The Overheard March*
Walking around with a video camera, you inevitably become an onlooker or witness to processes that other people are involved in. Some are planting trees, others are building a new shopping center, and others have become walking sandwiches. You can see all kinds of things going on in the streets!
The flaneur with the video camera stops in surprise and tries to understand, to investigate thoroughly what is going on, trying to allow the aesthetic form of reality to emerge like "The Man with the Camera"**, simply to fix something extraneous "just in case." Not every recording can become a document of its time. It is hard to count on any observation's capacity for symbolization.
Allegories and attributes do not grow wild, but are products of the laboratory. Instead, all one needs is an intimation, a hint, a moment of life, and not all of it "as it is", in order to later use this small, embryonic piece to create an artistic form.
Anyway, not so long ago, while I was out walking with my video camera, I heard the sounds of a marching band. The volitive music of triumph carried over all the way from Suvorov Square. Near the Theater of the Soviet Army, a band was playing a march. So why not? "Rally the ranks into a march!"***, let's go and film a military ceremony: an attractive task. In our time, we constantly experience a deficit of large, organized forms, unified rhythms, and clearly structured festivities.
Hoping to capture images that are easily envisioned to the sound of a march, I hurried to the square. At first glance, the ceremony resembled deeply rooted Soviet traditions in many ways. The path leading up to the building of the Theater of Soviet Army was temporarily flanked by little boys between the ages of 8 to 10 in black uniforms. This parade path culminated in a red carpet and the marching band.
But then again, it was nearly impossible to understand what exactly this parade of cadets was celebrating. The main word of the celebration was "Glory!" In the Russian language, "Glory!" is always attributed to something (i.e. "Glory to Russia!", "Glory to the Communist Party!", etc.) Yet in this case, the object of glorification seemed to be absent, even if there was another inscription that read "The Academy of Excellent Athletic Achievements."
On red, blue, and white balloons, one could also read the word "Glory" along with smaller lettering, again "Academy of Excellent Athletic Achievements." When the balloons were turned by the wind, the blue balloons said "Gazprom", while the white balloons said "Panasonic. Ideas for Life." The red balloons revealed the symbol of the pentathlon.
The resulting image was rather indeterminate and hard to define. Apparently, the main festivities were taking place inside the theater, and only those who had been invited knew what was actually going on. It was for them that everyone was trying so hard: the marching band was playing, balloons had been inflated, and a living corridor of cadets has taken position. But I was set on filming the whole affair anyway...
What I got was the outer, somewhat sad side of this celebration, so characteristic of our time, and images of its participants who weren't very involved, but quite sympathetic. This became a separate event of its own.*This film was shot in May 2005