Gardening in Kizhi museum is seen as a practice that restores the myth of belonging to the land and owning the land. It looks like a desperate attempt to regain former power over the land and romanticize this relationship.
One of the most exciting observations about the museum was to witness the ways the gardening practices here are framed in language. I met a lady taking care of the museum garden and recorded a talk with her. Even though the looks of the garden patches here and her looks were very reminiscent of typical dacha patches and dacha outfit, the way she was talking clearly conveyed the idea of a museum: even though I tried asking questions about her personal attitude/feelings about the place, she was clearly talking from a position of a ‘museum worker’, speaking on behalf of the institution rather than from her own point of view. ‘Bolshoi Klemenetsy island is an example of typical taiga flora with its highly forested area’, ‘Before Kizhi island was established all the island vegetation was eliminated’ - her language clearly wasn’t the language of a ‘dacha lady’.
One of the first things a visitor is told to avoid straight away is getting of the designed tracks - because of the snakes. Alongside these tracks (wooden boardwalks or gravel paths) the visitors sees garden signs, so the experience of walking in between architecture is accompanied by explications of natural surroundings.
This accompanied walking experience with explications that barely explain anything (they rather name and indicate, point at) is my primary source of inspiration for the format. My project is an attempt to create an exhibition walking experience that would be accompanied by signs pointing only at the inability to frame the relationship with nature, not even the nature itself. Other artwork in this exhibition would be like architecture on Kizhi island, or like flower compositions in a botanical garden.