Time of the Moon by Elena Kholkina.
The dream to send humans to the moon was one of the greatest scenarios dating back to as early as 79AD and fulfilled in the 20th century. When I was born in Moscow in the 1980s, all Soviet children wanted to become cosmonauts. In the meantime, another grand scenario – building socialism in our country – became a utopia and collapsed. The system which has been piled up on top of it since then is still very unclear to me. The recent history is constantly being distorted in the media and political debate. History books are rewritten, monuments are rearranged, historical buildings are destroyed and in their place come modern remakes with no meaning. The gesture of blunt replacement has become common in many spheres of our social life, blurring our historical memory and our self-awareness in historical time.
Time of the Moon is an attempt to re-imagine my country’s timeline through the eyes of an architectural ensemble that exists in the heart of Moscow since 1920s and has experienced and manifested all the major changes in the Soviet-then-Russian history, that was built to play a very important role in the USSR and has been gradually falling into decay since 90s – VDNH. A place of great power from the past and possibly the future, its function is now undefined, inarticulate, and the place itself is now at point zero, in coma. Its future is to be re-imagined and new possibilities must be created on top of all the great history behind them. Re-imagining means making scenarios, and scenarios allow us to treat unexpected things as attainable and to realize them, even if centuries later, as happened with the human landing on the Moon.
I developed the material for the project during the 6th Moscow biennale of contemporary art (2015) that used VDNH as their headquarters, exhibition location, artists’ workshops and source for thoughts and inspiration. All the texts in the book are reactions of VDNH visitors who I questioned about possible futures for the place. All the images are photographic projections I made in VDNH during the biennale, as well as found images (credited in the book index).
20×26 cm, 100 pages, digitally printed, manually bound, hardcover, limited edition of 50 copies, signed and numbered, self-published photobook, 2016
all images and text © Elena Kholkina