2016 -> Archive
Union “OBSERVATION²” (Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev) Observing the news

Terms: mother-machine, spontaneous grassroots alternative, psychodata, contingency

Union “OBSERVATION²” organized 2 interactive excursions “Observing the news”, which started from Belteleradiocompany. The program included the following points: a trip on an unknown route; interactive inclusion of passengers in the process of observation the news machine; discussion on the topic “surveillance or observation”: personal feelings, legal aspects; radio “BT”; tea from a thermos bottle. Union “OBSERVATION²” (Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev) was formed in the joint work on the topic of control in 2015.

Participants’ commentaries:

“On the one hand, we seem to chase an object, a car, an institution and a function (Belarusian television). On the other hand, when we pass by the car and meet the eyes of the driver, another feeling arises that we still pursue a certain person, something personal.” Alisa Oleva, artist, London

“The whole performance plays with the subversive affirmation of the power of people with the camera. So here I was in a position that most of the propaganda TV workers probably justify their actions:”I just do my job, and what it’s all about is not my concern." The viewer for them is the same anonymous abstract shadow as their silhouettes in the car for me. It’s pretty unpleasant to deprive yourself of the privilege of believing that you are something higher than them, to deprive yourself of the comfortable position of a critic who is terrified from the distance by “how the people is being fooled.”
Tatiana Efrussi, artist, historian of architecture, Moscow-Berlin

“Our group experiences of fears, stereotypes and the moment of the Other’s presence for me is the filling of the performance. In this regard, the video documentation directed inside the machine is the right decision on your part.”
Maria Kotlyachkova, curator, Kirkenes

“When the camera got into my hands, a defense reaction has started — anxiety and fear. You begin to feel very uncomfortable from the fact that you intrude the intimate space of strangers, from whom you are used to distance yourself, even there is a feeling of disgust. However, there is also another point, which was realized already after our excursion — the desire to do it again. To repeat the game action, in which your emotions and feelings were not playable, but very real.”
Vasilisa Polyanina-Kalenda, artist, Minsk

“Being in Minsk less than 24 hours, I was new to the local context. I felt that in the space inside the machine, national and social laws were not applicable. They were replaced by new ones. At the exit from Belarus (we crossed the Belarusian-Lithuanian border) we were removed from the shelves of the sleeping car at 20 minutes past midnight. That is exactly 20 minutes after the end of the validity of our transit visa.”I’m not going anywhere," I said in Russian, clearly pronouncing the words, “We spent 3 days at the embassies to get them. It’s better to stay on the train.” “Please take your belongings,” our border guard replied. His fist was in a velvet glove, but in the holster on his belt hung a pistol. and there was a spirit of potential violence in the air. Our deportation increased my anxiety about the filming. I was no longer sure that my coquetry could protect us. I ended up on the battlefield, not realizing that I was in the army, and it’s time to work out a strategy. "
Kitty Brandon-James, Teacher of Art History, Moscow

Instructions for self-guided tours “Observing the news”

Necessary equipment and participants:

• A car with a refueled tank of gasoline.

• The medium or large size video camera, an additional battery (or a power adapter for the cigarette lighter).

• Driver with a valid driver’s license category C.

Optimal time:
Weekday, from 9.00 to 12.00. This is an interval, when groups of journalists / videographers are going to shoot the materials, which will appear in the evening news program.


• Park the car on the odd side of st. Makaenka (Minsk, Belarus), near the building of Belteleradiocompany so that there is a good overview of the exit from the building. Parking on this section of the road is allowed. Possible difficulties — there are no empty spots. Then stop at the emergency stop.

• Watch the parking by the main entrance and wait for the moment when the van with the logo of the TV company will pick up a team of journalists.

• Turn on the camera, point it at the news machine. Start following it on the car.

• Follow the car in the traffic and continue to shoot.

• To intensify the legitimacy of the action, uncover yourself by aligning with the news machine. Continue to film.

• Continue to follow with the camera turned on until arriving to the final destination of the news car.

• At the wish and if possible, you can park the car and continue to monitor the work of journalists.

What’s next:

• Turn on the evening program “Panorama” on channel BT-1 and try to find the story the creation of which you observed.

• Evaluate and compare the news story with what you saw.

• Share your experience, your feelings and thoughts through

Union “OBSERVATION²” ″Observing the news″ Project documentation - Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev  - provided by the authors
Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev
Union “OBSERVATION²” ″Observing the news″ Project documentation - Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev  - provided by the authors
Aleksei Naumchik and Maksim Sarychev