Residency

Since 2008, we have used an old shipping container as a studio and shelter; equipped with all the stuff we might need, it has been re-located around the city several times.

 

Political context

By accident, we started our website one week before Russia's Parliamentary elections. This banner was installed on Dec 2 (two days before elections) at Mayakovskaya square. On the 6th of December, it was full of protesters and marked the beginning of a year of protests in Russia.
 
Top to bottom: Homer's adbusting during May protests in Kiev. Tima Radya's, 'You've been fucked (tricked)' from a few days after the elections in Ekaterinburg; and Kirill  Kto's banner for occupy during one of the biggest marches in June.

 

Research

Trying to advocate the idea that people actually know what they need, we illegally installed 15 mailboxes in 9 districts of Moscow asking what people wanted to change in their neighborhood. 
 
 
We received hundreds of letters and presented a selection of them at the exhibition. 
 

 

DIY-workshops

DIY-sport games were organized during a workshop with Florian Riviere
 
Workshop to redesign public space in Mitino, also the district from where we received the coolest selection of mail.
 
An amazing workshop run by Central St. Martin's in Otradnoe. 

 

Interventions

Most of our recent interventions promote idea of self-organization and horizontal organization. We promote the idea that we don't need leaders and even government to solve most of the problems in the city. 

For the last couple of years we have also been making DIY-cycling maps, signs and markings.

We also promote pedestrianism. One of our most successful intervention is a series of guerilla crosswalks made in places where lots of people cross the road. In several cases because of the media-coverage, the government recognized the need and had to make official cross-walks. People in other cities have also started to fight for pedestrians right the same way.
 
We tried to highlight car-drivers occupying space in the city. Moscow has a huge problem with traffic, and drivers think that it's ok to park their car on crosswalks etc.
 
Artist and activist Kirill Kto decided to use Sobyanin's bricks as a way of making drivers aware that their cars block the pass for people.
 
We also printed and distributed special stickers.
 
The 'absurd parking lots' series is a satire to lack of parking lots and car driver's attempts to park  in parks, playgrounds etc.

Huge billboard banners and graffiti that were removed in the city and re-used as fabric for DIY-bags.
 
We also made series of DIY-benches and shared a how-to-guide.

 

Sports

During the opening we played football in the gallery and broke one of the lamps.
The only sport-artifact at the exhibition is this trash-basketball-bin.