Dina Karaman

Cinema to a Romantic
22.02.2014 – 16.03.2014, Central Exhibiting Hall Manege

Part of the Great Expectations cycle

Cinema to a Romantic. Russia, 2014. 30 minutes

The film’s action begins in a large tourist town on the Volga River nowadays. The main plotline concerns a young female artist from the capital, Dina Karaman, who works at the meeting point of video art and film. She comes to this town with the aim of visiting what was once the main museum in the USSR, where she intends to shoot footage for her new project. It turns out, however, that the museum is closed on this particular day, and the artist heads off to another of the city’s sights – a children’s library. There, she be- comes an involuntary witness to the implementation of “A Strong Family” project. Here, the children, as well as being introduced to the library’s rules, in the form of staged actions, take on a love for family, private property and the state.

The second plotline revolves around the relations between Soviet ideology and the writer Alexander Green, whose book “The Scarlet Sails” the artist sees being used in the reading room as a weapon, as an educational aid in the following stage of the children’s introduction to the library. A former revolutionary, Green was a man for whom the glorious future of mankind didn’t come with revolutionary achievements, instead it became programmatic for his life and took on physical form in dreams of fairytale lands and noble people. In the Soviet media, the writer’s position was regularly criticized as being antithetical to proletarian culture in its idealization of reality.

Dina Karaman constructs her narration by coupling it with the physical shifting of the viewer within a labyrinth of time and meanings. The artist very precisely describes the trajectory of possible development of historical conflict between art and political authority, opposing the intellectual, the critical and the rational with the subjective, the emotional and the transcendental. The lunar landscape that she finds in her archive takes on a symbolic significance at the point where the artistic act can no longer be seen, by virtue of its formalistic qualities, as being capable or incapable of falling into place within certain ideological frameworks in the conditions of the industry of consciousness, and at best merely indicates the beginning of a journey.

Roman Minaev