I had a group of museum workers today. I was standing in the Sissel Tolaas area, while Vanya B. took Where Dogs Run. I thought I would have to speak a lot and ask many questions, but my exaltation looked inappropriate, the staff knew the project very well and only few of them demonstrated interest. I had prepared the text and narrated it automatically, reducing the number of questions to minimum toward the end of the day: the format of a single-question guided tour suited more here. Vanya was also disappointed, because in the Where Dogs Run project you cannot keep the viewer concentrated for a long time—they soon get fascinated with the idea of making an identikit portrait. At the first, it was pretty hard to stand at the smelly installation by Sissel, my nose ceased to distinguish smells and was irritated. I went outside to smell flowers etc. from time to time. There were pleasant episodes too, of course: I got closer acquainted with the team, and even though I did not remember all of them, I made sure that everyone was cool.
I was bored of staying home, so work could not have come at a better time, especially in the evening shift when there is no need to wake up and everything’s great. I worked on Sissel’s project again, but this time around did not notice the smell at all. To my huge happiness, visitors were very enthusiastic and, in most cases, actively engaged in a dialogue. There were three foreigners in one group, including two girls from China. They spoke fluent Russian, so, had they not mentioned China, I would not have understood it. The other one was an English-speaking man with a female friend who translated for him, which was great (I forgot the entire English language at once and only remembered the word “flask”))).
It was a pleasure to work with that group in general. One of the girls even hugged me and afterwards told other mediators how much she enjoyed the installation by Sissel. My mom also came on that day and liked it a lot. She slightly promoted the show among beauty bloggers and bloggers covering perfumes. Two things that came as a surprise to me were the perfume and the bouquet which she composed (the perfume smelled disastrously—but she seemed to like it very much). Alisa was responsible for Where Dogs Run, so I had time to get to know her better. I was pleasantly shocked to learn how many friends we have in common: it turned out that Alisa is from the town of Lysva, just as our mutual friend from the Open Workshops is, and that I also know a close friend of hers from the school era, as well as several group mates, because she is also a third-year Art History student, but at MSU. It was a good day, which completely fulfilled my expectations from the project. I came back home late at night—but happy as a clam.
Today was my first shift at Where Dogs Run. Yan T. took control of Sissel’s installation. It was easy to remember the new script, but, as Vanya pointed out on the opening day, it is not easy to speak in front of people who are busy composing an identikit portrait. Rarely does anyone listen at this moment, I feel misplaced, there is little time, everyone wants to share impressions, and not everyone was even able to reflect on the conceptual implications of the work. It was me who touched upon it more often, when it was possible to maneuver out of the dialogue and develop someone else’s ideas or questions. Sissel smelled more intensely, than usual. Time went faster than before.
I am back to WDR today. Kristina K. is at Sissel. Was listening to the smells of flowers throughout the morning, before the groups came. Through a conversation with Kristina I realized that thanks to Sissel’s installation, I learned to separate smell from taste and the object by comparing the smells of two seemingly not very similar scents (a greenhouse of tomatoes and nettles). It slightly pushed forward the timing—but allowed me to take the role of the leading mediator for a few minutes. Most visitors are happy, which pleases me. Time passed very quickly today, faster than in the beginning of the project.