Integration through art in Russia


This interview made with Anna Chizik who is famous theatrical photographer in Saint-Petersburg and already had here personal exhibition (devoted to the Salomea perfomance) and put many efforts to arts promoting in Saint-Petersburg. Also Anna works as a lecturer in Saint Petersburg State University. There are now big projects focused exactly on integration through art in Saint-Petersburg right now. Neverheless, personal responsibility on this way is really important as art is something that we create for others by ourselves. Anna is a great sample of this process.

-Tell me about your job and achievements in art area?
-I’m photographer and documentary films producer, specialist in acoustics and sound engineering. My specialization is theater area so part of my life is connected with journalism. Also I defended a thesis about theatrical plays semiotic. I try to combine IT technologies with fundamental cultural issues. Sometimes it’s even successful. My official achievements are “Golden feather” award winner and job as young lecturer of Information Systems in Art Department in Saint Petersburg State University.

-Have you ever worked with children?
-With students mainly. Their age is about 17-23 years. I teach producing of documentary movies and multimedia technology. According my observations each two year generations with totally different values are born. That changes typical opinion that generation is 10 years period. Those students who are 17-18 years right know are deep involved into the art and know more about some areas. On the other hand, 21-22 years old students don’t know modern national artists and hear nothing about important singers in our country. Nevertheless they’re on Art Studies. In job context I meet adults seldom. But this communication positive side is that they came to hear not to spend time. In other aspects of my activity I meet different age people. I had a project when I created movie with a preschoolers. It was about traditional Russian games and was very interesting for me as this children are representatives of the culture I knew only according books.

-Are there any projects connected with arts in Saint Petersburg legislative assembly?
-Yes, there is a committee in culture and art which is responsible for city events and problems in this area. It helps people to find contact with power; some youth take part in competitions. Sometimes there are exhibitions hold in Mariinskyi theatre. Activity in media space saving is also important. All city newspapers not depended on Smolnyi were closed but our deputies did a lot of job in finding money for saving the oldest newspaper brand “Evening Saint-Petersburg”. This brand exists for hundred years already. Nevertheless, legislative assembly is firstly law creating organization and its activity is quite hidden. So, on its base there are no great art connected projects, its closer to personal initiative.

-What art means for you personally?
-Talking briefly, art is looking for a beauty. It is an esthetical code in the person that creates our judgement about beautiful or ugly. There is “good” and “bad” from children books. We grow up on European arts model. Since childhood we visit museums, read books, listen to music, raising our attitude. We can fight with this settings but this fight also on the same art basis. What do we do when we need to make a decision and to do a next step in life? Often our mistake in future’s perception through the past. We already have some experience and trying to avoid our former mistakes in similar situation. But it doesn’t work, situations are never the same. Art gives us opportunities. It is the second life, huge experience. Person exists in spontaneous world. Our difference from animals is that we recognize it. We recognize the world through the art. We can make a choice and there is our freedom.

-Do you remember any samples when art helped you or your friends to understand other culture better?
-I’m not sure it is possible in fundamental art. Talking about arts and crafts, there are several photo centers and Universities in Russia where people try to realize and share their experience in cultural communication through photo journalism. For me it is very important to understand subcultures existing in terms of your culture. Living in Saint-Petersburg you are not always think about living in Africa, for example. But there are many serious problems which you are able to study through media projects – radical right political parties or religious minorities and majorities motivations. Here we come to new media formats in mass media. Is it art? I think yes.

-What are your future plans in art area?
-I’m making a film about Russian producer Marlen Huziev which is oldest from living Russian producers. My plans are not very wide right now – to finish this film in a quality good enough for the hero. Also I’m creating new electronic media devoted to cultural life. I hope it will be connected with art deeply. In other way I make pictures, write articles, live, generally. My intensions are mainly about subcultures and making life culture in sum.

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