River Scene in Moscow


River Scene project at the Moscow Biennale

September 19, 2013 — October 20, 2013

The River Scene project will be presented during the Moscow Biennale (19 September 2013 – 20 October 2013) in the Zil Cultural Centre in Moscow. The theatre will be re-assembled here and the video documenting the journey will be displayed.

River Scene was created in July 2013 during a three-day trip on the Ugra River through the Ugra National Park on a raft, designed and built by William Speakman. The construction of the raft, the journey along the river, and the dismantling and conversion of the raft into a theatre form the core of the work. The other components of the work are a video about the landscape and a song, based on a poem by an 85-year old resident of the park and performed by a choir of residents from the area.

About Ugra Park
Ugra Park is a protected nature reserve and cultural-historical area, four hours from the south of Moscow. Thanks to the Archstoyanie Festival, this beautiful woody landscape that is traversed by the meandering Ugra River and punctuated by farmland and small farming villages, has become one of the most popular cultural attractions in the region. The Archpolis organisation wants to continue transforming this area into a centre for contemporary landscape art and create a synthesis of art, architecture, music, nature and social interactions.

About River Scene
Besides being a sculptural, performative project, River Scene is also an exploration of the stories of the local population and their lives alongside the river. Their stories about the unique landscape, it's significance for their lives, and how it is a source of inspiration for the cultural entrepreneurs who are developing the area, form the basis for the resulting video. The raft was built in Plyskova and arrived in Zvizanka after a journey of two and a half days. There, on a hill overlooking theriver Ugra, the raft was converted into a theatre. Props and costumes were designed and made by school children from the area. The song was performed two times during the Archstoyanie Festival (26–28 July 2013).

River Scene is part of the AIR Zvizzchi programme, organised by the Association of Cultural Managers. River Scene is supported by the Netherlands Russia Year 2013 and the Mondriaan Fund.