Narkomfin — A web documentary by Luciano Spinelli and Natalia Melikova

Natalia Melikova, the mastermind behind The Constructivist Project, is collaborating with Luciano Spinelli and others from Ogino Knauss on a new web documentary about Ginzburg’s Narkomfin building in Moscow. This comes not too long after Isabella Willinger’s excellent documentary Away from All Suns, released late last year.

Their description of the project is reproduced below. For further information on Dom Narkomfin, consider the following:

NARKOMFIN — A web documentary

Project in progress — expected completion spring 2014.

Authors: Luciano Spinelli and Natalia Melikova, with Inna Erosh and Stepa Dobrov.

Summary: NARKOMFIN is a web documentary project that captures the atmosphere of current life in 2013 in this historic constructivist building located in Moscow, Russia. The virtual platform of the project invites the viewer to explore the hallways, knock on doors, and get to know some of the inhabitants. A variety of possibilities for interaction with the space and people of Narkomfin allows for a subjective experience for each visitor. By entering some of the apartments, one will have a chance to listen to the residents tell about who they are, what kind of work they do, how the communal architecture influences their everyday life and why they live in this particular building.

Why: The architectural significance and the various circumstances surrounding the fate of the building are widely discussed. However, few can freely visit Narkomfin because of its limited access, therefore little is known about what it is actually like to live there. After having the opportunity to live there for a couple weeks, we wanted to know more about how people appropriated and interpreted their space inside this famous building. This project takes a closer look at the homes and people hidden behind the ribbon windows.

How: In our project, we applied a photo-ethnographic approach of the space, perceiving the long corridors through the viewfinder and meeting new people with our cameras in hand. Progressing from casual conversations, we then asked each of the participants identical questions. In this way, we were able to acquire general information as well as giving the residents an opportunity to share their opinions. More than just a subject in front of our lens, their participation influenced the development of the project. Those that did not want to partake, did not. Those that did, they opened up their worlds to us, shared their homes, their stories, and their talents.

When: 2013 (majority of material capture in May 2013, additional capture summer 2013).

Content: images, video, stop motion, audio, text.

Languages: English / Russian

Special thanks to the people that opened up their doors to our project and shared with us their stories! Continue reading

A threefold apology

In view of some of the justified anger that has recently been directed toward me for not having deleted a post from a few months back, I think a public apology is in order. The post itself was deeply problematic in some of its insinuations, and moreover contained a number of hateful comments left by trolls directed against an organization to which I formerly belonged and disparaging someone I used to date. Additionally, in my own responses to these awful comments I thereby ended up reprising, stupidly but unwittingly, much of what made them so problematic in the first place.

So I hereby apologize, unconditionally, for the three following reasons: Continue reading