Mikhail Bushkov, Zurich
Curator: Łukasz Rusznica
When I lived in Rostov I had the feeling that Rostov would always be with me. That I’d live my whole life in the same house with the same trees in the garden, and that my parents and friends would always be around. But then I left and the feeling disappeared.
I remember well how a friend and I were beaten up in the middle of the night in front of the student dormitories. My friend was somewhat experienced and even did some boxing, but he was knocked to the ground and screamed horribly. Later he said that was part of the plan: if you stay silent, you get beaten up more aggressively. That time I ran away to fetch some help and left my screaming friend behind. I felt ashamed about this for about 10 years, but then I got over it.
I also remember a dog we had — he was called Foma. He was very old, and when he died, in the middle of winter, my father and I wrapped his body in a blanket, carried it to a highway and put into one of the piles of dirty snow lining the roadside. There was some reason why we did this the way we did. But I don’t remember it.
I can tell a lot of stories like these. They’re effective and make an immediate impression, especially on non-Russians. It’s similar to how I tell my Rostov friends stories about Switzerland: about kids that walk to kindergarten by themselves at the age of five, about animals that you can buy at pet shops only in pairs so that they never get bored. My friends look at me, wide-eyed, and can’t believe that these stories are real.
Thing is, my life in Russia and later in Switzerland is quite different from such stories. In Rostov I studied, I worked, I read books, I met people, I thought about things, I did things. I have tons of impressions from that everyday life, and somehow, I hope, they’re present in the pictures I take there.
Now I go back to Rostov only for short visits, and from the very first minute, I know that in two weeks I’ll have to leave again, in two weeks this will be over. With every passing day at my parents’ home, this feeling only gets stronger. I go for a walk to a local supermarket and I know that this is the only time I will see this supermarket during this visit. My walk to the supermarket becomes unique, unrepeatable. I want to remember it, to feel it, to photograph it. Any kind of conversation, any kind of encounter, even the most boring one, suddenly becomes important. Because who knows, it may never happen again.
Mikhail Bushkov (b. 1985 in Rostov-on-Don) graduated from Rostov State University with a degree in applied mathematics. He later studied filmmaking at the Russian Reporter Summer School in Moscow and Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School in Los Angeles. In 2015 he graduated from Marina Razbezhkina and Mikhail Ugarov’s School of Documentary Film and Theatre and enrolled on a long-term photography masterclass taught by Alex Majoli and Daria Birang. He currently lives in Zurich, combining filmmaking and photography with working in IT.
Tytano, ul. Dolnych Młynów 10
25.05.2019, 8 pm