Competitors reconciled on the “cloud”

Sony and Microsoft join forces in cloud gaming

Reading time 4 minutes

Sony and Microsoft have always been fierce rivals in the video game market. In the conversations of gamers you can often hear such a phrase as the “war of consoles”. Each next generation of game consoles has a winner. But recently, companies have begun to cooperate in the field of cloud gaming and artificial intelligence. This news came as a surprise to the whole community.

Kenichiro Yoshida, President and CEO of Sony Corporation (left), along with Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

The companies intend to jointly develop cloud solutions based on Microsoft Azure and look for possible options for using the database platform for Sony streaming and gaming services as part of the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties. In addition, the parties intend to work together on the development of semiconductors and AI, used to create “smart” photomatix and other products.

Thus, Sony became a Microsoft client, acquiring the power of their Azure cloud system for their gaming services. Most likely, Sony wants to improve the quality of the PlayStation Now, which allows you to run PS4 games through the cloud on other devices.

Despite all the excitement around the launch of PlayStation Now, it’s not so convenient to use

Up to this point, Sony did not show much interest in streaming services – users did not expect such a change of course from the Japanese company. It seems that Sony has pushed the xCloud initiative from Microsoft and the announcement of Google Stadia from Google to the decision to develop cloud gaming. Nevertheless, they decided to turn to Microsoft for help, instead of developing a platform from scratch. Most likely, these actions are connected with the desire of Sony not to lose focus on the development and quality of games. On the contrary, Microsoft in the past few years has focused on creating services and package offers, rather than on building up a library of exclusive games.

It seems that this unexpected agreement, contrary to all contradictions, satisfies the interests of both parties. It is possible that we will soon be able to see more from this collaboration, and how xCloud and Sony services will compete with Stadia from Google.

A video game as a piece of art

Can games ever rise in aesthetic and intellectual levels?

Reading time 8 minutes

From the ancient times people strive for expressing themselves via art, inventing more and more tools for this. Literature, fine arts, statuary, architecture, music, photography, cinema – all of these are media created in a result of technological progress and a drive for sharing new ideas.

Video games is a form of creativity as well, however, they are not construed as a real art yet. Although, a couple of examples can make people doubt in this statement.


Speaking of aesthetic qualities and audiovisual sequence of video games, we should look a little closer at Journey by thatgamecompany.

"Захватывающее и медитативное приключение" - так часто описывают Journey
An exciting and meditative adventure is a common description for Journey

Journey tells us a story about a nameless figure in a vast desert, traveling towards a mountain in the distance where he expects to find something that he needs for some reason. The game lacks any kind of speech or dialogue what creates space for  personal interpretation of the story. The game never tells anything directly, but the surrounding world gradually reveals the veil of secrecy around the place and our main character. All of these creates a unique magic atmosphere of journey where adventures await at every turn.

At the same time a meditative and exciting game Journey has conquered the hearts of most people and earned the recognition of critics.


Another example of a video game as an audiovisual piece of art is Cuphead by Studio MDHR Corp.

Even a promo cover sends us to the 1930s

A visual style of Max Fleischer’s animation of the 1930s, hand-drawn characters and backgrounds, and an unpretentious story about a cupheaded boy attach the feeling of an interactive cartoon to this game.

Cuphead is a synthesis of old-school creative techniques and up-to-date technologies. The game has been fully appreciated by players as well as by critics.

Stanley Parable

Not all of the games can boast a vivid and memorable visual image like previous ones. But the main distinctive feature of Stanley Parable game is its story, or, to be more precise, the absence of it.  

На мониторе больше нет указаний, и Стенли отправляется в путь
The main screen of Stanley Parable

This game can be colloquially called a walking simulator. At first sight, the game is pretty obvious: nothing interesting is happening and the character can only wander around and interact with a short amount of objects. Nevertheless, this kind of games can be very surprising when it comes to a unique way of storytelling.

Stanley Parable’s main character is clearly Stanley, an ordinary office worker who does not have anything to do but pushing the buttons on his monitor. However, one day all his colleagues disappear and the flox of commands on his screen stops.

During the course of the game, speechless Stanley is being guided by a storyteller who voices over all character’s moves and gives him hints of what to do next. The player can either listen to the invisible narrator or disobey his suggestions, on which the guide will immediately react. The game encourages the players initiative to make their own decisions, giving them a control over situations and total freedom. To be completely honest, the reality is that every single step is already planned by creators of the game, but it only means the games plays chicken with people pretty well.

This is the Adventure Line at the beginning of the game. Although, you don’t have to follow it

Stanley Parable is hardly a first experiment with an interactive form of narrative, but it is one of the most successful and highly rated ones in this peculiar genre.

Papers, Please

Even the most seemingly boring professions turn inside out in video games. For instance, the Papers, Please game tells the story of a typical border crossing immigration officer.

Even by looking at logo of the game, we can find a lot of common features

The main character is an immigration officer in the fictional dystopian country of Arstotzka. His motivation is pretty simple: the more people he checks the higher his salary is. Every day the government introduces new rules and changes the list of necessary documents for which you have to closely monitor. If you make too many mistakes during checking you will get a fine.

Very soon there is going to be too many documents that it will be impossible not to miss something

Looking through the documents, the player gradually finds out more and more about Arstotzka and the surrounding world. Although, the work at border crossing post is not that easy as it might seem at first. One character forgets his or her documents at home, or has an important operation, but does not have a necessary pass, another might have all required documents, but he is a suspect in following people he wants to kill. These and many other moral dilemmas give Papers, Please a new depth.   

What can be more lame that checking documents the whole day? But this dark, Kafkaian game immerses players into the story and does not let go until the very end.

There should be mentioned much more fascinating projects which go beyond these usual “shooters” and  “puzzles”.  But, as with any work of art, you better play these games once instead of hearing about them a hundred times.


Heroes of popular manga are coming to life

My Hero Academia is going to be a new Hollywood blockbuster

Reading time 3 minutes

Legendary Entertainment announced the production of a live-action film adaptation of the popular manga My Hero Academia. For the first time, this information appeared on informational websites Nerdist and The Hollywood Reporter.

From the side of Legendary Entertainment, the film will be produced by Alex Garcia (Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla (2014), Krampus) and Jay Ashenfelter (Pacific Rim Uprising, Winners TV-series), and from Shueisha, manga’s owner & publisher, side – by Ryosuke Yoritomi. The Toho company will be managing the project’s distribution in Japan. The information about directors, cast, and release dates is not revealed yet.

Фрейм из манги "Моя геройская академия"
A frame from My Hero Academia

Considering the popularity of the original manga and its anime adaptation, this production of an action film based on the same story seems to be a sensible move. Over a couple of years, Hollywood had tried to remake the most popular Japanese mangas and anime-adaptations into real blockbusters, however, these attempts crucially failed. For instance, the most recent film adaptation of Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson turned out to be a complete disaster. This film got a lot of negative reviews and ended up costing the producers around $60 million.

Legendary Entertainment takes a huge risk by deciding to produce a feature film adaptation of My Hero Academia. Although, taking into account the original theme and overall success of superhero films, this risk can be justified.


My Hero Academia is about an alternative world where 80% of population has developed powers, known as quirks, and superheroes are executive fighters against crime. Unfortunately, Izuku Midoriya, the main character, was born without any quirk, but he has a big dream of becoming a professional superhero.

Kohei Horikoshi created the original manga My Hero Academia in 2014. It was published by Sueisha in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Now the series has 17 million copies worldwide, and it became the fourth popular manga in 2017. The anime-adaptation appeared on big screens for the first time in 2016, the third season of which was finished in September 2018. The full-length movie My Hero Academia: Two Heroes premiered earlier in August 2018.  

“We wrote in the police wrote, but that did nothing”

Основатель движения «Альтернатива» — о современном рабстве

Reading time 8 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

Oleg Melnikov, the leader of the "Alternative"
Oleg Melnikov, the leader of the “Alternatives”

In Russia 7 thousand people annually fall into labour or sexual slavery. The movement “Alternative” is, perhaps, the only Russian organization that deals with rescuing people from the hands of fake employers. Its founder, Oleg Melnikov, admits that he once believed slavery an anachronism.

Free plan

The movement “Alternative” emerged in 2012 and exists on donations. Oleg Melnikov has never aimed to free people from slavery — began as a political activist, organized “Antiseliger” All agreed the case: a friend asked Oleg to help a relative in Dagestan. Then it seemed that it would only be one trip. Now “Alternative” — only what Oleg.

“we then Released five people, brought to Moscow a bunch of footage, sent to all journalists, but nobody was interested. Fame we got after galyanovskoe case (the infamous shop “Products” in Sochi, where for several years held in slavery employees), then the media started to take us seriously”.

Simple schema

Usually salvation is on such algorithm: came-saw-was taken. The staff of “Alternatives” trying to keep it quiet. Volunteers are always ready to clashes to go on the safe path sometimes does not work.

“The Police are trying to attract, but according to the existing article of the criminal code “human trafficking” is extremely excited few things, and brought to the prison unit. The article is raw and has not been modified since 2003. It is unclear who should be considered slaves. Police asked: “are You chained?”. Where did they get this idea? Slaves were never chained, they would not be able to work.”

According to Oleg, the police of the CIS looks bad people, with the exception of Belarus. Every loss is an emergency. Once the higher ranks of the Belarusian police have contacted “Alternative”, not relying on their Russian colleagues.

Statistics on missing persons in the territory of the Russian Federation
Statistics on missing persons in the territory of the Russian Federation.


With the rescued men employees of “Alternatives to” contact rare: for a small state too many of them. Usually the victims are willing to accept the help, but there are exceptions.

“it was an amazing case of a girl from Ghana. Came to pick her up, and she doesn’t want to go. Somehow found out that she is afraid of voodoo. She took a tuft of hair, and she decided that she would kill her and family if she leaves. As a result, one of our volunteers bought at the baby store tambourine, knocked at it and said, “voodoo Magic shot”. Funny to us, but for her the real problem.”

“Urgently need a job”

Fall into slavery through recruiters, fake ads on the Internet. Many are looking for ways to make money in a crisis. Take a ticket to Moscow all the money in the hope that they will find jobs and begin to look directly at the station. They are suitable, offer job, for example, in the suburbs, after the name to note. Wake up people then anywhere: in Kaluga, Russia, in Dagestan. Into sexual slavery through lure casting Agency. Mostly girls find in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Greece.

Signs of fake listings

    • Ad type “known to the Agency invites…”.
    • Questionable email address without a website company.
    • Great salary for the type of activity that does not require special skills.

The Concealment of data on place of work, the activity, the amount of salary.


Strangers among friends

“Usually, other people don’t. For example, the story of the shop in Sochi. Communicate with local, they say, “so what, big deal, but there bread is delicious.” There beaten and raped — all confirm that for help addressed too. “We in the police wrote, and that did nothing” — meet the witnesses”.

The authorities do not cooperate with volunteers. Most embassies do not want to intervene, trying to protect themselves, are actually condemning the man to wander. “Alternative” has now filed a criminal case. In their the shelter there lived four freed man from the CIS. The police accused the volunteers in aiding the illegal migrants. Attempts to explain in what have not resulted.

a helping Hand

The most difficult to find volunteers in not the most attractive job. Sometimes the task for those wishing to help are six months later, when many burn out. In a constant state of “Alternatives” from seven to fifteen people. 90% of the cases — a routine that is not paid for, and many victims cannot help. Per day lost more people than is for the year, even with the help of the Foundation “Charity” and the organization “Lisa Alert”.

“After all this time are no longer perceived as tragedy. Messages do not cause emotions. This is not cynicism, it’s just that when I see tears every day, it is not imbued”.

How to help

Very often beggars in the streets — people who are held in slavery.
  1. do Not give money.
  2. Offer food or water.
  3. Ask whether you need help.
  4. having Received the standard answer, ask unusual questions: where they came from, where he worked, what he studied.
  5. Offer to call relatives.
  6. When people start to talk about yourself, offer assistance. Tell me that help will come now.
  7. Call the hotline “Alternatives” on the phone +7 965 345 51 61.

What to watch

Lida Kaloeva: “You are very quickly hooked on the needle of misfortune”

О ноше социального журналиста, спасении всех и вся и доверии к попрошайкам

Reading time 9 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

Lida Kaloeva, student of the faculty of journalism of higher school of Economics, entered top 10 young and promising journalists under the version of Esquire, he worked in “Iodine,” wrote a series of articles for the site “so it goes”. The greatest attention was attracted by report on pseudological funds, which raised money for treatment of sick children throughout Moscow. Lida told them why the work in the field and fight even for the small changes became her choice.

– How did you decide that you want to work in the field of social journalism?

– It was a completely random story. I began to engage in such journalistic activities in the 10th grade, I got the internship. Then do a stupid job, like all journalists – ran the events and wills that they happen. In the 11th grade was a correspondent for the small opposition in the media, then me and sucked. I spoke with protesters in St. Petersburg, and they enlightened me. When he arrived in Moscow, began working as a freelance in “Iodine”, then to “Such cases.” Can’t say that social journalism is my choice, just that you are very quickly hooked on the needle of misery. I was called to work in “the Billboard” correspondent at culture. I did, spoke with the Dutch curator of the Vienna actionist, which is 65, but you listen to it and think: “you are all so good, very interesting, but so well, and where is the tragedy, who need to be saved? I’m ready!”. It’s a terribly scary thought when you realize that in Russia you sometimes forget to live in peace and always ready to fight, something to suffer, sure to be a hero, to sacrifice and further down the list. Russia as a hellish black hole into which everything sucks.

– Are you ready all my life to hear a tragic story with the idea that nothing really change? You write the material, but people will remain in this situation.

– The question of change is moot. Of course, in a global sense is impossible, we’re not talking about the fourth estate. But there are a few things I could change, working in Moscow as a journalist in the regions. When I went to Novgorod oblast, a village, there was the situation that people were evicted from their homes. For this story I didn’t need to talk with the authorities, with the Prosecutor’s office. I talked to the heroes of the material, I had two free hours before departure. I went to him to the Prosecutor. The watch was sitting a woman, I asked how to get to the chief Prosecutor. Go up to it, knock, go in, show the card to the press, get the recorder: “Why did you allow this?”. He was like, “Um, we heard about this situation, did not think she was this heavy.” They are engaged, the house has remained. And it’s cool, although the work was at the micro level.

– For you to significant real action, not the texts?

– Yes, the job of a journalist is to tell stories, convey information and not to save everyone and everything. But sometimes I feel the meaninglessness of their novotneho seat, and you really want to be sure in the field, on a quest and there’s nothing you can do. For redesigned mini-stories are your personal meetings with the heroes of the stories. But no one warned that this journalist is very hard. Before you stands a man and says: “I escaped from the Dagestan brick-works, if someone tried to escape, they broke his legs and gave “Paracetamol”, you need to work at least 13 hours.” And you realize that there is a mini GULAG in modern Russia today. This was the topic where I broke down in that year, are unable to work with it further. The deeper you dig, the more I realize how bad it is, and this almost nothing can be done. But to write the text or to jump into the fight, to carry food to their heroes, I’m more for the second. Is journalism an honest heart. People are less and less willing to work in the fields. It is better to sit at home, writing news, not to go where can be uncomfortable, where you will see scary stuff, wild injustice, to this not all ready.

Overreacting to those stories or go quickly?

To be exposed – an important element of journalism. Everything you know helps not to fade. From this information it becomes easier not, her life is just harder. Sometimes I want to Wake up in the morning and think that everything is well. But is such a small sacrifice – to bear the weight of this knowledge in return that I do a good job, not even speaking about the changes and impact.

– You wrote about the scams that collected money on the streets and in traffic jams ostensibly for sick children. How do you feel about beggars, it is also a Scam? Could there be a situation when the person really is in trouble, and he has no other choice?

– My mother always gives money, so I did. Only after the text in the “Novaya Gazeta” about the starvation mob I am beginning to wonder. I hate begging as a profession. Homeless people, for example, it’s not always drunks and not always their choice. In their case I always have with me on the advice of his beloved Elena Kostyuchenko, a spare hat and scarf. We must admit that the most compassionate stories is deception and fraud. But there are exceptions. Once in the subway I saw a woman who at first hesitated in the corner, then carefully began to speak, half of the question cried out at the next station, she was so embarrassed and ashamed. This is the main sign that a person is in trouble – he’s very ashamed to ask money from others, he’s not used to it, it’s not his way of life. I believed the woman and came to her. She had surgery, but the recovery period was delayed. She spent all the money in the hospital in Moscow, and it is not enough for a ticket home. I asked how much she needed the money. The woman began to count and got 500 roubles from his boot. This detail took me out! I gave her all the money I had, so she was able to get home.

– You said about Elena Kostyuchenko. It is very often for their essays home to a few days along with the characters. So are you ready to experience for writing material?

Is great courage and professionalism. I don’t have the guts. If I do, it won’t do any. Recently, my friend Ivan Chesnokov from “These cases,” lived a few days with the homeless. Very cool journalistic work, not even talking about the text, it is good to explain, but not stylistically brilliant. To me, the human mini-feat that made Vanya, makes the text absolutely breathtaking. On the other hand you spend the night with the characters, but if you don’t put words into sentences, it is also a tragedy.

– what I want to write in the future? Or all the themes come to you as an assignment?

– On “Such matters” I was given only one topic, which urgently needed to be done – closing the education centre for migrant children. The majority of those up myself. And this is a very important skill. Themes around everywhere and somehow spilled to invent them. It is necessary to snatch out of the picture day details, feel look around the world. Recently went from hull on Semyonov and saw the advertisement for the recruitment of consultants and diagnosticians to conduct medical procedures, experience not required. I have broken it, phoned me in the evening, I feel that it will be a blueprint of the new material.

Sensuality as an art object

Эти перформансы возмущали и шокировали, а сегодня стали классикой

Reading time 12 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

The genre of performance art, provocative and sometimes divides society: aesthetes admire, and the townsfolk are outraged and demand to punish the author. Take stock Peter Pavlensky for which the artist repeatedly brought to trial. Not only the performances with political overtones, and artistic experiments in the realm of sexuality and physical contact cause a violent reaction. Where is the line between perverted instincts and high art? Try to find the answer in retrospect, the most controversial performances at the century looms.


Cute MUAR: the “Mirror box”

In the summer of 2016 Cute MUAR, was arrested by the London police during a performance of “Mirror box”. The artist who has made this campaign in several cities, appeared in Trafalgar square and invited passersby to touch her genitals, putting his hands in the mirror box, worn like a skirt. Nice announced that its performance is a continuation of the rally, which was held in Cologne after a series of rapes. Through his speech, the girl drew public attention to the problem of mutual consent during sexual intercourse. She prizvali to respect women and to always remember that only they have the right to decide “when and how is anyone to touch them”, and when it is unacceptable.

Valie Export: “Haptic cinema”

Nearly half a century before the Moire young artist Valie Export took to the streets of Vienna in a cardboard box with a curtain covering her bare chest. Was the audience informed that this box is the cinema hall, the girl’s body, and the common view they will replace the touch. Using his own body as the main instrument, Vali has researched the problem of sexual objectification. In this case, she exploited the audience, engaging them in an unusual game. In 1969, the artist spent new performance, appearing at the session in the cinema in trousers with a hole cut out between his legs. She walked between the rows, occasionally turning to the audience. The audience was confused, because with the manifestation of female sexuality in such an extravagant form of many of them faced for the first time.

Boryana Rossa: “Deconstruction tactile cinema”
Boryana Rossa during the campaign
Boryana Rossa during the campaign “Deconstruction tactile cinema”

Idea Export was continued in the works of actionistic the next era. Boryana Rossa, the Bulgarian artist who beat cancer thanks to the procedure of mastectomy (removal of breast tissue) and created one of the most spectacular performances of physicality. In 2013, Boryana has deconstructed the action of Valie Export. The girl herself put on the box with the curtain and asked everyone to touch her body — only to discover there chest the audience could not.


Judy Chicago: “the Trilogy of birth”
Participant performance by Judy Chicago
the Participants of the performance by Judy Chicago

“Trilogy of birth” (1972) — one of the last performances by Judy Chicago — vaguely resembled a child’s game in a trickle. Some of the girls stood in a dense column and with all the forces “push”, while the other participants of the presentation crawled between her legs, pretending to born children. “Babies” holding hands and singing songs, which became louder and louder, and in the end passed into some frenzied animal scream. Twenty participants of the performance tried to immerse the audience in a condition that a woman experiences in childbirth. Judy often complained that aktivistki almost turning to the topic of motherhood — whether because they lack experience, or because they avoid the problems of gender roles, being in captivity for many a taboo.

Elena Kovylina: a series of performances
Elena Kovylina is waiting for a new opponent during the performance
Elena Kovylina is waiting for a new opponent during the performance, “Box”

In his submissions, Elena Kovylina has repeatedly covered the topic of gender stereotypes. Performance “Do it yourself” (1999) — illustration of obedience, women dependent on the decisions of men. Wearing a noose around his neck, she stood on a stool and offered the representatives of the stronger sex to take it out. The performance “Boxing” (2005) was devoted to the theme of feminine weakness. Elena came out to the ring and waited for the enemy, and then tried to stay on his feet at least a few rounds. About the emotional instability says “Waltz” (2005), during which the dancing girl was literally unconscious, drinking a glass of vodka after each round to which she invited at first intrigued and then frightened men.


Marina Abramovic and olai: a series of performances
Marina Abramovic and Frank Uwe Sasipen ("olai")
Marina Abramovic and Frank Uwe Sasipen (olai)

The story of abramović and Ulay — a vivid example of how relations within the couple becomes part of the performance. Before meeting with German artist Marina Abramovic has tried to explore facets of his own body and mind, but met a loved one, turned to the subject of spiritual merging men and women.

“Relations in space”
Marina and the Wulai perform performance
Marina and olai perform performance “relation in space”

One of their first joint installations of Marina and Ulay was represented in the Venice Biennale in 1976. Naked artists quickly moved around the hall, faced, and then dispersed again, repeating this for several hours. The actionist tried to combine the power of both sexes to produce a third creature, which they dubbed “ThatSelf” (“the entity”).

Performance Marina Abramovic and Ulay
Performance art Marina Abramovic and Ulay “Breath”

“Breath” show that the couple spent in Amsterdam in 1978. Marina and the Wulai connected their mouths with a special device, and breathe the exhalations of each other until the oxygen ran out. The presentation lasted about 15 minutes, after which they both fell to the floor unconscious. In this view, artists have tried to show that the lovers can support each other’s lives, at the same time its taking.

“rest Energy”
Artists freely given to the weight of their bodies during the performance,
the Artists freely give weight to their bodies during the performance, “Energy of rest”

The performance, which took place in Dublin in 1980, Marina and olai dedicated to the limitless confidence between close friends. They stood opposite each other and didn’t look. Abramovich was holding a combat bow, and olai — stretched the string and the arrow that was aimed at the heart of the partner. Under clothing every were devices that recorded the heartbeat and broadcast the sound throughout the room. It lasted about four minutes, but Marina “they have become eternity.”


Rudolf Svartskogen: “3rd action”
Rudolph Schwartzkogler during the
Rudolf Svartskogen during the “3rd action”

Almost all of these performances took place in Vienna in the 60s and were associated with the experiments over the body, trying to control the pain and enter a state of meditation. Rudolf Svartskogen belonged to one of the most radical group of Austrian artists, and together they have invented new methods of ritual violence in performance art. In his submissions, he has broken every imaginable taboo, claiming that gives access to the instincts that are suppressed by society of postwar Europe. During the “3rd action” (1965) he wrapped himself with bandages and made the cuts, watching as the blood flows down onto the piece of metal that was lying near his head. Self-torture for Shvarzneger — an opportunity to prove that the power of the human body can only belong to him.

Marina Abramovic: “Rhythm 0”
Marina Abramovic
Marina Abramovic “Rhythm 0”

Marina Abramovic has created a series of performances called “Rhythm”. In 1974, she for six hours was locked in the gallery with the public. Before them was laid out 72 of the subject, some symbolized choice (honey, rose, fur boa), other violence (chain, knife, belt) and the death (gun, bullet). On one wall hung a ad that all items on the table and the body of the artist are in full possession of the public. At first the people were involved in the “game” with caution, but after a couple of hours it was getting really aggressive. Marina clothing was torn, her body pierced with thorns, covered with bruises and cuts, one of the spectators put the head of the artist to the muzzle of the gun, but it failed to stop. Abramovich explained that wanted to show “how quickly the person can return to the wild cave state if he is to let”.


the Specifically for

Alexander Starusev-Perceive, master of fine arts, lecturer at the HSE
Alexander Starusev-Perceive, master of fine arts, lecturer, HSE

“Performance should not be seen as a way to shock the audience, this phenomenon has become a full form of modern art. And it is known to be prone to provocative. If we see society as a mechanism, a performance in it — the force that may lead him into action, to excite, and, most importantly, to restore the desired balance.”

editor of the
the editor of the “Art” of the website Colta Sergey Guskov

“The emergence and spread of action primarily due to the fact that the art always seeks and finds new, more affordable ways of dialogue with an audience.”


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Blue on white

Гжельские реалии от Алексея Михайловича до наших дней

Reading time 29 minutes

Sorry, this text was translated with Google machine. Mistakes and misunderstandings are possible!

the World famous blue and white porcelains are doing here in Sochi. The astonishing story of the survival of the fishery after its collapse in the 1990s.

Gzhel, Egorievsk highway, Russia
an hour and a Half on the Egorievsk highway from Moscow along the villages and construction markets – and we’re here. More precisely, somewhere in the right location: “Gzhel Bush” is a 27 villages and towns in the Ramenskoye district, which are engaged in this craft for centuries. “Capital”, the Central village of the whole Bush Gzhel and Rechitsa, towns Novokharitonovo and the Insulator, where the main production is concentrated. Smaller, but not less important, the village Turygino and Bahteeva.

Between the extreme points “Gzhel Bush”
the village of Gzhel and the village Kuzyaevo – 11 kilometers.

Even traveling alone, and not in the tour group, it is easy to understand that you are in the right place. After the sign “Gzhel” on the right and left of the highway numerous signs “brand Gzhel”, “true Gzhel”, “authentic Gzhel products”, and even makeshift stalls along the road.

Most of the shops within the Soviet buildings. Private master bring the product to the store, then you get a percentage of sales.


By definition

Gzhel is Russian folk craft ceramics with a distinctive blue-and-white painting. The village of Gzhel is indicated in the first spiritual letter of Ivan Kalita, and the fishing is about the same age – about seven hundred.

In retail stores the products looks better and better, there are products for every taste, even honey – gold, for example. But without exception, the sellers assure that their painting is genuine.


Traditional Gzhel – blue-white. the Current gamma is due to the influence of the Delft blue and the fact that after the great Patriotic war it was decided to restore it blue-white cobalt-painted.

Clay jug. The beginning of the XIX century, the Village Gzhel
crock. The beginning of the XIX century, the Village Gzhel

word Association Game

Before you can understand what is authentic Gzhel, and whether it is at all, try to determine how much plagiarism is historically inherent in our field.

At Gzhel porcelain often find similarities c Chinese and Dutch Delft porcelain. Local artisans call blue-and-white motifs from the middle Kingdom “Chinese”, the same definition is used by them to refer to the Chinese counterfeiting “under Gzhel”, which today make up more competition to the originals.

Blue-and-white motifs used in Chinese porcelain dynasty
Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644-1912). For them characteristic of traditional Chinese image: a dragon, a symbol of good beginning of the Chinese people, landscape motifs, images of pagodas and plot of the story.

Decorative porcelain plate
Decorative porcelain plate “bird of Paradise”. Delft, the Netherlands

The birth and flourishing Delft blue – XVII century. These processes coincided with the rise of Maritime trade in the Netherlands. Dutch master imitated Chinese designs and were decorated with products of local landscapes, biblical scenes, and floral arrangements.


The main production was tiles for walls and furnaces. Delft porcelain were brought to Russia by Peter the great, along with the fashion for all things European and, in particular, Dutch ovens and walls with blue and white tiles in large quantity can be seen in many palaces: the Menshikov in St. Petersburg or the Palace of Peter the great in Tallinn. In the faience factory Grebenshchikova in 1724, began to copy Delft painting. In Europe, on the contrary, its popularity began to steadily decline.


Gzhel porcelain adopted the blue-and-white pattern under the influence of the Dutch, and before that in local painting dominated by green, yellow, brown tones, the very same clay for porcelain in Gzhel found earlier than in Delft. It turns out: Chinese gamma spawned Delft, which in turn arrived in Russia and was born Gzhel in the usual form.


[svt-event title=”seventeenth century” date=”” class=”svt-cd-green” ] Gzhel is the Pharmaceutical order of the Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich [/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”the eighteenth century” date=”” class=”svt-cd-red” ] M. V. Lomonosov writes: “Scarcely has the earth’s most pure and without adulteration where in the world, which chemists call virgin, is between the clays used for porcelain, Gzhel what we have…” Gzhel is recognized as a center of art ceramics [/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1810″ date=”” class=”svt-cd-green” ] IMG_3755Founded the first major porcelain factory of M. S. Kuznetsov in the village of Novo-Kharitonovo[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1830-1840″ date=”” class=”svt-cd-red” ] the heyday of the industrial production. Gzhel is a leading manufacturer of tavern dishes. In specialist circles Russian Gzhel is the name of a Staffordshire – the name of the largest ceramic center of England[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”From the end of 50-ies of the XIX century” date=”” class=”svt-cd-blue” ] the Gradual decline of Handicrafts, they can not compete with factory industry. By the end of the XIX century crafts actually cease to exist[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”20 years of the twentieth century” date=”” class=”svt-cd-yellow” ] IMG_3757Work individual pottery workshops, be a cooperative farm, for example, “Forward, ceramics” (toys made of red clay, painted on enamel)[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1925″ date=”” class=”svt-cd-green” ] IMG_3756Founded the artel of Artistic ceramics (porcelain figurines, utensils, clay toys)[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1944-1945″ date=”” class=”svt-cd-red” ] the Beginning of the revival of Gzhel craft. Come in Gzhel art historian A. B. Saltykov and the painter N. I. Bessarabova[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1970″ date=”” class=”svt-cd-red” ] the Beginning of the heyday of the “Association Gzhel”, the only manufacturing factory of Gzhel products in the USSR[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”1980-1990-ies.” date=”” class=”svt-cd-red” ] IMG_3748the Golden age of Gzhel. The company produces thousands of famous teacups, samovars, sets, Kvasnikov and intricate small plastic[/svt-event]

[svt-event title=”the End of the 1990s” date=”” class=”svt-cd-blue” ] the Decline of primary production, the resale of “Association Gzhel”. Most of the staff go out of production and open their private workshops or small factories – began a period of private production Gzhel[/svt-event]

there is Hardly any earth’s most pure and without adulteration where in the world, which chemists call virgin, is between the clays used for porcelain, Gzhel what we have…
— M. V. Lomonosov


Made in USSR

– All the foreigners bought it as Souvenirs, recalls the Love Kochetkova, in the 1970s and ‘ 80s, the local school teacher. – Many parents of my students were working on the “Association “Gzhel”. They walked us to the production, showing famous Gzhel.

What is Gzhel in the Soviet Union today do not understand someone who has not lived in the era of total deficit. Buy products in Gzhel Gzhel was simply impossible, and ordinary people could only dream about it – the horses were not included in retail sales. But enterprising locals have found a loophole – secretly took out worthless products that was able to hide from destruction. In the era of the iron Standards of the slightest air bubble, just not the enamel – and the product must be broken. So gradually began to gather a collection of gifts of pupils and incidental purchases, which now occupies an entire room in the house. However, a collection of Amateur – compilation logic on the principle of “like/dislike”. Here’s the characters, here is a gift for my husband anniversary. Among the Souvenirs of endless cups-spoons – a true masterpiece of authorship by recognized masters of Tatiana Sergeevna Dunashova and Sergey Alekhin.

I like that the dishes are written, who the author is, the people themselves have perpetuated, – says Lyubov. – Horses are everywhere, literally.
We digging the garden, from a vase found some remnants. Washed part glued from fragments, which have turned out something like a jar. This yellow painted small pieces – so this is an ancient painting!”.


In the Gzhel region, were not only the factories of Gzhel, from local clay made ceramic flower pots, tiles for fireplaces. Today, however, survived only Gzhel porcelain production.

layout of Gzhel production


Association “Gzhel”

the Heyday of Gzhel manufacture in the country occurred in 1980-1990-e

The thing is – frames: one at the head of the “Association “Gzhel” stood Viktor Loginov, an effective Manager and a great specialist. Legend has it that the couple Gorbachev, once examined some farm in the Ramenskoye district, who appeared there Loginov gave a luxurious service. Since then, the Association has regularly appeared benefits and orders, ranks, and private shops.

In the 1990s, new machines were installed, the moulding line, began to revive forgotten in the XIX century majolica until the early 2000s, all this is not liquidated, the new owners of the plant.

Loved the horses and Naina Yeltsin, which contributed to the promotion of products abroad. The Association had its offices throughout Europe.
In one of them, in Germany for a long time and has worked Tatyana Loginova, the widow of the Director General now – the guide on “Association Gzhel”.

From the former glory and greatness is almost nothing left. Summer, on trips to Association comes a rare privately owned, mainly by families. Sometimes tourists bring suburban sanatoriums and health camps.

Go into the factory building via the security entrance hall reminiscent of the Soviet sanatorium or summer camp. A middle-aged man, the father, tries to strike up a conversation, asks: “where is the town of Gzhel? That drove – and did not see!”. Tatiana says that this city on the map no, you can not look, there is the village of Gzhel and “Gzhel Bush”.

Tatyana works in the “Association Gzhel” since 1971 – have you seen him “and in sorrow and in joy”. She was the main artist for seven years worked in Germany – in the representation, organized exhibitions of stone throughout Europe. Now leads tours.

In the factory Museum Tatyana tells a long story, as a dynamically developing production in the Soviet years, was created as a system of Gzhel education: school – College – University – factory. Warm nostalgia – not only for a bygone “Golden era”, but her husband, with whom together built an Empire of Gzhel in Russia and abroad, from the Empire of today is not gone.

Went to watch a production. The first thing that strikes you is the silence, echoing and dreary.

“Previously, everything worked, built-in a big way. Fully scenic shop, all the ovens were working. Was 2500, now 120. Very much production was reduced,” – says Tatiana.

Photograph of people working on the enterprise is extremely difficult: they are almost there.

After the sale of the plant producing three times changed owners.
Saves potential. “He still kept afloat, and it would already have collapsed everything,” says Tatiana. – The repair was long gone, no heating, the water through again, and what happens next is unclear”.

The artists who worked on the Union, went to other industries, the benefit of those formed a lot in the 90s. Many have already died, and the youth on the production comes: “do Not come to us, housing is not built, pay a penny, is paid with a delay of 8-9 months.
The artists nothing at all – they are in free flight. There is an order – they are paid, there is no order – do not pay”. Projects, new models of drawings lately, not created at all.


Gzhel pattern at first glance seems similar –
blue flowers on a white background. But it is not so, what we see in the halls of the Museum “Association Gzhel”, which presents works of art toys, and kitchenware masters of the Soviet time. Each of them turns out to be his own unique style that cannot be confused with another author.

It is almost the same to know than differs from Manet, Monet, only in Sochi:

Наталия Бессарабова

Если узор простой – в основном, цветочный – мазки крупные, ярко-синие, это Наталия Бессарабова. Именно она после Великой Отечественной войны приехала сюда восстанавливать промысел. Ее работы – первые в истории современной гжели.

Людмила Азарова

Если изделия сложные по форме и выполнены в основном темно-синей краской, мелкими мазками, а узор очень тонкий – это работа Людмилы Азаровой. В 1960-е гг. рисунок Азаровой определял весь облик гжели, она повлияла на многих современных мастеров.

Татьяна Дунашова

Если изделие не существует в одиночку – только в группе – и все разрисовано сеточкой, это Татьяна Дунашова.

Юрий Гаранин

Маленькие игрушки-фигурки, расписанные до мельчайших деталей – почерк Юрия Гаранина, специалиста по «малой пластике»

Gzhel patterns is the source of inspiration not only of porcelain, but also for fashion designers.

Star Gzhel

1990s became a watershed

While the horses were at the peak of glory thanks to the rapid take-off “Enterprises,” began the co-operative movement and like mushrooms after a rain began to appear private enterprise. With enterprises began to carry the materials, shapes, left and staff. New private factories were yesterday’s shop in the neighbouring villages and towns. So, the plant “Insulator” (now “Gzhel porcelain factory”), organized a workshop for the production of porcelain tableware, porcelain began to be manufactured in the workshops of the “Galaxy” and the cooperative “Blue Russia”, where in Soviet times was done on cardboard.

Their production of “Star stone” in the renovated buildings of local garages SMU-5 opened Yuri Scripal and Sergey Alekhin. Now the process is managed by their wives, Tatiana Skripel and Galina Alekhina.

They Gzhel fishery all his life. Shakespeare, here and nowhere else to work. Tatiana was born in the nearby village, have worked 12 years on “Association Gzhel” designer. The task was monotonous and not at all creative, you could sit all day and look for that lost cover. “It’s exciting for me to work with people and products,” says Tatyana Sergeevna.

We talk in the kitchen, a small production, this time carefully looking employee and asked: “Tatyana Sergeevna, why are you hiding from us?”. You need to be everywhere at once, the “Star” runs only about thirty people.

“Head everyone should be able to do confirms my idea Galina Konstantinovna. – At any time, people can get sick, not come to work. A production is a flywheel that won’t stop”.

When in the 1990s the neighboring production was in decline, Alyokhin opened a private Studio at home – the husband of Galina, Sergei, was an artist. The house was large, some of the rooms were empty – a bit saved up, bought a slip (soft porcelain mass approx. ed.), glaze, ordered from artists shape, hired girls-painters and began to engage China. So he worked until 2000, I wanted to enlarge the production, decided to join the team “Stars of Gzhel”.

During a conversation Galina nervously looks around today, “put the stove” – launch of the product in the first firing, it is necessary to follow the process. A minute ago Galina ran from one stove to another, dropped the plates and cups in the muddy white solution (as it turned out later – in the frosting), I barely managed to stop her.

“And what you wanted to do? Always wanted to work with porcelain?”, –ask. “I dreamed of becoming an architect, – says Galina Konstantinovna. The question suddenly distracting beyond my “Gzhel” interest. – Dad was a Builder, it was really interesting, I wanted to plan at home. Still this feeling of the lack of fulfilment I was sitting – didn’t work out”.

Gzhel is a big black hole that’s sucking. No one working on the production of a man who would do such a thing is not loved, but dreams often, this place is really buries, people live according to the principle of “where was born there and handy”.

Today, the “Star of stone” two shop No. 1, experimental, “Workshop of Alekhine”, which produces a range of luxury and refined product, and # 2 – “Shop STS” (Scribal Tatiana Sergeevna) with the products accessible to the average buyer. The main feature of the “Star of stone” – thin porcelain. In the production of large quantities of such porcelain is impossible – it would break or when moving or when sending.

In General, work ordinary laws of the market, buyers “distributed enterprise.” Resellers gain product in different industries and sent to Ekaterinburg to Makhachkala from Moscow to Kamchatka to Yakutsk in Russia and abroad. “50% of production orders, – says Tatiana Sergeevna. – We go via the Internet, according to rumors, in stores. Arriving at the store, look at the product and ask where this product. Our products are everywhere, even Putin.

— Our products are everywhere, even in Putin — Tatiana Skripel


the Annual market volume of Gzhel products is just over 200 million rubles, individual farmers, craftsmen add to the income of 40-50 million rubles annually.

The cheapest and high quality Gzhel can be purchased only on site. As long as the product travels from Sochi to Moscow, its cost grows at 700-850 rubles.


Despite the high quality of products, skill of the authors, the production is private, and therefore there is no uniform quality control. Asked whether it is possible to consider this crockery, toys, authentic Gzhel, which all come here?

– This question was relevant initially, – Tatyana Sergeevna. – Clay, glaze, cobalt, all the same, the recipe is the same. Training school masters of Gzhel ceramic technical school (now College GSU). Therefore, to distinguish between Gzhel’, which is released in the “Association Gzhel” and in neighbouring enterprises, it is impossible. But where do underground, in the garage, no quality no. There are Amateurs, they only earn money.

– Gradation clear to spend very difficult – says Tatiana Sivova, Deputy chief of the painter of “Gzhel porcelain factory”. Nobody cracoviae another, every company produces its product with its paintings. We are all different from each other are different, each with its own buyer. Sometimes, I am to explain what is fake and what is not. Yes, it is impossible now to explain it! You will come to the shop and choose what you like. We release products and top grade, and low grade, the extras – but the painting is still manual. It’s still – Gzhel.

Nevertheless, a number of features that distinguish a genuine painting from a fake, there is still:


Ceramics is not only about porcelain. Historically, that modern horses are primarily porcelain, it is the most durable and easy to use. All of the Gzhel clay-Budenovskogo field “baked” and majolica and pollutans (technically it is nedians – a porous crock, at least a high firing temperature, this was done only in Sochi), porcelain, and only in the XIX century began to make porcelain.

Majolica is a product of a colored pottery clay with a thick and porous shard covered with white enamel (color a dull glaze) and painted on the wet surface. In Europe, majolica served decorative purposes, and in the Gzhel produced necessary in the daily life of dishes: plates, dinner sets, mugs, jugs.

Products from pottery have a dense fine-pored crock (usually white), covered with transparent or dull (opaque) glaze. For the manufacture of faience used the same materials as for the production of porcelain (changing only the ratio of components), and similar technology (differences in the mode of firing).

Small production and private workshops today can afford unprecedented in the USSR luxury – in addition to the standard, classic blue and white tableware, to revive color painting and more – to make products not only from China but also from majolica.

Gzhel porcelain factory


three years after the opening of the “Star of stone”, in 2003, was created one more enterprise – “Gzhel porcelain factory”.

Outwardly, the largest and rich in plant looks, but like all others, very unpredictable.

Its CEO became the head of the former shop of the plant “Insulator” Peter Sivov. The formal “Gzhel porcelain factory” is not even created and “restored”: the current Gzhel – last factory Kuznetsov – traces its history to 1818. Gradually the plant became the largest among the local industries.

For her Gzhel – in the truest sense of the word a family affair. Great-grandfather technologist, husband, Director of the plant. She works in a factory as a painter and is fond of majolica is almost forgotten today, the technology of production of ceramics, which revive artisans, local enthusiasts.

In 1929, the production was transferred to “the Moscow insulator factory”, where together with the insulators in Soviet times, managed to secretly produce consumer goods – dishes with simple Gzhel painting.

Today, the plant has the status of a folk art that provides certain benefits if the product is artistic councils at all levels, it does not pay VAT, plus subsidies at 80% certified products but and inconvenience. There are unspoken “limits of decency”: the company can not afford to “fall to Chinese”, says Tatiana – to produce only what the customer wants, small Souvenirs, for example. By the way, the legendary “Association Gzhel” recently deprived of the status of folk crafts.

the Process


manufacturing time from start to warehouse the product take up 100 times.

Studio Gzhel

Young our production is not interested, says Tatiana Skripel (“Star of stone”). They could come, but we do not take them – the old have your period to work out.

But young artists into the factories and do not seek: apparently, came the new era of private masters working with piece goods to order. Artist Dmitry Konovalov, Professor of design in Gzhel Institute and College, came to Gzhel from Kolomna: “I graduated from the University, spent two years in restoration – wanted to restore the temples. Then it was closer to the sculpture, looking where to enter – like in Architecture and sculpture in Moscow, but it was expensive – parents could never have afforded this. Come to Gzhel”.

First Dima was working on itself, has now decided to organize a creative group of students and graduates of our University. The room under the shop, which previously housed a dining room rented from the “Association Gzhel”.

– “Old” we are, however, not immediately accepted, but is already beginning to quietly accept, – says Dmitry while through the deserted corridors we go into the Studio “Studio painting”. Inside is a mini – factory with machine tools, the Soviet party for painters, caricatures on the walls. Feel the atmosphere of low-budget youth Studio at a glance workshop can be taken as the Cabinet club.

“I have done here is the case gpsmodule plant – grinding machine, with which you can do the vase” – proudly shows Dima.

I like it here, there, and in the morning go. Usually at the stage of molding the product is not show, but will show you. Ilya Muromets will be a shield and shield watch. Here is the watch – not completed, “the farm” is called. The girl – Annie, my girl name is Annie, here with her and sculpted.

I barely have time to examine everything that shows the wizard. Notice that the finished products are almost no – solid form, thrown cups, plates, saucers, neraspisannyy raw meals.

In Moscow, Dima likes to travel, says, “the atmosphere is annoying”, though sister and parents live there.

Ideas Dima has a lot of ambition even more. The plan is to do lighting “like Tiffany’s”: “We are about a year here now at the stage of development. Here at Mastowska porcelain factory Studio, Mason – there is a youth who does some creative things. As well, and then there is “old” that traditional products do, and there we are.”

I want a modern twist, in a modern design are certain to do stuff. Here at “Tiffany” lampshades made of colored glass are collected, and the bottom they have metal – I will have to go porcelain.

“Pomegranate” Dima and his crew are preparing for an exhibition of ceramics Gzhel. In this form they are already experimenting – combine traditional porcelain base and add “bones” grenade glass. Dima says our incredulous smiles, caused by the dissonance of Napoleon’s plans and his shirts with Mickey mouse, and explains:

– I want to attract guys who are finishing College and looking for a place where to go on a single plant, on the other – and want to do something of their own. I want to create a…cooperative. There is no “sit, write!”, “and you sit and pee!”, to this was not. We participate in exhibitions and sell our products. Here I am and artist, and technologist, and the guys in front of me. Girls paint my products, we consulted. If I don’t have ideas, they have carried out their orders and earn.

One life cycle is over, Gzhel again passed into private hands. For whom the future: for plants or artisan will know tomorrow. Most importantly – saved lives and craft, known for centuries all over the world.