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What is kompost.

This is first of all an independent network art project of "new archeology", in which it is attempted to understand such phenomena as the subculture of the 1980s by the participants of informal movements. The project reconstructs the history of the subcultural formations with their own systems of values, features of the language, dress code and code of conduct. A major chronicle of urban centers of communication of the perestroika period is being created. Aspects of the phenomenon of collective memory are being mentioned.

The history of the subcultural movements over the past 25 years has overgrown with speculations and myths created by the media, cinema and urban folklore. The urban subculture of Perestroika at the moment is described primarily in terms of rock journalism, a few art critics of the 1990s and 2000s and free writers who combined self-sufficient and diverse underground formations into a single mass of "non-formals" and fans of  “Russian rock." The authors of these publications have highlighted above all the individual figures that fitted in the new order of the post-Soviet society, and significantly reduced the narration to a few events. As a result of a vague description out of the story fell out the communication features of underground environments - the streets, squatters and music lovers, imbued to almost all levels of the perestroika society. The communicative history of the "street tribes" is what we are trying to recreate at the moment in the context of that period.

The current situation is amazing by the fact that some subcultures are in the focus of media attention (dudes, beatniks, hippies, new wavers, Leningrad, Rostov, Novosiberian, Sverdlov comrades), while others do not seem to exist at all. From the written chronicles completely fell out the history of Moscow punks, rockabillies, metallheads, bikers, Luberas,” irons”, breakers and Street Fighters. Which were the basis of the subcultural movements of the capital city’s streets, where the confrontation between officialdom and the underground has reached its climax, it took place not in the political circles, but artistic and music lover circles...

The need to create an archive of subcultures was realized by the participants of the underground movements themselves, currently residing in the status of "underground of the underground", due to the  fact that the established in the last years mythology began to grow with layers of distortion and paraphrases. In recent history, except for the abstract "informals" and partial hippie "system" of the 70s’ the  fact of that the existence of another cultural formation with the length of a few decades is simply not mentioned, and this situation does not seem to be  funny, but is simply not acceptable. To put together different memories of those directly involved, without losing the stylistic gradations, language features of the streets and multi-layers of this phenomenon is really difficult. It is difficult even on the level of emphasizes and vectors for understanding ... but we must try, only because there is not anybody to do it.

Misha Buster, project curator


The process of accumulation of the archive started on the eve of year 2006 with an exhibition project "The Last Romantics of the Soviet Union", then has grown like a snowball with new discoveries and deepened in many ways. As it is typical for social anthropology with a vague methodology, the completion of the archive is moving slowly and layer by layer, revealing our own errors, simultaneously securing the framework of the "floors" and "directions", as reflected in the structure of the site. Therefore, some information sections of the site are not yet filled, but are marked as work plans for the future. Without claiming to be the ultimate truth, these sections are made up of more than forty interviews that are included in the narrative portion of the project. Currently there are plans for the publication of three sections for the archive relating  urban street culture, alternative fashion and a communication art-floor. The project is open for cooperation with publishing, curatorial, gallery and museum institutions who share the view of the project participants.

The second most important aspect of the project are photographs. Not as an artistic vision of the photographers, but as straight documentary evidence, made ​​by the participants of the events, that reflects the true atmosphere of the period. The basis of the photographic archive consists of more than 20 ‘soon to retire albums’ and the photo diaries of marginal figures, who clearly recorded events and personalities of the underground of the Perestroika. From these shots of "street tribes" of Moscow and Leningrad are formed exhibitions and publications that already made some noise, and cheered up the environment.

The second section of the archive consists of photos of professional photographers, now famous, close to communication and masters of transmitting the informal atmosphere and texture of the Perestroika period. It includes works of Alexander Slyusarev, Vladimir Vyatkin, Sergey Borisov, Igor Mukhin, Victoria Ivleva, Alexander Tyagny-Ryadno, Andrey Bezukladnikov, Mikhail Korolyov, Natalia Vasilyeva, Yuri Kozyrev, Pavel Antonov, Mikhail Grushin, Gleb Kosorukov, Eugenia Volkova and Yaroslav Mayev. And some foreign photographers that are collected in private archives of the project participants and received from the masters of domestic photography. The project is also open for cooperation and for photography lovers. Photos are taken directly from the owners and authors, with a clear indication of the year, place and who or what is shown in the photo.

In addition to photographs, the archive collects other artifacts - publications, posters, flyers, merchandise, and documents reflecting the official reaction of the society to the subculture.

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