Translation wardrobe / шкаф для перевода
Installation, video, workshop, GARAGE museum, Moscow, 2019
In his work Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga wrote that “[..] culture arises in the form of play, [..] it is played from the very beginning[..]. [Civilisation] arises in and as play, and never leaves it.
In virtually every culture on earth we can find signs to games and toys and most of the time, these artefacts where meant to educate children and adults about various norms and regulations within a community, encourage social interaction and build relationships as well as foster imagination and creativity.
For this project I interviewed my grandmother about her childhood, growing up during and post second world war - what games the kids played during this time and what toys they had. My grandmother told me the story of how her families house was destroyed and with it most of their belongings. The only things that survived where some pieces of her parents wardrobe which they had taken with them when fleeing and one bag of little ribbons, yarn balls and pieces of clothing, that was buried under ground in their summer house. This became her whole world - the masquerades they would create with the scarps and the imagined roles they would play while dressing up in her mothers gloves and nightgown.
Most of people have that memory of wanting to explore and play with our parents wardrobes - to try out different pieces of garments, that more often than not, come with certain context of passages of rites and rituals and various imagined stories. To become different characters and beings that told their own stories. But it's not only clothes - in the corners of those wardrobes might be a secret box with artefacts passed down from previous generations - from small trinkets and family recipes to a loved toy - its packed full of carefully curated autobiographies of who we are.
Throughout introducing the element of play and with the wardrobe as a symbolic rule book for this play, the visitors are invited to interact with the various objects in the wardrobe, to create and uncover different narratives, learn the rules and at the same time - question these rules, to borrow the faces from the wardrobe and take the courage to tell a story behind the mask, to look at the wardrobe as a carrier of culture and personality, unwritten social norms and adoption of these norms in ever changing environment.
Through introducing the element of play in a museum setting, the focus is being shifted towards a museum as a place where to repose the questions about identity and social norms and interactions. Art and games allow us to stand aside from everyday life in order to observe and question and in this case museum becomes our own symbolic wardrobe for this exiting investigation into who we are.