Taus Makhacheva

This is a project that grew out of furball. It is an Intervention with anthropological research of the subculture, that is beening formed at the moment. There is a new highway being built from Makhachkala to the airport. Every Saturday from midnight till 3 am an unauthorised highway racing contest happens. Crowds of man in black gather to watch, socialise and be part of the small newly forming subculture. I hope to make a video about this dynamic. I will not only be an observer. I will participate and document a carefully choreographed intervention with help of video camera. I intend to produce a full fur cover for one particular car and film its arrival and participation in this contest. Me and my friend(who often works as cinematographer with me) will also film the reaction of men who regularly come to these gatherings to hang out. The fur cover will be made out of old monster-like Soviet fur coats that I will collect. As I said this idea grew out of my FurBall proposal on IAA website. I kept thinking about it and there was nothing in it, apart from visuals and a rather simple idea of going back to nature, references to minimalism and the beauty of the landscape, it seemed too dry, too formal, too arty I would say. This idea on the contrary has a strong sense of exploring new social formation and critique. The end product would be an edited video of this performative action. I’m thinking of shooting another video with this fur car. I will either mix the two footages or display two videos in the same room in close proximity. The second video would be like a mock advert of luxury cars. Driving in this FurCar through mountains and fields with flowers, possibly chasing after another Russian minivan car called gazelle, FurCar like an animal chasing a deer.

In regards to emotions behind this project I can say a few things. I have always been very interested in observing various social dynamics. I want to intervene, have a dialogue, have a say, make a comment on zillions of car adverts that present automobiles as key to freedom, masculinity, phallic power, autobeasts that go wild, free when on the road, or when there is no road at all. I want to comment on the fact that Russia is overflowing with oversized cars, that would usually be used by farmers elsewhere. I want to comment on how disposable fur can be, and how unethical an artist can be, I want to get a response from real Dagestan man to what would be going on when we will arrive to participate in this street racing contest… I want  to use humour as a tool to connect…and critique. Its not only the  critique of consumption, comment on exclusive masculine Dagestan space, half-bestiality of fur(1), RnB culture if you wish, but I see it as a gateway to communication with the environment, new social group. It is impossible to predict a response I will get from the people at the event or driving through a city of Makhachkala. It is like tapping on new ground, somewhat similar to my video work A Space of Celebration, where two anthropomorphic brides explore new eclectic architecture of popular Dagestan wedding halls.

(1) “It is necessary to note that turning fur coats inside out is a characteristic ritual in a great many ethnic rites that marks representatives of the other world (evil spirits in a number of cases) who often look half-bestial according to popular beliefs.” (“To be presented with a fur coat off the tsar’s back” by Patimat Gamzatova)