Free-Dom: The Russian Identity

An interactive media experience asking difficult questions about the Russian identity
What does it mean to be Russian? How do we define the Russian identity? From the slavery of the serfdom to the present day our society is struggling with some reoccurring characteristics: the lack of appreciation for individual rights, the mistrust of political freedoms, the tendency for imperialism and chauvinism, the lack of critical thinking in the wider society, the easy surrender to political manipulation.

And yet, our nation holds an enormos creative and intellectual potential that flourishes everywhere where it is allowed. Not least due to the ability to absorb the contributions from other cultures with which our culture comes into contact. Free-Dom is an interactive media online experience that offers an opportunity for every visitor to become a participant and to question and analyse what their identity is via the experiences of the Russians who have been asking themselves some difficult questions. The expereince presents the media testimonials of the Russian people as their response to the identity crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. The visitors will also hear the new music by the Ukrainian and Russian composers recorded especially for this project.

At the start of each journey, each visitor will be offered a questionary. The closed questions, such as “Do you think there is a free society in your country?”, “Do you accept the necessity for equal rights for people of all genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations?” “Have you ever been involved in any political protest?”, will require only Yes/No as an answer. According to their results, the visitors will be offered different experiences. They might be sent to “prison” for their oppositional views, end up in the lustration process, or find themselves at the airport trying to leave the country where their identities will be checked… Each experience will be accompanied by themed music and testimonials of real people who are questioning their Russian identity. Each visitor can also try this experience multiple times to see that different answers bring different results.

Sample testimonials

By conceptual artist Andrey Kuzkin
By human rights activist Arseniy Levinson

Curators: Taisia Krugovykh, Vasiliy Bogatov

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