Pryazhka Team

The Pryazhka team conducted their research in the historical center of Saint Petersburg. The object of their study was the Pryazhka river, which flows in the district of Kolomna. The peculiarity of this river is that it combines both urban and natural features. Unlike other rivers that flow in the center of the city, there are no stone retaining walls and parapets; people here fish, feed birds, walk dogs, sit on the grass, swim. However, the idyllic image of the river is hindered by the large number of abandoned and dilapidated buildings located around, which allows local residents to call the Pryazhka as an unsafe and even marginal place. Thus, the Pryazhka team tried to figure out who are the people who come to the river, what do they do here, how do they feel about it, and how do they imagine the future of the river coastline.

Team members:

Natalia Savina — always-going-somewhere-nerd

Alexandra Kokacheva — for-any-drivel-artist

Ekaterina Muravieva — artist

Sergey Morozov — visiting director from Moscow

Ivan Maximov — elusive St. Petersburg carpenter

Dmitriy Letunovskiy — suddenly appeared coordinator

Stages of team work:

  • Googled, looked at pictures and videos with the Pryazhka river, found out that the Russian singer Shnur goes jogging and hangs out with the local "blue knights” here
  • Came up with a lot of questions to torment people
  • Molested people, asked questions, filmed and photographed them
  • Created the Non-Implemented Concept I "More Venus”; drank in the studio of a well-known modern artist; a well-known contemporary artist left our team (it was his own will!)
  • Created the Non-Implemented Concept II "All in the bath-house”
  • Created the Non-Implemented Concept III " Three Circles”
  • Created the Non-Implemented Concept IV " Stockholm Column and Drag-Pallets Amphitheatre”
  • Caught Zen and created Please-Embody Concept V
  • Held GREAT events

Data collection and analysis methods:

  • Walked back and forth alongside the Pryazhka river
  • Looked at who was doing what and how on the Pryazhka; sometimes were genuinely surprised
  • Met people and tormented them with questions about the river; some (whom we called “experts”) we tormented longer
  • Did tons of photos and video pieces

Events:

  • Art intervention "The Spirits of the Kolomna Trees"
  • Performance "Venus is near”, dedicated to the Venus of Kolomna sculpture
  • Historical and informal excursions
  • Lecture-discussion for local activists and artists on how to unite and change their place of residence
  • Introduction and further discussion on the issues of Pryazhka river among the activists of Kolomna; community building

What has been done?

Perhaps the main conclusion that the Pryazhka team managed to make is that transforming the urban environment in the historical center is a difficult task. And the most difficult thing here is to understand in time what do the locals really want. Maybe they are satisfied with the things as they are? The team managed to get to know and communicate with the residents of Kolomna — they are interesting and friendly people. And it is important for them that the Pryazhka remains as it is (minus the trash around it).