This 780-page art book, that I made in 2014, was available in limited edition print and as an online edition.
Way to Russia Guidance is a non-linear guide to the Russian psyche, culture, and ideas designed as a network. One can read through it page by page or follow the “interest routes” within the book, linking different interesting pieces of content together. The result is a truly polysingular narrative: one that has many distinct threads and storylines that intersect at the most authentic aspects of Russian culture. Revealing the tension between the Crude and the Cosmos as the special force that made the country unique.
In retrospect, this book is like a screenshot of a version of Russia that could have existed if all the destructive and isolationist tendencies did not occur in the years that followed its publication. Interestingly, though, some of the aspects of this book are still very relevant. For instance, I was talking about that special aspect of the Russian character that can be taken very far, but also to very dark places. Perhaps, the dark side prevailed, for a period of time, hopefully, to be followed by something that is more creatively constructive in the future.
Here’s some information on the book’s background:
Russia is a country that’s ridden by tension. Its lifelong specialty is to transform the Crude into Cosmos and the other way round. The raw metal, brute force, and human labor combine with unabridged idealism, utopia, and love for all-encompassing systems.
The country, which used to be largely agrarian in the 19th century was quickly transformed into one of the most industrialized nations. The generation of people who came from the villages brought the first satellite and the first man to space. Mendeleev combined all the knowledge available at his time about chemistry to give the world the unifying table of elements. Biomechanics produced a very efficient system for body training. Tarkovsky created beautiful cinematic fables, which inspired generations of filmmakers. The new practices, such as Systema, are very successful in bridging the gaps between various fields and unifying them in a coherent and meaningful way. Even during the 90s and 2000s, despite economic turmoil, Russia advanced very quickly and could have become one of the most influential centers of culture and technology in the 21st century if it was not for the isolationist approach that occurred starting from 2008 and onwards.
This book tells the story of Russia, the story of constant tension between the Crude and the Cosmos, in the format of nonlinear travel guide, where the reader is invited to wander between ideas, places, and images freely.
For example, if you’re reading about the Russian satellite “Sputnik”, you can go on to read about Kalashnikov (another famous Russian export) or you can follow the link to read about Tarkovsky’s sci-fi Stalker film and then move on to read about the Cosmonautics museum in Moscow and Terletskoye lake at Altay where the parts of the rockets from Baikonur space launch stations fall down into…
Some content is supplied with scannable QR codes and links, which takes the narrative further into the virtual field. This helps readers discover more information about a certain subject, make a reservation at a hotel, or watch a film or a video described in the book.
On a more practical level, this book could be also used as a real travel guide to Russia. It contained all the most important information for planning, organizing, and enjoying a trip to Russia, such as:
– Guide to getting a Russian visa with no hotel ties and free itinerary
– Guide to getting Russian train tickets for cheap (including Trans-Siberian)
– Best hotels in terms of price / quality and off-the-beaten track locations
– Detailed guides to Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major destinations
– Russian language alphabet and phrasebook
– Practical advice (safety, dealing with cops, packing, etc. etc.)
– 780 pages and more than 300 color photos
Published and distributed in collaboration with WayToRussia.Net – a popular information resource about Russia with the annual audience of 1.5 Mln readers, endorsed by The Guardian, BBC, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Greenpeace, and other reputable publications and organizations around the globe.
October 28, 2014
Archive, Book, Discourse, Framework, Media, Medium, System, Type, Urgency, Visual