Sonic Acts and the Murmansk Prospekt project: building bridges with countries bordering the EU
“We’ve actually been working with our Russian partners Zhanna Guzenko and Oleg Khadartsev from Fridaymilk since 2013. Fridaymilk is an independant cultural organisation based in Murmansk, run by a team of curators, artists and cultural managers.
One of the requirements of the open call of the Creative Industries Fund NL was a focus on long-term developments in urban environments, with topics that include sustainability and inclusivity. In previous collaborations our focus was not primarily the city, but we did produce several projects investigating the urban landscape, such as sound walks and site specific installations. For Murmansk Prospekt we focussed on Murmansk from a social perspective. Its population is declining, young people are moving away as they see no future for themselves in Murmansk. Life in the Far North is tough – there are months of darkness, the climate is harsh and it’s an industrial town. But more important, there is a shared feeling by the young generation that Murmansk has lost its identity, and its inhabitants therefore have lost a feeling of belonging to the city. So the dilemma the youth is facing is whether its better to leave or live.”
"By commissioning artists to research the city and the surrounding area, we attempt to look at Murmansk through a different set of lenses. Using artistic and speculative research we try to reveal the hidden histories and lost identities of the city – to re-imagine and redefine the city – and offer citizens new ways to connect to the city.
So far, there are four projects within Murmansk Prospekt with the city as a study object: two with Russian artists and two with Dutch artists collaborating with local artists. Russian sound artist Gleb Gonti, for instance, made a sonic map of Murmansk, Just Take Time to Listen. It has a dominant feature of industrial noise in coexistence with natural sounds of the North. And Polina Medvedeva, a Dutch-Russian filmmaker, has been working with a group of local young creatives on documenting the invisible and inaccessible side of the city. This includes interviewing friends and relatives, to extend the range of information flow on a personal level and think about what the city is. But Murmansk Prospekt is a work in progress, so there's still more to come."
*In 2018, the Creative Industries Fund NL published an open call for projects of designers, makers, curators and cultural organisations in the Netherlands that focus on sustainalbe and inclusive societies. The open call invited Dutch cultural actors to collaborate with counter parts in Turkey, Russia, Egypt or Marocco to address current issues or developments in the creative industries field of the concerned countries. Sonic Acts was one of the selected organisations to receive the grant.
Check out the complete overview of Dutch cultural activities in Russia in our Database.
If you are a cultural professional who wants to go to Russia, feel free to contact our Russia advisor Lenka Boswijk.
For funding possibilities, check out our Cultural Mobility Funding Guide or the websites of our partners EYE International, Film Fund, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Letterenfonds, Mondriaan Fonds, Creative Industries Fund NL, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Russia or the Consulate-General of the Netherlands in Saint Petersburg.