A part of the exhibition When Gondola Engines Were Taken to Bits this multi-part project by Ulyana Podkorytova is both a tribute to folk traditions of the Russian North (the Pomorye region along the Arctic coast) and a modern fairy tale about the future of nature and technology
The main character of the work is dressed in a suit of armour made from wooden tiles, which were often used for church roofs in old Russian architecture. She must perform an old Pomorye spell to summon the wind and restore the course of a river and overcome various obstacles which arise along the way. Echoing modern superhero films, the story is inspired by the tales of the Pomorye writers Stepan Pisakhov and Boris Shergin, as well as by the folk culture of the region, which still keeps its traditions.
In the folklore of the Russian North, the imaginary has transformative power. The river in this video is a metaphor for the flow of information in digital reality. In the Pomoryian dialect, the word “tamotka” means “somewhere out there” – it points a way into a possible future, one where new technologies and inherited knowledge complement one another. The Russian Northe merges as a historical land of collective freedom and living tradition, a place where superheroes dwell among common people.
Vocals: Elena Ovodova, Ulyana Podkorytova, Ekaterina Zorina
Music: Alexey Sysoev
Commissioned by V–A– C Foundation