In the life of the Turukhansk krai, since the moment of its conquest by Russians, there has not been seen such work and such construction as is currently being undertaken by Soviet power. . . . By granting full political rights of small nationalities of the North, Soviet power has fully raised the economic and cultural lives of the natives of the Turuhansk North.
Work plan of the Turukhansk culture base. GAKK 1845-1-125
It was a journey into the distant past.
Uvachan 1984: 83
Anachronistic space: way forward. [4minutes]
Anachronistic space: way forward is an animated etching. My diptych print portrays a scene from the Turukhansk taiga, high above the Nizhnaia Tunguska river. On one bank is an abandoned Evenki sleigh, normally pulled by a small reindeer team. Lashed to the sleigh is a giant concrete hand of Lenin. The ubiquitous hand, normally attached to a statue, is an iconic symbol of Soviet life.
This scene depicts remnants of communism in the Siberian landscape. Lenin's hand, divorced from the body doubles its marked divorce from the proletarian masses, which had been an essential component of early communist iconography (cf. Bonnell 1997: 154). The residual effects of socialism, from power lines to inscrutable objects of industrial manufacture become lost in the enormity of the northern landscape.
I have animated my print to suggest the distance between the original print and the digital reproduction. Looking at a compressed digital copy of the original etching can too easily mask the different experiences elicited by each encounter. Animating the print suggests the original print is something else, something larger, and something other than that experienced on the screen.
Printmaking plays in archival metaphors as well. The source, trace, matrix, and copy are all elements in printmaking as they are in historical representation and the structures of authority implicit in artifacts of anteriority. Marking the copper plate leaves a trace that is transferred on to ink on paper. Walking through the taiga too leaves marks. Memories and histories variably forgotten, recorded, remembered, and forgotten again.
Photographs and archives are anachronistic spaces as well. The history that tends to issue from them reinforces their capacity to bear the past in the present. They elicit temporal confusion, or perhaps show up the fissures of time as it is conventionally understood.