“Not the project itself is important, but the process or situation is important. Only a Situation can give birth to an Event.”
“The opening of the site to art is a brief, interventionist moment, not a permanent condition.”
“…no empty place is really empty: everywhere is filled up, almost claustrophobically, with all the traces of the past.”
A gathering and exchanging of artistic ideas, methods, temperaments and skills in a unique architectural and historic site. Following on from Luna Nera’s project Kronstadt 2003 Cross-Encounters, “Interconnection” brings together Russian and international artists.
In June 2004 we made a residency in the town of Kronstadt, a settlement founded by Tsar Peter the Great on Kotlin island in the Gulf of Finland in 1704.
By the standards of most European settlements, Kronstadt is very new, only 300 years old, but has an astonishing amount of unique and significant marine architecture. Peter I built Kronstadt as the most modern structure in the world. The design of Kronstadt seen from above, or on a map, is like looking into the mechanistic workings of a clock – everything was built to precision and purpose. However, the structures which were built to make Russia a great naval power are now in severe decay.
Kronstadt is a powerful symbol of both strength and resistance, and is not only a part of Russian history but part of world history. As well as defending the Russian and Soviet empires against Western invasion and Nazi conquest, Kronstadt played an instrumental role in the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, and the defeated rebellion against the Bolsheviks in 1921 – all of which directly affected the course of world history.
Until 1996, Kronstadt was a closed area to all foreigners. The fascinating Petrine-era and later architecture, its vast naval storehouses and canals, its elegant palaces and exquisite naval cathedral were known only in illustrations. However, now Kronstadt is in a state of transition as the systems that supported and maintained its splendour have disappeared.
For the people of Kronstadt, who have seen their historic town fall into decline, there are issues of pride, isolation, opportunities and the impact of globalisation at stake. And so Kronstadt is not only a small island town off the cost of St Petersburg, but is a microcosm of the world in its state of 21st century flux and uncertainty, where wealth and poverty exist side by side but rarely touching, where a sense of the past and one’s place in it is continually challenged by feelings of insecurity and the ever-quickening rush of time.
“Interconnection” is a project about trans-communication, about meetings, merging and creating something new out of what is already there. “Interconnection” will seek to blur the boundaries of dichotomies such as art/life, past/present, nature/civilisation. public/private… The interconnecting or coming-together into a flow of artistic endeavour is symbolised by the water which surrounds and flows through the island via the canals and pools.
The theme of the project is interconnection, and so the experience of being resident in Kronstadt is not an end in itself, but is part of an ongoing process. We hope that exhibiting this project will both stimulate an interest in Kronstadt itself, and to show how site-responsive art can begin a dialogue to help communities reappraise and re-value their locality.