Project of Evgeny Molodtsov

In the last century people feel huge difficulties defining the relation to geographical space, what let some experts speak about new kind of "nomadism" and "nomadic identity". Such roaming the world is somehow unnatural, it deprives a man of social connections and stable identification. Often the governments interfere in the regulation of the process, accelerating it and assimilating whole nations. There were many reasons why people were being deprived of their belonging to their home in Russia and the Soviet Union. They had to leave their native city or country. The Civil War, the Great Patriotic War, repressions, widespread Soviet building projects and other crucial points have become the reasons why there is a low level of local/district identification of people in Russia.
In 2013-2016 I have made 4 long travels through the original centre of Vepsian settlements – the Vepsian forest, examining the abandoned villages. Vepsian assimilation (from the beginning of the 20th century – abt. 30000, now – abt. 6000) was came largely because of the forced assimilation policy of minorities in the end of 1930s, government activity in 1950-60s, which was directed to reform the traditional rural settlement system (the liquidation system of the "unpromising" villages), and because of administrative and territory separateness (the abolition of Vepsian national districts in Leningradskaya Oblast and the Republic of Karelia in 1938).
During my journey to the abandoned Vepsian villages, I was literally embedded in space and time, I "reformed" it by projecting archive century-old photographs made in these places on the tumbledown log huts. I reached out to the Vepsian mythology, epos and rituals, was holding myself out as a Vepsian and tried to experience the folk hurt anew, retraced the path Vepsians left the forest. My intervention somehow echoed the government activity, it was repressive towards both me and the place. I was a person without any local belonging, desired to grab another's identity, history, pain of the Vepsians. What for? Such aspiration is impossible. I believe that the association between someone and his motherland or roots is a necessary requirement to self-identification even in the age of the "tourists" community development.

In the rituals of Vepsians water - perhaps the most common symbol, in addition, has a diverse array of values. Water symbolizes both life and death - it is not only the boundary between the worlds, a way into the world of the dead, disease, evil spirits. Turn back the stream - the illusion of time turn.
Vepsian epic "Virantanaz". 35 leafs.
Installation on the place of the ruined house.
Vepsian epic Virantanaz was published in 2012. In contrast to the Karelian-Finnish epic Kalevala, which was a turning point in the history of Finnish culture and the formation of the Finnish identity, Virantanaz - it is rather an attempt to rescue from oblivion, save the tales, songs of vanishing Vepsian people in writing. Doing boats of leaflets with the text of the epic and letting them on the water, I return, materialize, connect the epic with the native Vepsian land.
The village name Noidala translates from Vepsian as "the land of sorcerers", according to legend the village was inhabited by "Noida" - wizards, having close contact with the timber forces. The wizard has a secret magical knowledge and techniques, communicate with the other world. Turning to the past through rituals, I perform the role of the sorcerer - to create the illusion of transformation of time and space, to give me hope to find my territory, and the Vepsian people return to the past.

Invaded the ancestral territory of the Vepsian settlement - Vepsian forest, I set the rules – so my intervention is repressive. This is to some extent a repetition of state intrusion in the life of small people - the oppression of small nations (including Vepsians) in the late 1930s, the Stalinist repression, liquidation of unpromising villages and therefore attempts to mass migration of peoples in 1960-70 -x, respectively.