Tuesday, 20 January 2009

ArkhStoyanie Festival of contemporary Russian land-art

"The ArkhStoyanie festival takes place in the tiny village of Nikola-Lenivets, hidden in the glorious valley of the river Ugra. The village, located 200 km from Moscow and 'discovered' 17 years ago for the Moscow architect Vasily Schetinin, has long been the focus of close attention from modern art buffs. The small artists' colony which appeared there around 15 years ago, has kept the Moscow public intrigued through photo reports of all kinds of unlikely creations: a field full of an innumerable host of snowmen reaching down the steep banks to the river commemorating the great 'Stand on the River Ugra' in 1480 of Tatar and Russian forces, which put an end to the Mongol-Tatar yoke; a pyramid made of hay; a ziggurat made of firewood; a Shukhov-style tower woven together out of willow wood; a stately openwork lighthouse built out of gnarled driftwood. The man behind these works is the artist Nikolai Polissky, a former painter, and he has been joined by villagers living in the area who have been given a new zest for life.

Pictures from the festival

"This year the project has grown to bigger proportions. Nikola-Lenivets Handcrafts, the organisation which runs the colony, asked leading Moscow architects to design for the site new structures which blur the boundaries between architecture and land art. The only condition of entry was that the structures should make use of natural materials and fit in to the surrounding landscape. A wide range of architects rose to the challenge, from conceptualists such as Alexander Brodsky and Yury Avvakumov, to architects with large offices working on high-profile projects, such as Timur Bashkayev or Project Meganom. The models of the then unbuilt structures were displayed at the annual ArkhMoskva architectural exhibition in early June and received an award for the best non-commercial project.

"Several dozen local villagers took two months to build the designs, sometimes making their own improvements and the results were presented to the public at a Forum on July 29. The guests, who were brought in by bus from Moscow, found a man-made landscape worthy of comparison with Europe's leading sculpture parks.

"A round table entitled 'Five centuries after the stand on the Ugra: the art of reconciliation' led to a heated debate about the social relevance of the festival. Evidence was provided that new jobs had been created, a new Russian school of crafts had appeared as result and that there was a new awareness of environmental issues in design. MAPS regards as the most accurate view of the whole event Natalia Samoilenko, vice-chairwoman of the Potanin Charity Fund's remarks in her opening speech at the Forum about the tragic loss of the heritage of the Russian provinces, where so much was destroyed in the 20th century. The social effect of ArkhStoyanie has been to 'culturalise' the area by creating new attractions for visitors, by uniting Russia's best contemporary architects with traditions of folk craft. ArkhStoyanie has shown how even the most far-flung and depressed areas can be revitalised and given a new direction and is a successful model worthy of being imitated in many other places."

Flickr stream pictures from the festival

Photobucket pictures

Epsilon Photoagency

Totan Kuzaembaev Architectural Workshop

Condodom raft in Archstoyanie 2008 summer

"Sponsored by TDV-Trest. Not only people and pets, but also favourite things, foodstuffs suffer from flooding. All these things should find a place. In our opinion, for this purpose it is better to use boxes (from experience of removal). The represented concept suggests to use these boxes, as a basic element of design of the saving house-raft. Containers as bricks, are put against each other in chessboard order that provides an easy approach to contents. All furniture consists of the containers. Thus, it is possible to ship everything in an ark, that is necessary for a life. The multi-storey stove benches, located along walls of a construction,carry out a role of places for dreams. Tightness of the building is provided by the covering from cellular polycarbonate." Shedman loves this.

Архстояние 2008.Лето from Олжас Кузембаев on Vimeo.

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