The Hymns of Muscovy
— Gimny Moskovii
Dimitri Venkov (RU)
video, 2018, 14:24
The visual layer of the work is a trip to the planet Muscovy – an upside down space twin of the city of Moscow. As the title of the work suggests, the journey also takes us back in time. Gliding along the surface of the planet, we look down to the sky and see historic architectural styles fly by – the exuberant Socialist Classicism aka Stalinist Empire, the laconic and brutalist Soviet Modernism, and the hodgepodge of contemporary knock-offs of historical styles. An essential companion to this journey are Hymnic Variations on the Soviet anthem by the composer Alexander Manotskov. The anthem was written in 1943 and has undergone three editions of lyrics yet musically remained unchanged to now serve as the official anthem of the Russian Federation. Manotskov used an early recording of the anthem as source material to create three electronic variations each corresponding to an architectural style. As if, in a twist of Goethe’s phrase, architecture plays its frozen music.
Dimitri Venkov (RU), born in 1980, holds a Master of Arts degree in film history and is a professor of video art at Moscow’s Rodchenko Art School. His works derive from a sense of awe before the vicissitudes of life. They have been part of Documenta 14, Oberhausen Film Festival, Moscow, Bergen, and Gothenburg biennials. He has been awarded numerous prestigious prizes such as Kandinsky, FIPRESCI, e-flux, and others.