Andrei Luft

luftBorn in 1980 in Yekaterinburg. Graduated from the Yekaterinburg State Theater Institute (2004) and the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia (2011). Finalist for the FreeLens Award at the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism (Hannover, 2010). Long-listed for the Kandinsky Prize 2010 in the “Project of the Year” nomination. Collaborates with Ogonyok magazine, and other venues. Since 2008 working as a freelance documentary photographer.

Native Belarus

“Native Belarus” is part of a project called “USSR: Until It Is Needed,” which I have been working on across the former Soviet Union. What happens when one epoch replaces another? The impersonal changes of names hide a murky liminal state, and not everyone can cope with it. The goal of my project is to show/reveal those pain­ful points of connection where the Soviet past still collides with present reality. People, though living in different countries, remain Soviet citizens. What is left for those who got lost in the political and historical currents? In front of them is uncertainty and darkness. Their history — the forms of the Soviet past — is a decayed scenery, against the background of which they are trying to find an exit. This feeling of irrelevance and suffocation grows stronger. It encourages distrust of the state, xeno­phobia, pushes people into conflicts not only with others but with themselves. The simplest solution here is to wait in mute passivity for a miracle to come, for an escape from reality. The dream of a bet­ter life remains a dream, fueled by pop culture. The Soviet past is our history. It cannot be torn out of our minds as easily as pages from a schoolbook of history. It stays with us and one way or another influences our social and personal lives. Should we hate it? Be afraid of it? No, we must accept it, and think about our next step without coming to hasty conclusions.

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