Repatriatsiya: video I
(installation here)

Trees in Siberia fall on the ground. Sometimes, they fall to the rivers and flow adrift, eventually entering into the Arctic Ocean, where they get frozen. The trees in the ice flow further and further, and after six-seven years or longer, they sometimes cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach the shores of Iceland, where local Icelanders highly value the trees from the Ocean, as few trees grow in the island. In the past, such driftwoods were used for the construction of houses, churches and fences, as well as the production of household items and even religious ones.

Today, trees continue to drift from Siberia to Iceland. According to the research by international scholars, including Icelandic and dendrochronologists Olafur Eggertsson and Alexandr Kirdyanov, in the mid 20th century, the number of trees significantly increased in the shores of Iceland because many trees were cut down for industry purposes in Siberia, where many political prisoners of GULAG were sent to labor camps. Many woods were lost during the river transportation, and then some of them reached Iceland many years later. Until the 90’s, for many Icelanders, imported woods were expensive. So, they sometimes strolled for the trees from the ocean, from Siberia. Rekaviðar is the word for “driftwood” in the Icelandic language.

I traveled to Iceland this summer, collecting driftwoods on the seashores. I brought the driftwoods back to Russia. In the exhibition, one of the driftwoods is placed on the table, on which the video footages of the Yenisei river, from which many driftwoods in Iceland came from, is projected. But, the sound of the video is from Iceland. Along with the driftwood and video projection, four pieces of 3-D animations made from 3-d scans of driftwoods, video footages from Yenisei and sound of Iceland are hang on the wall.

The video footages from the Yenisei river were made by a documentary film maker Renato Borrayo-Serrano.