Machine and Natasha

"Art is not a reflection of reality. It's the reality of a reflection", -- says the personage in Jean-Luc Godrad's film, a year before the revolution of May 1968. The never ending cycle of hope and disappointment again and again becomes the impulsive force for production of reality. Surviving at the bottom of a pit means staying alive inside the permanent utopia of eternal building. And if construction, in the beginning of the last century, was somehow related to nature and the struggle against it. Then nowadays humanity's more increasingly dealing with intellectual construction. As it happened, the last convolutions of industrial production had fallen, and, in some ways, caught up with the hopes of salvation the Soviet communist project. Late 80's is the time of search and modernization. At that time in Moscow, the papermaking factory had started changing equipment, after 1917. New methods of production had developed. Machines are ordered abroad, in Finland. The climate of confidence prevailed in society. The Cold War was over. Soon The Berlin Wall should be fell. The air smells like freedom. It seems like emancipation is closer than ever before. May be, 70 years ago revolutionaries had felt the same.

Young worker Natasha got job at factory, where she'll stay for 25 years with priming machine, on which she works by herself. Even today, when the production is stopped she keeps on tending it. 25 years from euphoria and hope to disappointment and new machines, engineered in new way.

Negri and Hardt suggested that USSR collapsed because it was found that passing to post-industrial production was impossible. According neomarxists' theoretics, soviet people made vigorous breakthrough and won the War II, of course could hope to get psychological compensation by the way of slackening government pressure and growth of personal freedom.

Revolutionary developments of 60's were important for passing from disciplinary society to control society compensated this damage in capitalistic countries. In Soviet Union the transformation generally started in 80's and ended (if it is ended) after Eastern Block's collapse in the beginning of the XX century. Today's convolutions of capitalism echoes back this period. More often contemporary art exhibitions open in ex-industrial areas. Instead industrial workers there are cognitive proletarians represented by artists and cultural industry workers.
"Machine and Natasha" is a history of the epoch in the light of personal experience. Exhibited works have made specially for PROEKT_FABRIKA in collaboration with Natasha. Most of artists are the same age with priming machine installed in exhibition space. Through their personal stories they felt historical changes,happened in the 80-90'ss. That's why the answers they give by works based on special senses of history playing in unison. If you pay close attention to this sense, it's obvious that it constructs nor on human-human relationships, but on human-machine, which products human subjectivity. It is the tribute paid by humanity for refusal of humanity. From the time when idea has become machine, dramatics of artistic gesture constructs by the schemes of production circles.

After the disappear of the main historical reference of communistic revolution the only echo of the great utopia becomes project of contemporary art which got baptism of fire exactly by the avant-garde practice of the last century. As before, maxims modernism is make visible something which make visible, arouse artists' interest to history of post-industrial society formation and re-interpretations of conceptual practics of the second avant-garde of 60-70'ss. Working between formalism which inheriting russian avant-garde and conceptual tradition, artists introspect historical changes and build utopias of the fetter on the territory of contemporary art, which is called again to stand at the avant-garde of humanity.

Arseny Zhilyaev