MARGARITA VARAKINA, ANTON POLSKY

Art Prospect in North Moscow’s Neighborhood Centers, a.k.a. Leningradsky (Art) Prospect*

Park Gallery, Moscow, Timiryazevsky District

Rassvet Community Center, Moscow, Koptevo District

 

During the lockdown, people experienced a lack of reciprocal care and abundant, close connection with each other. They began to need to spend more time “around the neighborhood”—whether virtually (in neighborhood social media groups) or in real life, meeting with neighbors in courtyards, parks, and stairwells. Working from home, restrictions on movement, and local contexts increased city dwellers’ interest in the places they live.

For this project, artists Anton Polsky and Margarita Varakina invite us to consider the neighborhood cultural center using several sites in Moscow’s Northern Okrug. They propose thinking of the neighborhood as a small town inside a metropolis, in need of its own infrastructure and identity. The artists are aiming to create a kind of utopian autonomous zone in these new houses of culture, providing space for those who lack institutional acceptance and creating a place that allows the local community to gather.

 in the city (the launch of a show streamed online where artists interview local residents; public talks with neighborhood activists, local business owners, etc.), while some (exhibitions, lectures, discussions, and a new format of neighborhood association meeting) will be hosted by North Moscow’s cultural centers.

* Leningradsky Prospect (Leningrad Avenue) is North Moscow’s main thoroughfare.

Photo: Margarita Varakina, Mitya Lyalin

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Margarita Varakina is an artist who received her Bachelor’s in Design and Contemporary Art from the Higher School of Economics Art and Design School. Her artistic research focuses on the spontaneous aesthetic systems’ idioms, which appear under the influence of popular culture and reflect communities’ ways of thinking. Varakina reinterprets these idioms in her work to draw together and foster interaction between people from different social groups.

Anton Polsky (Make) is an artist, theorist of socially engaged and street art, professor, and educator, and the cofounder of Partizaning.org, Delai Sam/a Festival and House of Culture, and several other initiatives. This is his third time taking part in Art Prospect.