2018 Voronezh Center for Contemporary Art (VCSI); Voronezh, Russia

Series of 350 photos (presented via Instagram and as original 35 mm negative film) with 4-channel acoustically mixed audio composition
Duration: 3h 12′ 09″

Coordinated by Tatyana Danilevskaya and Nikolay Alekseev

The history of Suburbia begins in 2014. Realizing that I was not able to create a consistent image of the Moscow region without regular traveling through it, I began to try to fill the gap with the help of Yandex and Google panoramas, Flickr albums and other resources. Passive selection did not bring the desired result, too many blind spots remained. Something new was supposed to be invented.

In May 2014, I created the Suburbia channel on Zello, a popular walkie-talkie application among truck drivers, and began to search for users who moves around the region regularly, giving each one interested in the idea a cheap mechanical camera with some new color film rolls and coordinating the directions and routes for more uniform coverage of the area. Drivers were free to choose when and where to take photographs.

The project could last as long as necessary, but in April 2017 Zello service, which was used actively during protests against the introduction of the Platon electronic toll system for trucks, was blocked in Russia, and that meant my project should stop. In total, 350 out of 1600 frames were selected, as I excluded material with technical problems.

“Following Part 2 of Art. 15.4 of Federal Law No. 149-FZ On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection, telecom operators will restrict access to Zello Inc. services on Russian territory,” Roskomnadzor reported on its webpage.

The images appear regularly on the author’s Instagram page (or can be found via tags #suburbia and #cityscanning).

Original negatives and sound compositions, created from Zello talks and intermediary noises during communication with the drivers, were on view at Vozonezh Center for Contemporary Art

Thanks for Tatyana Danilevskaya, Nikolai Alekseev, Anna Levitskaya, Elena Vaneeva, and all VCSI residents and supporters!