«NEW ALPHABET» Collage, family photo archive and current newspapers, A4, 2022 St. Petersburg, Russia
Every day, Russia’s Alliance of Education Workers receives complaints from teachers who are being harassed by their schools’ administrators because of their political views. TikTok and VK.com are filled with images and videos of children lining up, at nurseries and kindergartens, into “Z”-shaped symbols of Russian propaganda. WTF?! Is education separate from politics—or completely servile to the state? What kind of a “matrix” is the state going to load into the minds of Russia’s new generation?
The police came to my child's school to talk about “courage,” distributing leaflets that said, “Crimea is the pearl of Russia,” as a homework. Among the parents of my daughter’s classmates, some are in solidarity with what is happening, and others hold opinions contradicting the majority. Does this mean that they—we, that is—should remain silent?
Armed with a family archive and current newspapers, I make collages that are consonant with my sense of the situation. I do this because I cannot find printable words for what I think and feel.
Aleksandra Mikhailova is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher who works with photography, video, archival materials, and collаge. In the photo books that she publishes, she explores questions of individual and collective memory, the continuity of generations, and migrations. In terms of method, Aleksandra begins with the documentary, testing and exploring its boundaries. The focus of her work is on the stories of her contemporaries: humans and their activity as the cause of all events on Earth. In Aleksandra’s work, the human is always the protagonist. The artist was born in Leningrad and lived at different times in Yakutia and in London. She now lives and works in St. Petersburg.
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