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1978, Kyzilorda. Lives in Almaty.
1977, Bishkek. Lives in Bishkek.

Mourning, the three part ‘video novel’ by the creative group Bronepoezd (‘armoured train’) from Almaty and Bishkek was recorded on old 16mm film cameras from the Soviet period. As in all the latest works of the group, Mourning relates to the actualisation of the Soviet Union’s inheritance in its former republics. The three parts of the film are called Universal Sadness, Death of a Hero, Love to Eternity. Each takes different aspects of nostalgia towards sentimental Soviet movies that filled the early years of the artists’ visual memory. The first, romantic, part of the film is followed by a parody of children’s games and Soviet war movies and completed by the black irony of cool genius in the final section. The three parts of the work are separated by brief intervening views of a gloomy contemporary urban landscape while the deliberate eclecticism of Mourning is emphasised by the unpredictability of the soundtrack. Universal Sadness is accompanied by folk music from Peruvian violinists, while in Death of a Hero, a special blues track composed by Alexander Ugay sounds the final chord of the third part. Mourning is a comment from artists who were brought up in the multicultural environment of Central Asia after the Soviet Union, where finding a specific outlook to observe the global context is as much about dealing with this post-Soviet inheritance as it is embracing globalism.

Yulia Sorokina


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