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Nasreddin in Russia

Nasreddin in Russia is a non-regular multi-language publication covering events in the lives of people who have come to Russia looking for work. The newspaper raises important issues, including real experiences of labor migrants. The first issue of Nasreddin in Russia was published in 2014, while overall four editions have been released as of today. While the participants of the project, including the artists Olga Jitlina and Anna Tereshkina, are currently preparing the fifth, which is going to be published within the framework of Bureau des transmissions, we present the previous issues of the paper here.

Issue 1
The issue's focus: Housing

This newspaper recounts how Nasreddin Hodja, a folk character renowned for his wit and talent for getting out of difficult situations, and famed from Aksehir to the Pamirs, from Bukhara to the Balkans, went to work in Russia. Or rather, it recounts how we, a group of artists and migrant workers, looked for Nasreddin’s qualities in each other and ourselves.

Nasreddin has poked fun at Emir Timur and the Khan of Bukhara, Russian colonialism, thieving collective farm chairmen, and patriarchal mores in Central Asia and the Caucasus. With his resilient temper and sharp eye, we have great need of Nasreddin in today’s Russia. In Soviet times, his parables and anecdotes were translated into Russian. Books were written about him, and films made about him. As poet Hassan Holov, one of the people who attended our meetings, put it, “The Soviet Union was smashed into smithereens like a giant pot in which there was nothing to cook.” Cultural ties between the newly independent post-Soviet countries have almost been lost. But maybe Nasreddin, the naive sage or wise fool who roams the land riding backwards on a donkey, can help us not to lose them completely?

Can laughter make people forget, at least temporarily, what divides them? Can rich and poor, policemen and academics, laugh at the same things? Or is humor tightly bound up with education, income, customs, and language? Who would find Nasreddin’s jokes funnier, a Russian university student or a Mexican worker in the US? Is humor a defense against racial prejudice? Can humor liberate people? Can it help us understand the situation in which we find ourselves? Can it be used to build qualitatively different relationships between people?

By way of finding out, once a week from March to July 2014 we met in Petersburg’s cafes, teahouses, courtyards, and parks to socialize and play a game of strategy. We imagined how Nasreddin Hodja and his sister (a character we invented) would react to situations in which migrant workers often end up.

In the newspaper Nasreddin in Russia, we publish the fruits of these meetings and our contest to find the best Nasreddin joke: Anna Tereshkin’s sketches and comics, with dialogue

supplied by the contestants. The comics are interspersed with dispatches from the Utopian News Agency (“News the Way It Could Be!”) These articles were published in various media in 2012–2014. The people who wrote these fictitious news stories about ethnic and cultural policy, urban development, and gender relations liked them more than real events in these same areas.


Issue 2.
The issue's focus: Mass Media: Tongue Twister! 

Whose language, whose tongue is this in my mouth? Who is moving my lips? Who speaks? Liberal media? Victor Shenderovich? Or a leading talk-show host? Some righteous activist?

Where is my tongue? Have I swallowed it? Did I ever have it to begin with? Does it exist at all? What language does my tongue speak? Russian? Tajik? English? Uzbek? Armenian? Tigrinya? Spanish? Azeri? Ukrainian? Does it speak Hebrew or Yiddish? Pashtun? Perhaps it speaks a mix of all of these tongues. Maybe it doesn’t speak any of them at all. Perhaps it has fallen through the cracks in between languages.

I don’t know where my tongue is or if I really have one at all. But maybe I can get a feeling for someone else’s language in my mouth, and then figure out what it’s doing there. Is it possible to weave together other tongues in order to create my own?


Issue 3
This issue's focus: Your Work or Your Life?

What do migrants and artists have in common?

In their everyday lives, these two groups rarely ever interact. They take different routes around the city, the daily routine of one is very different from the other, they even eat different kinds of food and wear different types of clothing.

It is implied that one of these groups is doing physical labor, while the other is doing creative work. It is implied that the labor of one of these categories is alienated, while that of the other is about self-realisation and self-expression.

We assume that those whose work involves hard labor, who work for longer than they should according to the labor code and for whom the simple act of going outside means risking being detained by the police or falling victim to racist attack, don’t have the time or the strength to do art; whereas those who make their living doing art are free to do as they please. But is this really the case? In the process of keeping up with a schedule, meeting mercilessly approaching deadlines in conditions of an economic race, doesn’t art risk losing its free-spirited recklessness and becoming like any other form of production-line labor?

During our meetings and the discussions that we held as part of our Contest, we talked about the risks and features of unstandardised labor. Neither migrant laborers nor artists can expect paid vacations, sick-leave, or pension plans. Both groups grab wildly at any work they can get, often driving themselves to exhaustion in the process. Self-exploitation is a trait we both have in common. Our lives become our work, our work becomes our life. Work enters every area of our lives, including friendship, love and sleep. It may be also the case, because our work is motivated by faith, and hopes for a better future, or else a parallel reality, whether that be getting an education for one’s child, or building a new home, or perfecting society by searching for truth in language and form, or the creation of enclaves of whimsical fantasy and castles in the air.

Could these hopes and illusions help create a new societal structure? Is it possible for art and labor to interact in new ways?

We tried to find migrants who were able to combine labor and art work. In this issue, we publish an interview and story by Ilhamjan Abdukaharov, who makes his living doing physical labor and performs as part of Vsevolod Lisovsky’s “Aqyn-Opera”, sharing his experiences as a migrant laborer with audiences.

One of the most interesting discoveries for us during the research for this issue became a new genre of folk art referred to in Internet as “Uzbek LOL”. This genre is defined by the reenactment
of popular music videos or scenes from Bollywood films. Without leaving their work stations, construction workers or food processors readapt their work tools, turning these tools into musical instruments and imitating the instrument’s use in performances which they film on mobile phones. It turns out, laborers from Latin America practice similar forms of performance. Thus, we are in fact, witnessing a global cultural phenomenon, the transformation of physical labor into creative work by means of its very own tools. Laborers, perhaps without any prior knowledge of one another, from different countries and different continents are involved in the transformation of hired labor into new art form that is free from laws of cultural industry economics. This Lunch Break International opens new and revolutionary prospects for both of us: artists and physical laborers.


Issue 4
This issue's focus: Together Apart

Nasreddin has been traveling to Russia for many years to earn money. How does he live apart from his family? How does his family handle his absences? What is a family in an age of large-scale labor migration? Wage labor far from home can have a huge effect on relationships amongst loved ones. What happens to the traditional roles of men and women? We have met women who were moved by the long absences of their husbands not only to take charge running their families but also running their communities.

What kind of new relationships take shape in countries of immigration? Why do some migrant workers arrive to earn money to get married back at home, while others plan to get married in the new country and stay? How do different conceptions of family—the modern urban notion of family as a pact amongst husband, wife, and children, versus the largely rural understanding of family as a large community of relatives—coexist? And what about love? Where is it possible nowadays? What shapes does it take?

Looking for answers to these questions, we spoke with migrant workers from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in Petersburg. And we took a trip to Armenia, a country whose famous sense of humor has helped people cope with the hardships of separation.

The fourth issue of our newspaper has been published in Russian, Uzbek, and Armenian. In future, we would like to translate the newspaper into Tajik, Kyrgyz, Moldovan (Romanian), Azeri, Ukrainian, and the other languages spoken by the people who come to Russia to work and live.


Bureau des transmissions mediators

The experimental space of Bureau des transmissions presents various events, including lectures, workshops, performances, and games invented by local and international artists, on a daily basis. Art mediators who work with the audience make the project even more all-encompassing.

Learn more

Invitation in Kyrgyz and Uzbek language to a tea drinking party

Invitation in Kyrgyz and Uzbek language to a tea drinking party with the editorial team of Nasreddin in Russia and the musical ensemble Echo of Pamir.

Invitation in Kyrgyz language

Орусияга кете электе Насреддин Хожа белгилүү сүрөтчү болгондур (же музыкант, же жазуучу). Кандай болсо да, ал жакшы көргөн иши менен алектенчү,  аны баары баркташчу. Ал эми Москвада ал кара күч менен жанын багат. Эми чыгармачылыгы үчүн убакыт менен күч таба алабы? Же болбосо тиричилик үчүн күрөшөбү? Орусия өнүгүүгө  жаңы мүмкүнчүлүктөр менен  шарттарды түзүп береби? Же жөн гана аны жумушчу  кара күч катары көрөбү? А балким,  эмгек миграциясы ага өзүнүн шыгын издегенге дем берет? Бул тууралуу “Насреддин в России” гезитинин редакциясы менен  жолугушууда билгенге аракет кылабыз.

Жолугушуунун катышуучулары:

Ольга Житлина — сүрөтчү, перфоманс жана театралдык көргөзүүлөрдөн автору, “Агентство Утопических Новостей” жана “Насреддин в России” гезиттеринин  негиздөөчүсү,  редактору. 2011-жылы укук коргоочу Андрей Якимов менен биргеликте эмгек миграциясы тууралуу  “Орусия – мүмкүнчүлүктөрдүн өлкөсү” деген оюнду ойлоп чыккан. 2014-жылдан баштап сүрөтчү Анна Терешкина, эмгек мигранттары жана чыгармачыл кесиптештери менен чогуу “Конкурс шутки Ходжи Насреддина” аттуу долбоорду жетектеп келет. Андан бери  “Насреддин в России” гезитинин бир канча саны басып чыгарылды.  Йон Иригойен сүрөтчүсү менен биргеликте “Мобильная дискотека” гезитин да чыгарат. 2015-жылдан баштап Гамбургдагы “Лампедуза” аттуу качкын-активисттер тобу менен жана опера ырчысы Юлия Аверина менен кызматташып, жыйынтыгында Андрей Платоновдун “Джан” чыгармасына коюлган “Перевод” спектакли жаралган. Henkel (2012) жаштар премиясынын,  Лея жана Ханс Грундиг атындагы премиянын(2015) лауреаты. Санкт-Петербург шаарында жашайт, иштейт. 

Анна Терешкина — сүрөтчү, иллюстратор, аудио – видеолордун автору, куратор жана феминист. 2018 –жылы Омск Мамлекеттик педогогикалык университетинин Искусство факультетин жана 2014 – жылы “Что Делать” чыгармачылык мектебин аяктаган. “Швемы” тигүүчүлөр кооперативинин катышуучусу,  анын долбоорлору  “МедиаУдар” фестивалы (Москва, 2015,2016), Civic Media Lab (Днепр, 2017) фестивалы, 1- Орусиялык заманбап искусствосунун Триенналеси («Гараж» заманбап искусство музейи,Москва, 2017) иш-чараларында көрсөтүлгөн. “Насреддин в России” гезитинин иллюстратору. 2015-жылы Люси Липпард атындагы феминисттик устаканасынын куратору болгон (Анастасия Вепрева жана Полина Заславская менен биргеликте, Санкт-Петербург шаары), азыр “Егорка” коммуналдык галереясынын куратору (Анастасия Макаренко менен, Санкт-Петербург). Санкт-Петербург шаарында жашайт, иштейт. 

Абдумамад Бекмамадов — музыкант жана куруучу. Орусияга 1999- жылы Таджикстандын Тоолуу –Бадахшан автономиялык облусунан келген. Мекенинде Искусство Институтуна окууга тапшырган, бирок, 1991-жылы жарандык согуштан улам окуусун таштоого аргасыз болгон.  1999-жылы Москвага келип, курулушта иштеген. Тогуз жыл бою музыка менен алектенгенге мүмкүнчүлүгү болгон эмес. 2010 –жылы режиссер Всеволод Лисовский менен таанышып, анын “Акын-Опера” көргөзүүсүндө катышкан соң чыгармачылык чөйрөгө кайткан. 2014 –жылы “Золотая Маска” премиясы менен сыйланган. Анна Моисеенконун “Песни Абдула” документалдык фильминде башкы персонаж болгон. Концерттик чыгармачылык менен курулуштагы жумушунда бирдей иштейт. 

Бермет Борубаева — куратор, сүрөтчү, изилдөөчү. Бишкек шаарында төрөлгөн, билими боюнча саясат таануучу. Бишкектеги “ArtEast” заманбап искусство мектебин аяктаган жана Биринчи Москвалык “V-A-C Foundation” кураторлор мектебинин бүтүрүүчүсү. Орто Азия, Европа жана АКШдагы эл аралык көркөм долбоорлорунда катышкан. 2013-жылдан баштан Москва шаарында жашайт. ЦТИ Фабрикада арт-резиденция программасында координатор болуп иштеген. Искусство, эмгек,гендердик теңдик жана экология жөнүндөгү публикациялардын автору. Акыркы күндөргө чейин Москвада тамактануучу жайда ашпозчу болуп иштеген. Азыр болсо “Труд” гезитинде тамак өндүрүүдөгү саясаттык экономия жөнүндө колонканын автору, #ФудшерингвБишкеке тобун уюштуруучулардын бири.

Чынгыз Айдаров — 1984-жылы Бишкек шаарында төрөлгөн. 2006-жылы С.А. Чуйков атындагы Кыргыз мамлекеттик көркөм окуу жайын аяктаган. Перфоманс, акция, фото, видео, инсталляция, живопись, скульптура, графика форматтарында иштейт. 2017-жылдан бери Москва шаарында иштейт, чыгармачылык менен жүк ташуучу жумушун бирдей алып барат. Азыркы учурда «Гараж» заманбап искусство музейинде устакана программасынын резиденти.

Зарнигар Омониллаева — юрист, укук коргоочу, коомдук ишмер. 1994 –жылы Ферганада, Өзбекстанда төрөлгөн. 2013 – жылы Орусиядагы Эл Достугу Университетинин юриспруденция факультетине тапшырып, Москвага көчүп келген. Окуп жүргөндө мигранттарга укук жардамын көрсөтө баштаган. musofir.ru укук-маалыматтык порталын негиздеген. Башка ыктыярчылар менен биргеликте өзбекче сүйлөгөн мигранттарга  колдоо көрсөтүү үчүн  “Таянч” интернет долбоорун түзгөн. Бүгүнкү күндө бул уюмда 65 миңге жакын колдоонучу бар, алардын ичинде акын, жазуучу, ырчылар жана башка чыгармачылык менен алектенген мигранттар абдан көп. “Насреддин в России” гезитинин 4-санын өзбек тилине которгон. 

23-март күнү сиздерди «Гараж» заманбап искусство музейинде саат 18:00до күтөбүз. Дареги: Крымский Вал көчөсү, ү.9, 32 курулуш, “Лаб” мейкиндиги (“Бюро переводов” көргөзмөсүнүн алкагында).

Жолугушуу жандуу музыка менен коштолот.

Кирүү акысыз.

Invitation in Uzbek language


Rossiyaga ketguniga qadar Xo'ja Nasriddin mashhur rassom edi (yoki san'atkor, balki yozuvchi bo'lgandur). Qanday bo'lmasin, u o'zi sevgan kasb bilan mashg'ul edi va bu uchun uni qadrlashardi. Moskvada esa u hayot uchun jismoniy kuchi bilan ishlashga majbur. Xo'sh, u ijod uchun vaqt topmoqdami? Yoki hayot uchun kurashga sho'ng'ib ketdimi? Rossiya u uchun yangi istiqbol va rivojlanish imkoniyatlarini bera olyaptimi? Yoki unda faqat qora ishchini ko'rishmoqdami? Balki aynan mehnat muhojirligi uni yangi qirralarini ochishga ilhomlantirgandur? Bu haqida biz "Nasriddin Rossiyada" tahririyat guruhining dasturxon atrofida o'tkazadigan uchrashuvida bilib olamiz.

Uchrashuv ishtirokchilari:

Olga Jitlina va Anna Tereshkina — Peterburglik rassomlar, gazeta tahrirchilari.

Abdumamad Bekmamadov — san'atkor va quruvchi. Rossiyaga 1999 yili Tojikistonning Tog'li-Badaxshon avtonom viloyatidan kelgan. Vatanida San'at institutiga o'qishga qabul qilingan. Lekin 1991 yildagi fuqarolar urushi tufayli o'qishni tashlashga majbur bo'lgan. Ammo sozanda sifatida chiqishlarini davom ettirgan. 1999 yilda Moskvaga kelib, quruvchi sifatida ishlay boshlagan. 9 yil davomida sozandalik bilan mashg'ul bo'lishga imkoni bo'lmagan. 2010 yilda rejissor Vsevolod Lisovskiy bilan tanishib, rejissorning "Akin-Opera" namoyishlarida ishtirok etdi. Shundan keyin o'zining professional kasbiga qaytdi. 2014 yilda Oltin niqob mukofoti bilan taqdirlandi. Anna Moiseyenkoning "Abdulaning qo'shiqlari" hujjatli filmi qahramoniga aylandi (2017). Konsert faoliyatini hali ham quruvchilik ishi bilan bir maromda olib bormoqda.

Bermet Borubayeva — kurator, rassom, tadqiqotchi. Bishkekda tug'ikgan, siyosatshunoslik bo'yicha ta'lim olgan. Bishkekda ArtEast Zamonaviy san'at maktabini tamomlagan, V-A-C Foundation Birinchi Moskva kuratorlik maktabi bitiruvchisi. Markaziy Osiyo, Yevropa, Meksika, AQSHda xalqaro rassomlik loyihalarida qatnashgan. 2013 yildan buyon Moskvada yadhaydi. STI Fabrika art-rezidensiyasi dasturi koordinatori bo'lib ishlagan. San'at, mehnat, gender tenglik va ekologiyaga haqidagi maqolalar muallifi. Yaqin vaqtga qadar Moskvaning turli ovqatlanish joylarida oshpaz bo'lib ishlab keldi. Hozirgi vaqtda "Trud" gazetasida oziq-ovqat ishlab-chiqaruvi iqtisodiyotiga bag'ishlangan kolonka yetakchisi. #ФудшерингвБишкеке guruhining hammuallif tashkilotchisi.

Chingiz Aydarov — 1984 yili Bishkekda tug'ilgan. 2006 yili S.A.Chuykov nomidagi Qirg'iziston davlat rassomchilik o'qishini tamomlagan. Performans, aksiya, foto video, instalyatsiya, rassomchilik, haykaltaroshlik, grafika formatida ishlaydi. 2017 yildan buyon Moskvada yashab, ishlab kelmoqda. Ijodini yuk tashuvchilik ishi bilan birga olib bormoqda. Hozirgi vaqt Garaj Zamonaviy san'at muzeyi dasturining rezidenti hisoblanadi.

Zarnigor Omonillayeva — yurist, huquq himoyachisi, jamoatchi faol. 1994 yili Farg'onada tug'ilgan (O'zbekiston Respublikasi). 2013 yili RXDU Yurisprudensiya fakultetiga o'qishga kirib, Rossiyaga kelgan. O'qish vaqtidayoq migrantlarga huquqiy yordam berishni boshlagan. Musofir.ru huquqiy-informatsion portal asoschisi. Tayanch internet loyihasining hammuallif-tashkilotchisi. Bugungi kunda loyiha 65 ming faol migrant foydalanuvchilardan iborat. Ular orasida ijodkorlari juda ko'p. "Nasriddin Rossiyada" gazetasining 4- nashrini o'zbek tiliga tarjima qilgan.

Sizni 23-mart soat 18:00da Garaj Zamonaviy san'at muzeyida kutib qolamiz. Manzil: Moskva shahri, Krimskiy Val ko'chasi, 9 uy, 32 bino. Lab maydoni

(Tarjimonlar byurosi ko'rgazmasi doirasida)

Dasturxon va musiqa bo'ladi. Siz uchun "Pomir Sadosi" guruhi ijro qiladi (Ishtirokchilar: Abdumamad Bekmamadov, Adam Chakaboyev, Shirin Chakaboyev, Pakiza)

Kirish bepul

Bureau des transmissions. Booklet

Garage has published a booklet in Russian and English specially for the project Bureau des transmissions.

Today, the activities of most museums are determined by a hierarchy in which education programs are secondary to exhibition projects. Despite such asymmetry, the role of education in contemporary culture has dramatically increased since the mid-2000s, which has allowed art theorist Irit Rogoff to speak of an “educational turn in curating.” Parallel to this turn, new hybrid practices are emerging and being employed actively at the intersection of art and education, for which artist and Director of Adult and Academic Programs at MoMA Pablo Helguera has coined the term “transpedagogy.”

An experimental project developed by the Museum’s Education and Exhibition departments, Bureau des transmissions is not only a test lab or an intuitional exercise to improve cooperation between museum departments, but also an attempt to produce an alternative model of relations within the museum and in its social environment. By creating a free and open space—a welcoming environment whose mobility is reflected in its modular architecture—the project encourages and fosters practices that explore interhuman relations (in particular, cooperation and engagement). Presented as a forum with artists’ interventions, Bureau des transmissions functions as a continuous performance, a game, a theater piece, a platform for encounters between communities,
a program of masterclasses, and a series of meetings with the artists and educators involved in the project. Through this variety of activities, it encourages visitors to look at educational strategies as an integral part of the life of the contemporary museum.

Bureau des transmissions marks ten years of education programs at Garage. During this period, the Museum has organized numerous lectures, discussions, masterclasses, and reading groups, and in 2018 it launched a long-term collaboration with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, which will educate a new generation of museum professionals. This project has been inspired and informed by French philosopher Jacques Rancière’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster (1987), which encourages educators to see students as intellectual equals, and the ideas of absolute academic freedom and “university without condition” suggested by Rancière’s compatriot, poststructuralist philosopher Jacques Derrida (Without Alibi, 2002). Borrowed from the art historian Claude-Hubert Tatot, the original French title—which means “signal office”—refers to a place where important, usually military, information is communicated. Invoking telegraph, radio, fiber optics or any other means of generating vital connectivity, the title suggests that contemporary museums have to be competent in a variety of fields: as well as research centers and incubators for new art they act, as platforms for educational experiments.

Our prediction is that future museums, like universities, will be organized as campuses, where artists act as experts, art as teaching aids, and education takes on the role of social activism. The increasing focus on education in contemporary museums is not surprising if one looks at their structure. Unlike classical museums, they are not based on royal or aristocratic collections, but gravitate toward the university tradition of displaying objects. It is in university collections, with their conceptual classifications, where knowledge is freed from pleasure and aesthetics as such, that the prototype of the museum of contemporary art can be found, and not in nationalized depositories of luxury (regardless of whether collections have been expropriated or donated to the public). As Indian historian Dipesh Chakrabarty points out in Museums in Late Democracies (2002), contemporary art museums are increasingly moving away from scientific rigor, academic dogmatism, and didacticism. They are structures which rely on lived experience and admit non-theoretical knowledge, operating outside strict entry quotas.

This booklet presents the voices of artists who have contributed to Bureau des transmissions: some polyphonic, retaining the traces of live speech, and others which are thoroughly academically balanced. These meditations present an overview of current ideas on contemporary artistic practices, the role of the viewer, the function of museums, and the importance of education strategies in art.

Iaroslav Volovod,
Olga Dieva


Olga Jitlina: Adar
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