Cherkizov Revisited.

Joseph Beuys-Theater & Sakharov-Centre Moscow

International Documentary Theatre Laboratory 2012: ‚Ä®”Breaking through boundaries”

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A Performative Video-Installation about Migrant Workers in Moscow

The Moscow Cherkizov market was Europe’s largest market until its closure in 2009. Approximately 100,000 people worked here every day. Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Chinese, Vietnamese and many others. Some of its inhabitants did not leave this city within the city for years. A cosmos of its own, with its own laws. An independent creature that cooperated only at its edges with Moscow. The government-led sudden closure put a symbolic end to the multi-ethnic and unstructured obscure.
The performative installation approaches with an archeology of the present, over traces, objects, pictures, text and sound. The visitors can pursue their own tracks in this atmospheric performance and exhibition space or just follow the moving bag that travels through the space. While large protests in the streets where held by the Moscow population against their government, ARCHEZONE takes up the political scope of urban politics and creates an associative compression against the disappearance of the present.

Premiere / Opening: Saturday, February 25, 2012


The Moscow Times, 27 February 2012
Theater Plus / Drama Critic John Freedman about Culture and Art in Russia

Breaking Down the Barriers of Theater

By John Freedman

(…) Next up was “Cherkisov Revisited,” a¬†performance-installation, if I may put it that way, conceived by¬†Felix Meyer-Christian, Eylien Konig, Karolina Mazur and¬†Alexei Kukarin. This was ostensibly an¬†exploration of¬†the effect that the¬†controversial closing of¬†the Cherkizovsky open-air market had on¬†those who had worked there, although nothing so obvious and¬†concrete emerged from¬†the performance we witnessed. It included documentary texts drawn from¬†interviews with a¬†former market worker, and¬†excepts from¬†the writings of¬†Chingiz Aitmatov.

The¬†audience wandered about the¬†stage, stopping to¬†peruse a¬†sculptural ensemble of¬†pedestals in¬†the center of¬†the hall; to¬†watch excerpts from¬†Andrei Tarkovsky’s film “Stalker” on¬†a computer in¬†one corner; to¬†watch videos of¬†the old Cherkizovsky market projected on¬†the floor in¬†another corner; to¬†listen to¬†a women reading text in¬†Polish as a¬†Russian interpreter provided simultaneous translation; and¬†to observe an¬†oversized polyethylene bag as it came to¬†life and¬†crawled across the¬†floor.

There was no center of¬†attention and, during a¬†discussion afterwards, director Meyer-Christian admitted he was surprised and¬†even a¬†little disappointed that some elements of¬†his work were basically ignored by¬†spectators. Much was made of¬†the odd figure of¬†the sack making its way across the¬†floor. Some were surprised that no one bothered to¬†open the¬†bag and¬†look inside¬†‚ÄĒ clearly there was a¬†person in¬†there, perhaps someone who needed to¬†be liberated. Others pointed out that some spectators stood in¬†the way of¬†the bag and¬†hindered its forward movement. Was this an¬†act of¬†curiosity, indifference or hostility? (…)

Read more:

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Concept & Performance
Felix Meyer-Christian

Space & Video & Performance
Karolina Mazur

Space & Performance
Eylien König

Guides, Translator & Performance
Alexey Kukarin, Sergey Gromov

Katharina Kellermann

Research in Moscow
Alexey Kukarin, Felix Meyer-Christian, Eylien König, Sergey Gromov

The International Documentary Theatre Laboratory was sponsored by:
The European Commission
The Goethe-Institut Moscow
The Polish Cultural Centre in Moscow