Memento Mori Moscow (MMM) 2011
Special project 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art
Memento Mori is a site-specific project by Natalia Skobeeva taking place in seven European metropolises over the course of seven years.
Memento Mori Moscow 2011 or MMM is the third of seven Memento Mori projects. The great city was asked a question in regards to consumerism, challenging the city’s perception of current social values.
The artist works with the idea of a carpet as a symbol of achievements and prosperity, which goes back many decades and many city’s generations. In the past, every hard-working young family one day would buy a carpet as a “we made it” sign, so that almost every house would end up having very similar mass-produced, artificial “luxury” items. Nowadays, carpets are looked down upon, with hard-working young families preferring to show off their standing with branded clothes and cars.
Incorporating important urban features of the city, this project will take place on the most engaged routes of transportation – its roads. During evening rush hour, seven roads will be paved with carpets, while the cars continue driving on their usual routes. All seven Interventions will be filmed on camera. After the event the carpets will be re-installed on the walls of the gallery in order to re-gain their status as objects of desire, displaying all the signs of the car’s tracks. The city is invited to visit the exhibition and re-evaluate current social states of affairs.
Skobeeva believes that play is the most natural state for experiences to be gained and for boundaries to be questioned. Posing a question to each city, she invites cities to play with the idea, and to adopt and transform it. The result is an Intervention in the city’s commuter routes during rush hour, and a video piece documenting the experiences of the artists and the commuters.
Skobeeva is interested in communicating with cities during their period of transformation, when the city is found in a liminal space.
The artist is looking to explore the subconscious of each city by creating the subtle uncanny situations during the unstable hours of transformation. The specific locations relate directly to the cities, as places of transience, for example bridges, roads and ferries. The idea is played out over seven different routes in each city. Each Memento Mori project works with the same concept but brings to light a different question, and takes place during the period that the commuting public is held momentarily within time and space.
Having lived in 6 different countries and traveled to more then 50 countries, Skobeeva’s personal biography interplays with her exploration of the current state of human affairs. For this project in Moscow to happen, Skobeeva has spend 7 month liaising with and obtaining permissions from the city’s officials and involved organizations, including Mayor of Moscow office, Department of Culture, Prefecture SVAO and State Road Traffic Safety Inspection among others. Memento Mori projects in London and Istanbul were supported by Mayor of London Office, Westminster Council, City of London Corporation, European Capital of Culture 2010 Committee and Mimar Sinan University among others. In the 4 coming years Skobeeva plans to take Memento Mori to Brussels, Vilnus, Berlin and Barcelona.