Art is as classical as it is contemporary. It has thrived on crises for centuries and now, once again, it is finding new forms and new ways to reach us. As everyone stays home, Russian artists are turning their own homes into a stage, giving us glimpses of their everyday life, bringing comfort and a sense of solidarity, and inspiring our own inner artists.
Concerts in slippers
Pop singer Leonid Agutin was among the first to host a “Concert in Slippers” – an actual hour-long concert streamed from his home. It felt intimate and comforting watching him play familiar tunes against the backdrop of books and disks on his bookshelf. Along with thousands of others sharing this experience at home, we were alone together.
While some viewers crave the intimacy of home performances, others go for the professionally-produced virtual concerts, complete with all the effects and just missing the live audience. Yandex.Efir is quickly taking over this space with almost daily performances by some of the most popular bands: it’s Eurovision nominees Little Big on Sunday, UMA2RMAN on Tuesday.
Streaming platform Okko is not too far behind and features free “Home Season” performances by classical stars, including Denis Matsuev. Is it quite as personal? Maybe not. Is it accessible? Very much so.
Ballet in the kitchen
When’s the last time a ballerina carried a casserole on stage? Seven dancers from the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s most prominent troupes, have been filming spins, lifts and plies in the comfort of their homes in a choreographed ballet set to music by Ludwig Minkus. The three-minute video has garnered some 600,000 views on Facebook.
“Artists remain true to themselves even in the current unusual conditions,” the Mikhailovsky Theatre said. “While they do not have the opportunity to interact with spectators at the theatre, the interior of their homes serves as a stage and creative platform for them.”
Toilet paper masterpieces
With more time on their hands, regular people, too, are finding ways to express their creativity and take it in a new direction. Cue the #изоизоляция (artisolation) challenge on Instagram, a Russian version of #betweenartandquarantine, and a Facebook group under the same name with over 460,000 users. The idea is to recreate famous paintings with whatever’s on hand – from curtains to toilet paper to dried fish. Some participants are shooting for close resemblance with the original works while others take a more creative approach. Some consider it a fun project that challenges their creativity and patience, while others see it as a social mission, hoping their work would make someone smile.
How will this shared human experience change art? Only time will tell, but in the meantime we can enjoy the connection and world-class experiences without an admissions ticket.