Foundation pit 2008

“Swallows darted low over the bowed, digging men; their wings grew silent with fatigue, and the sweat of poverty was under their down and feathers. They had been flying since sunup without ceasing to torment themselves to feed their wives and chicks. Once Voshchev picked up a bird that had died instantly in midair and dropped down to the ground. It was soaked with sweat. And when Voshchev plucked it to see its body, a pitiful, meager creature lay in his hands, dead from the exhaustion of its labor. And now Voshchev did not spare himself in breaking up the solidly fused ground; a building would be raised here, in which people would be shielded from misfortunes, and they would throw crumbs out of their windows to the birds living outside.”

Andrei Platonov , The Foundation Pit (1930)

About works

They say Russia is a country with an unpredictable past. But there is always a bright future ahead in Russia. Between them lies the abyss we call the present. My 'abyss' has nothing to do with revolution, war or horrors like the Gulag and Auschwitz. I'm talking about the present day. These zinc containers are neither antiques nor trash, but the practical working tools of modern-day migrant workers. I bartered with the yard sweepers Gulya, Zina and Lyuba to get the tubs and found the buckets on a building site.
I filled them with pictures of Russian life – dilapidated grey walls, dim light, garbage, filth, a squalid existence and the impossibility of escape.

Unchanged since Platonov's description of the way people lived after the Revolution. Their dream was to overcome the 'nostalgia for the old life' and build a new abode for the proletariat, but they dug their way deeper and deeper into the foundation ditch. And it continues to this day. "All the attempts to erect a 'Tower of Babel' lead nowhere, man is still in the depths of the same Babylonian pit" (Diana Machulina).