Utopian Unemployment Union N1

Our project has its origin in a real story. Our friend has told us about her husband who had been fired and was so terrified that run away to his mother’s place. He was ashamed to look in his wife’s and children’s eyes as it is said: ‘A man without a job is like a horse without a saddle’. The wife and children kept telling him: ‘We love you the way you are, we don’t care if you’ve got a job or not’. But he was devastated. He started drinking and nearly became a drunkard, but suddenly a miracle happened. He found a new job, his wife started working too and the story had a happy ending..

But we can easily imagine what could have happened if the conditions had been a bit different..

The power of ‘the role’ over a man is huge and dreadful in its motionless doom if a man is unimaginative and doesn’t feel temptation to change anything, to transform himself. And that seems to be a fundamental quality of personality and it distinguishes us from other animals. The power is huge when a man can’t imagine himself that there’s another way, it is when a man cannot imagine he is an artist..

Art and its modern technologies can help a man to find his way.

It is a serious problem in time of economic depression. Especially, when someone has got internal problems and suffers from depression himself. But i is possible to totally change oneself and transform bad experiences into good ones. An artist having a problem offers his own strategies and experience, openly letting others to use them as a counterbalance to a capitalist idea of ‘know- how’

‘I won’t tell you how I’ve achieved my personal freedom; I’ll better sell my little invention and get some money for that.’

A man and a woman behave differently when they lose their jobs. Sociological studies have shown that women are less likely than men to become affected by the job loss or low salaries. It happens for series of reasons.

First of all, in a post- industrial society (part of which Russia insistently tries to become) decreases the amount of work places traditionally intended for men.

Secondly, a man is thought to be a bred- winner and the one who is responsible for his family. The given norm, supported by the society we live in, as well as women themselves requires men to behave in a certain way. Women are not expected that much in this field that’s why they feel more flexible while choosing their career path.

What is more, the hearth is controlled mainly by women and when men want to be co-responsible for it, they have to meet certain criteria again. Unreliable bread- winner is forced out from a family as there’s no other ‘position’ for him. And even when he looks after his children or do more housework it is not taken into account and is considered to be a temporary measure.

One of our friends who lost his job decided to become a house husband. Some time later, he concluded that it’s better to commit suicide than to stay at home. His attempts to find himself in housework ended up as internal and external conflicts. A man is melting in a society and in what he should do while a woman has got her children, house and internal world with its own rules.
In general, women are more orientated to the world of their thoughts and dreams and they feel the live full life even when they are cut off from the outside world and cultural life. For example, women find it natural to feed on memories which give them illusion of a full happy life. Men have different attitude to it. They want to develop and move ahead.

The strict borderlines and lack of the rules that would help to overcome these borderlines are the main reasons which hamper both women and men to find balance between home and work.

An important objective is to use the artistic discoveries to come closer to the European- like society.

Another aim is to overcome alienation of men, women, as well as different social groups in local context.

By overcoming so- called binary oppositions which seem to be a heritage of a marginal capitalism (In Russian it is still called the ‘home’ capitalism) and by mixing two worlds that seem to be so far from each other, we can imagine ourselves and come closer to the fair society which is more orientated to people’s needs.

The objectives in short:
to offer the way of changing a bad experience into a good one by criticising ‘know- how’
to overcome alienation and gaps in society
to establish a union for the unemployed (let’s do that here and now, shall we?) as an important constituent of the civil society (of course, if it’s a long- lasting project, the union can really come into existence)
Or isn’t better to establish the Union of housewives and house husbands?
-to work with feminine and masculine stereotypes/myths by the means of intervention into a conservative ballet school (a gender aspect)
-I really like your idea of using art as a subject to conduct a study. I suggest you to add it to the list of tasks, together with establishing the union.

Form. Participants. Realisation.

The draft name of the project: An utopian ballet, a union for unemployed.
Ballerinas from The Vaganova Ballet Academy are invited to perform with men who are currently unemployed/ looking for work. The project consists of 3 parts:
Interview with the ballerinas
Interview with the unemployed men.
The performance
There is an idea of a professional psychologist to take part in the project.
At the beginning the ballerinas are teaching the men of how to dance but later on there is a dialectical turn and the men start teaching the ballerinas.
As the performance progresses, the ballerinas enounce the cliché that women think about men and men enounce that they think about women. (Soundtrack)

And what’s behind the famous myth of the Russian ballet?

There’s the imperial ballet school which was established in XIX century ans hasn’t changed since then. That’s a straight back, iron discipline, delicacy and extraordinary beauty which is followed by an unbelievable work and a thought, an idea of a strong empire which cost lives of many people. These are the features which characterise the Russian ballet.

There are one up to three prima ballerinas and hundreds of childless women who at the age of 35 are forced to look for a new meaning of their lives.

(It’s interesting what the classical and modern choreographers think of an idea of dance and body.
An idea of a centre which could be compared to the government. In the classical ballet there’s only one centre and it is an amazingly straight spine. In modern dance there is more than one centre and the body is more natural, flexible)

Isn’t it one of the reasons why the modern Russian society seems to be so mysterious?

We want to start that fascinating examination of the borderlines and after having united in a pompous act both of them- a Gastarbeiter (Germ.) and a beautiful ballerina, to come closer to a society where everyone is friendly and doesn’t put stumbling blocks in other people’s way.

What do we think the collaboration with our Dutch colleagues would look like?

It would be divided into two parts:
-to search for people and invite them to do in Amsterdam a similar performance to ours. We would also like to find different situations where the unemployed, alienation and stereotypes are present but probably in a different way and do a comparative analysis.
-to invite a famous Dutch modern dance director Olen’ to direct the ballet.

-to collaborate with Nina Gastevaya (Iguan Dance Theatre)

But if we want to be more realistic, Olen’ will stay there and Nina here.

The objective is to compare the situation there to the one here (alienation, myths, attitude to the ‘know-how’ idea, stereotypes).

The preliminary investigation has shown that when the unemployed are provided with help (regular benefits) their desire to live becomes ?//??? People lose motivation to do anything. It’s impossible to have a hero in a society where the situation looks like that.

FFC In colaboration with Nina Gasteva Iguan dance theatre/Sankt-Peterburg

Inspired by Natalie Pershina | Copyright © 2018