To name a despot as despot was always dangerous.
Nowadays it’s just as dangerous to name slaves as slaves. R. Akutagawa
A Pygmy’s Proverbs (from the Russian translation by N. Feldman)
We did it Wolfhound Age
And the most powerful moment - meeting with the students from the Territory Festival workshops.
We sat in silence.
And I realised that it was possible
I could do it without abstraction and metaphysics
To say exactly:
It was like that!
And it will be again - if you’ll believe what they spin about the history of the country.
And it will be again - while the minister of culture opens monuments to murderers.
And it will be again - while the country wanks and has an orgasm over the slogan “Might is Right”,
And there’s no control of drugs and thieves,
And somebody dares to publish the “Four Stout Hearts” and that putrid list of pseudo-cultural values keeps growing…
And it will be again - while sabre-toothed Cossacks spread their booze-breathed gabble, breaking into a theatre like it’s a field bog-house,
While quasi-orthodox thugs smash exhibitions and sponsor pickets and vandalism.
And it will be again.
And you’ll get up early in the morning, and will huddle with your ear to the door,
and listen as they drag someone down the stairs.
And I don’t want to imagine for how many years you will dream of the child crying in that apartment.
My dear young people!
With us, everything is clear. Bearded creators. Licking each other, rejoicing in mutual understanding.
That public letter was a first warning -
Some signed it, some didn’t
We forget such things.
But how about you?
English text editor: David Kemp Photo & Video: Makhina Dzhuraeva
I’ve started rehearsals of the new project dedicated to Osip Mandelstam at the Gogol Centre in Moscow.
Chulpan Khamatova ― the Soul
I ― the Chitin of a Poet
and eight of the coolest guys from Kirill Serebrennikov’s troupe. We have already worked together in “Who Is Happy In Russia”.
Made the first photo proofs for my solo work “The Well-Tempered Clavier”. My knowledge of Uber-Marionette theory will be put to a full use here.
Lena Yarovaya did 12 solo performances at the medieval fair in Dresden.
We’re going to Edinburgh! What for? I do not know. No. I know.
There, in Edinburgh, we’re at home, on the street every second person - an artist, and the bartenders are not versed in art worse than the pros from the Scotsman or Herald.
Why are we bringing ONCE… ?
It’s more complicated to answer.
Four years we’re searching for fun for our kids ― a task more and more difficult.
A serious and troubled world doesn’t do much for children.
And you can’t go far with cartoons from the 50s and 60s.
And I want to take them to the theatre, a fairy-tale. Splendid and rich…
And even more, I MYSELF want to go to a good film. And that takes a long time to find.
Although “good” ― it’s not the right word. Well… at least I don’t want any morals: children are smarter than adults; drinking is bad; insects are aliens (or vice versa); Galápagos giant tortoises sacrifice themselves to stop evolution…
From the first line, the first picture, the first sound, I know whether they will eat a piece of my life… or… suddenly the heart beats stronger, the sparks run around my fingers and someone’s soul embraces my face like an oxygen mask. I, after all, like everyone else, I guess, someday everything will be fine. And I have to believe that in these hidden dreams I am not alone.
“ONCE…” ― it is eternal. Like Robinson Crusoe or Gagarin, or artificial snow under the Christmas tree, like a thundering old tram, like the drumming of domino stones in the backyard.
A ray of light leaves my chest and turns to a moon. It rises to the stars and suddenly there’s a shadow! It’s me. I’m so small, crossing the moonpath on a toy comet!
And this is what I’m ready to watch forever.
During August, every day we will catch a Miracle by the ear.
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editor: David Kemp
Video: Andrey Gladkikh
Photos: Makhina Dzhuraeva, Elena Imamova, Igor Fomin
P.S. Such an irony: yesterday in the middle of the show the fire alarm has set off, so the audience and we too - accompanied by friendly clapping - were escorted outside. We spent a couple of relaxed minutes in the sun together with Mary Brennan.
DEREVO’s upcoming shows
4 - 29 Aug. 2016 (exc 15 & 22 Aug.)
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
I spent a week in StP.
A record for meetings and conversations.
Meetings all about organising DEREVO’s work in St. Petersburg.
I was not on my own for one minute.
I met the Committee for culture, theaters, directors, officials, students …
Two days of rest and now I try to analyze my feelings
This happened in some other world. With this world DEREVO never was connected.
I was always in danger in these days.
Danger to look independent.
Danger to make a compromise.
Danger to be misunderstood. Danger of too many jokes. Danger to absorb the private lives, which pour from virtually every interlocutor.
Danger to get sick at heart seeing all these people’s insecure plans.
When there are millions of troubled people all around you - you will be troubled. The dream is gone. Just whisky and music.
Desire to vacuum and clean the shoes.
Flashes of anger with vendors and taxi drivers - never had this before.
I leaned too far out of the trench. Could be shot.
The last day, two students came to say their goodbye and thanks for the master class. To speak of the work, I forbade them. They asked - is it possible to smoke.
I gave permission. They smoked a joint and the smell drew from memory a distant morning when I woke up in space. It was 4 am. And from the window flowed a sound that did not belong to Leningrad, nor to the USSR nor to our damp morning courtyard …
I remembered how I went to the window and sat on the windowsill for forty minutes …
My 17 years have been dismissed by the judge. I’ve started from the beginning.
And I did the same thing!
I put an ancient speaker in the window and turned on “Wish you were here” …
But something strange has happened. Soon we became scared.
I reduced the volume - the fear never left.
I turned off everything and had to close the window to calm down.
I showed the girls a book, just bought that evening.
Searched for three years and bought it!
The first small edition of his book “Stone” that Mandelstam paid for himself in 1913.
300 small books that changed my world, and not only mine … We read the poems ….
and Pink Floyd came off and flew back home…
I sang page 8 to them.
Then the taxi and the familiar: “Do you mind turning off the radio?”
Text: Anton Adasinsky English text editor: David Kemp
Lyrics by Osip Mandelstam Music composed and performed by Roman Dubinnikov Photos from DEREVO archive by various photographers
Video and Photography : Nastasia Maslennikova, Eva Kuligina
Sound : Seva Gakkel, Mark Titov
Editing : Nastasia Maslennikova, Eva Kuligina
Production Assistant : Alexandre Senin, Olga Ogneva
Producer : Seva Gakkel
In association with 3MostA Hotel and Erarta Museum and Galleries of Contemporary Art
Hello to you, Gods!
I’m writing with a big “G”, hoping that you’re not snorting offended and that you’ll read it to the end.
Greetings to all of you!
To the sly and bearded, to the bald and invisible, to the painted and gilded, to those of clay or wood, to the unspeakable.
Did I forget someone?
Oh.. there was another one of Sun Ra descendants, born in a joint.
As I can see you’re working hard and diligently.
Wars and more wars, deaths, hunger…
And those are not wars because of princesses or fields or land. Rather because of yourselves, my dears.
But you’ll have no success after all…
You’d better meet somewhere up in your clouds to measure your strengths or the lengths of your tongues..
And we shall keep making people happy. You cannot stop us!
I’ll outlive you!
And don’t you dare to lay the blame for the miseries of humankind on the Devil!
“The devil’s role has been greatly exaggerated”, Alexander Sokurov
I’ll outlive you, you cardboard figures…
Happy New Year, people!
Go on, do your business!
You were born to be happy!
So be happy!
I’ve been asked about it many times…
But didn’t want to answer.
Now I’ll say:
While working on the Faust filmset I’ve been through many things.
Every day some “signs”, “encounters”, “visions”…
I thought I couldn’t cope with it.
However, the Old Pulteney and Morton Feldman were of great help.
Some time later the sensations subsided. But mirrors and the sound of the wind still can get on my nerves…
Therefore I’m writing in the first person.
Though in the meantime I’m not quite sure of it.
“ONCE…” final bows have been filmed on 28 Dec. 2013 at the Festspielhaus Hellerau in Dresden
Camera: Makhina Dzhuraeva On stage: Anton Adasinsky, Elena Yarovaya, Tatyana Khabarova, Oleg Zhukovsky, Pavel Alekhin Sound: Daniel Williams Light: Falk Dittrich Management: Isolde Matkey
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editors: Daniel Williams, David Kemp
Video: Makhina Dzhuraeva
I was quite full of wonder after my brief visit to Moscow to the Lumiere Gallery.
I hadn’t expected that so many people were still able to walk slowly and speak gently, to look into your eyes and even to listen to you without meddling with their iphones right in front of your face. I’m speaking of the visitors to the exhibition and to my gig there.
The exhibition Time of the Bells is a VERY GOOD one. Thank you to Nastya and all other organisers behind the scenes.
Meanwhile the DEREVO studio in Dresden has been turned into a filming location. A motion picture in progress is:
The Middle of White (working title)
Idea: Pavel Semchenko (AKHE)
Director: Pavel Semchenko
Cast: Anton Adasinsky (DEREVO)
Cameraman: Andrey Gladkikh
Assistant: Natalia Krymskaya
Producer: Pavel Semchenko
Big thanks to Elena Yarovaya and Isolde Matkey for their support with the boring administrative tasks.
We will tell nothing yet about the music. That will be a surprise.
(english text editor: Daniel Williams)
Also the heavy metal performance by DEREVO is nearing:
29 – 31 March 2013 in Festspielhaus Hellerau, Dresden
DEREVO, in its own way, continues to work on the film Doppio:
Anton thinks the screenplay is not ready.
The guitarist Igor Timofeev thinks that the videoclip “Zvezda” (The star) comprises all the ideas of the motion picture and thus the shooting is over…
Leonid Leikin thinks there’s a series to be filmed and in particular from the starting point of Episode 3. ..
Anyway, the work goes on.
In following we offer you the video “Zvezda”, one significant photo and the long text which explains its significance.
Please, don’t get me wrong. A new thing is a new thing. An old one is old.
A thing comes cold to the world. Then it meets its first human being, takes a part of their warmth, their soul. Then it happens again and again.
Coloured by people’s love, a thing starts glistening, the circle of its admirers expands.
Both a human and a thing may have quarrels, divorces, picnics, weddings and crimes. A thing can run away from home, have an affair. A thing can punish or even kill. Don’t get me wrong.
There are living things and there are dead things. Just like people. But dead man is usually buried while a dead thing persists in the world until it is physically decayed .
A living thing has always been a part of a man’s destiny. Whether it was a car or a salt cellar. In the beginning of 70’s people started to sing sad songs. Weariness and the Lack of Faith have been summoned by the sounds of those ballads:lack of Faith in many things, including one’s own work. Why must one produce a good thing? Who will see the difference?
China, cold-blooded and faceless, loaded us with so many dead things. Particularly mean is the fact that they were the copies of the real things, an in each and every one of them there was a little man with his hard moustache and sly eyes, laughing…
Musical instruments have endured the longest…
I’m constantly in search of old guitars, trying to keep or to extend their life. I know there will come a day when there will be not a single old guitar leftin the world. But until then…
Hofner Congress comes from the 50’s . Pretty low priced it gained not too much respect and could be taken everywhere: to a beach, to a picnic… So just very few of them survived.
The classified ad attracted me by its brevity and a kind of timidity: “An old guitar for sale”. Full stop. And just one photo with an old wrapping in front. It seemed to me that the owner didn’t want to approach any nearer to it. The price was plainly invented: 100 Euro. By its shape I guessed it would be a Hofner. I’ve got a confirmation on the phone later. He also said that the guitar was hanging on the wall for 40 years. We made an appointment.
At night in the hallway of his house somewhere in Bavaria I asked him if he knows that his guitars actually would cost much more.
“It’s possible”, he said, “but it doesn’t matter now”.
He didn’t put the hundred Euro into his pocket, just kept trying to get rid of the banknotes.
We had to co-operate to put the old wrapping on. The guitar didn’t want to fit in. I asked him if he plays at all. He answered rather loud, as if it was for someone else.
“No. My father wanted me to, so he gave it to me”, then he corrected himself, “well, he bought it for me”.
He really wanted me to leave. I wanted the same.
In the car I had to open the windows, so strong was the foul smell of the wrapping . No, this guitar was not hanging on the wall. It was closed up in a cellar when a small boy has not become a musician. But dreams are dying slowly, so neither father nor the son were capable of parting with this thing.
How it shined when I removed the mould and grime layer. It was actually NEW! Nobody has ever played on it ! Inside I noticed a piece of paper. I’ve pulled it out and sat for a long time not knowing what to do with it. On a crumpled piece of paper there was a child scribble: a boy behind bars (or strings) and an inscription “I mustn’t”.
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editor: Daniel Williams
… You’re asleep.
Curled, embracing the pillow, deep under the blanket.
It’s late at night.
And you’re asleep,
And nobody knows who you’re going to be the next ringing morning.
What kind of chain armour you’ll be wearing by then. Will you be a politician, a faithful wife or an old man or… ?
You’re asleep. And the other one is sleeping too, the one you’ll see in the sight of a gun or the one at the shop, holding an avocado…
The only one, who will become a reason to miss the train…
Tonight we are just children.
It doesn’t matter how rich you see yourself in your dreams, no matter how big the painting over the bed. And the thrilled servants behind the bedroom door, changing your coffee cup every ten minutes to keep it warm, they do not matter either.
Just one bed for all, and one Home and one World.
We’re asleep and, oh God, let us stay so just a while longer, not to slip into the shells of our lives quite yet.
I know I’ll wake up and I’ll become the one who I must be, who I have to be, who I got used to being.
But now… there’s no war, no treason, no labour.
And I want to be like you,
To love and to be loved.
May Those Who We Insult During The Day Forgive Us At Night!
They were sleeping during the night too and they were wishing me Well.
Happy New Year! …
Text: Anton Adasinsky English text editor: Daniel Williams Photo: Anton Adasinsky, Igor Fomin, Nastya Ponomareva, S. Neuhaus, T. Belousova Video: Nastya Ponomareva
Every interview started with the question “what do you feel now having the Golden Lion?” By the first one I gave a start “did we get it already then?”
“No”, said the journalist, “but if you will, then we’ll put it together, if not, then we’ll cut it out. We wouldn’t be able to do another interview, right?”.
So I had to sing a song about how happy we are, without knowing who’s gonna win the prize.
After fifth interview I couldn’t keep repeating the same text all the time. I began to falter, to become angry, to accuse the journalists of illiteracy and Venice of the heat. I was tired. During the lunch time I ran back to my room and took my recorder, feeling that I might not remember anything I’ll tell then.
Here are some excerpts of the afternoon conversations.
“What was the most difficult during your filming”
“The most difficult was to stare at the director’s back for 47 days. Sokurov not only used a huge mirror against the camera for the actual filming but to see the picture in the same way he was carrying a car mirror on his shoulder. Thus discussing the role I remained behind him and was talking to Sokurov’s shoulder. I got used to it so much that I didn’t recognized our director as we met in Venice.”
“Anton, could you tell us if there’s some material in the “Faust” that didn’t make it to the final cut?”
“Oh, yes! Right in the beginning of the film Faust actually dies. Don’t you wonder how keen director’s idea was. In the hospital a bed with a cadaver, which Faust was just examining and looking for a human soul, falls on him. Wagner, his disciple tries to free Faust and pulls some substance with little similarity to Faust, fat and messy. Though this is Faust melted together with the Death. This is my character, Mephistopheles. Faust keeps living inside me. Well, by the final cut the entire shot, about 15 minutes, has been left out. “It’s obvious”, Sokurov said, “why would we need to explain it?”. So Faust didn’t die but I remain there with a huge fat stomach.”
“Anton, could you tell us what was the most dangerous moment during filming?”
“The most dangerous thing was to walk backwards. Particularly on the Iceland’s lava. For the entire film was shot backwards, actors had to do everything in the reverse order. This is why the big part of material, the underwater fight for Margaret, has been left out. We were unable to swim backwards. And Sokurov didn’t want to make any compromises.”
I don’t remember who:
“The most unusual thing was that Valley in Iceland where we saw hundreds of faceprints on the ground around the geyser, just like somebody would press his face firmly against it. There were big holes in place of mouths. Well, it turned out to be the Famous Sniffing Valley. Each Sunday hundreds of people lie down with their faces on the ground and inhale the healing sulphur moisture. Our film crew tried it too but without habit to do it our director of photography has started to hallucinate and suggested to dye the Geyser red. “Go to Tarantino with this”, said Sokurov.”
RAI uno, Italy:
“The Frisean horses that we ride on the way to Underworld are rare and expensive. They also known for their ability to pronounce words with lots of G’s and R’s. One of them (mine) could distinctly say “Great Rumble” and “Rare Gift”, thanks to the Czech groom, a big fan of Pushkin.”
“Anton, could you tell us what funny moments from filming you still remember?”
“There was many funny things. In a break I went to the adjacent woods for a walk and rest. I came across a clearance full of wild mushrooms. Pure porcini! I had no basket or anything and started to fill my pockets, thanks to the oversized costume. Full of mushrooms I realised that I went astray. And I was scared by the thought that I may derange the filming. I started to shout in russian and italian for help. Czech family of mushroom-pickers has come around and ran off immediately – I totally forgot about my make-up. In fifteen minutes there were three policemen. I tried to explain in Czech about the filming and made a confident gesture to some fictional direction. There we went. After twenty minutes we turned on my command and lost our way entirely. One of them pulled his pistol, another one called for a helicopter. It came much later and there was no place for landing. In the twilight it showed us a way. When finally we came to the filming location, full of burdock, angry, the policemen couldn’t really accuse me of anything. Sokurov in turn couldn’t find a better question to ask me: “where did you find them?”
“In the forest”, I replied thinking of the mushrooms, “there’s lots of them.”
And on September the 10th we perfectly played the piece “Limousine, Red Carpet, Golden Lion, Photo, Limousine, Much Wishky, Night. Venice. Morning. Way Back Home”.
The excitement of these days has gone quite fast. What remains is “Faust” and an untypically long (for a festival) standing ovation for the director Alexander Sokurov.
Text: Anton Adasinsky
English text editor: Daniel Williams
Video: Elena Yarovaya
«let the good man in, otherwise he’ll break down the door» («Aibolit-66», USSR, 1966)
A very intense one and a half years have ended with a performance in Jyväskylä.
Both Anton and Lena are leaving for creative holidays to the Island of Monkeys and Butterflies to write the screenplay for a feature film. An offer from the Lenfilm studios has come rather surprisingly. Pre-production is going to start in October. And we had better keep the plot a secret now.
In September, as an exercise, DEREVO is going to film some videos to the music by Positive Band. We suspect it might become a film too. That’d be good.
Such a one – Anton Adasinsky
Chief Wow-Wow – Igor Timofeev
Ferdinand – Nikolay Gusev
DJ Cornflower – Andrey Sizintsev
Emmanuel Brüskind – Alexey Rakhov
Friendly Geometer – Viktor Vyrvich
Frigate «The Swift» – Elena Yarovaya
Gentle Giant – Vadim Tverdyukov
and also the entire DEREVO and many, very many friends, actors, artists, children, musicians, dancers…
«…Six musicians are playing at parties. There’s a phone call and the party host sends a car for them. As they see it the guys realise that this party they will hardly forget: the car is constructed of shinbones of drug dealers, the sail is stitched from a thousand blue neckties of the GDR young pioneers, the driver is a Giant Albino of dying breed of Squirrelgoats…»
Such a one
«…the reviving well of laughter is getting dry, the bucket bangs against the mossy walls… Instead of a jolly joke it brings back just sadness in the green bottle of tarragon soda…»
«… It will be a musical film. Even too musical..»
Anybody wishing to help out with the costumes, light and sound, props and make-up, with the lunch and general assistance, anybody wishing to be merry and quick-witted…. please e-mail us
Meanwhile Vadim Tverdyukov, Nikolay Gusev and Nastya Ponomareva are finishing the mixing and mastering of the Positive Band’s album „Cat on Accordion“…
And there’s more to come:
September, Faust by Alexander Sokurov is in competition at the Venice Film Festival.
(I should think about getting some tails)
A big theatrical project in Perm in Russia
AVIA concert in Yubileyny in St Petersburg
Preparations for the performance at the Mikhail Chemiakin’s art exhibition
«Sleeplessnes. Homer. Taut sails. I have read the catalogue of ship just halfway through…»