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"In Vladivostok, you are the first - it's like raising virgin soil"

The head of literary projects and art director of the first modern city library "BUK" Olga Aristova on why in Vladivostok the youth have great prospects

Vladivostok is a city by the sea, where all horizons are open, then everyone is free and can turn into life any dreams and ideas. Those who are young, cheerful and bold, it will be great here, Olga Aristova is convinced. A few years ago she decided to develop literary activity in the seaside capital, and she did it. Details - in a new material from the series "Unsuccessful" on EastRussia.

"In Vladivostok, you are the first - it's like raising virgin soil"
Photo: From the archives of Olga Aristova
- Our city is very young, and we have little in comparison with Moscow and St. Petersburg. However, this imaginary drawback can be turned into an advantage and create projects in Vladivostok that have never existed before, become a pioneer, - says Olga. - Project managers and organizers can get a completely unique experience here: to implement an interesting business, spied on by our more advanced neighbors, from scratch and as they see fit. Here, as in the capitals, there is no burdening background to which one must constantly refer. I mean the cultural layer that has developed over the centuries: great writers, military leaders, musicians, historical events that cannot be ignored. Westerners live with a sense of history. We have just started to create our own original culture. And this is also a certain freedom. So that you understand what I mean, I will give you an example: when a loud poetic video project “Pushkin's Grandmother” appeared in Moscow a few years ago, it was good, understandable, relevant for the environment and for the audience. When Alexander Pushkin's Day is held in Vladivostok under the monument to the famous poet, it looks inappropriate and pretentious. Because what does Pushkin have to do with Vladivostok, and Vladivostok with Pushkin? It would be much more appropriate to celebrate the day of David Burliuk or Nikolai Aseev.

About eight years ago, Olga spent the first poetry evening in Vladivostok and felt that she liked it. Now she leads the project team of the All-Russian Literary Portal "Brodsky Cat," who created his own magazine and is involved in five city and regional literary projects.

- It happened because I wanted a serious literary project in my hometown. The path to this dream was difficult, slow, but Vladivostok always gives chances - this is also its charm, - says Olga. - Surely, in St. Petersburg or Moscow there are more opportunities, but there is also high competition, and it is much more difficult to surprise the viewer. If you make a poetry theater in the capital, they will tell you: “Yes, it's cool, but we have had this for a long time. There on Taganka everything is happening. " And in Vladivostok, you are the first, it's like raising virgin soil. Here you need to work with high quality and a lot, and then you simply cannot avoid success. About four years ago, an acquaintance of mine decided to sell comics, and I remember how he had only one small box, inside which was a bundle of magazines and with which he rushed around different markets, and now he is the owner of a whole store. And so in many areas. People start small, the main thing is not to give up. There are a lot of free niches in Vladivostok where you can apply yourself. The main thing is to follow the trends and listen to yourself. There is no point in doing something just because it is fashionable. You can really give your best only in your favorite business.

Several members of the team with whom Olga works came to Vladivostok from Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk. “The guys dreamed of doing something interesting and useful, and here they found like-minded people. Vladivostok has really a lot of cool things for young people, there are people whose activities I want to join, ”explains Olga.

From her experience, Olga can confidently say that the purpose of a project activity is to motivate others to develop. The fact that everyone is looking at each other’s ideas, analyzing already existing foreign projects is perfectly normal. The main thing is that more and more intelligent projects appear in the city.

Olga sets herself the task of popularizing among the townspeople a love for books: that people read more and talk a lot about it. This is a trend that has spread throughout Russia for a long time. In Telegram and Instagram there are literary bloggers with thousands and even millions of subscribers, but in the Far East this is not yet.

- In the framework of the project "Brodsky's Cat" we are holding a show of literary standups - this is a unique project for Russia, and not just for the Far East. To us there are more 150 people for each issue, and I conclude that Vladivostok 3 is a very read city, - says Olga. - Of course, we are not yet collecting stadiums, but it is already a good indicator. I am interested in the fact that we have book journalism, so that in our local media there are columns of book reviews. Now no one reviews reviews. This is strange and I want to fix it. When we start to read more and talk about it more, the city will have a new cultural status, and writers have a sense to come to us. They will understand: here they are expected, their books are interesting to the Far East. Now Vladivostok is absolutely cut off from the literary realities of the country, and we are not in the know about what is happening in the world in the sphere of literature. In our bookstores it is sold only that it has a demand for the opinion of marketers, but this is not all and far from the best that is available today in the book market.

As an event organizer, Olga lacks sites in the city where a large number of people could be placed. There are similar sites in the city, but they all operate mainly on a commercial basis. Local business does not fully understand why to be a partner of a cultural project.

- It would be cool to have the opportunity to collect 400 people in one place and conduct a show "Brodsky's Cat." But while such large sites are closed for us, because we are not ready to put an entrance ticket above 300 rubles and pay a rabid lease. For me it is a matter of principle: cultural projects can be paid, but at the same time should remain accessible to the viewer. Therefore, we hope to earn a credit of trust from big business, to work with large sites on an affiliate basis, Olga thinks. "Supporting cultural projects, the business creates a reputation for itself, makes a face for its establishment, tells the society: we are not just a club / restaurant / bar that makes money, we think about the development of our city, about the residents of Vladivostok having a quality cultural entertainment. I believe that one day the economy and cultural development of the city will allow businessmen to think this way.

According to Olga, the development of Vladivostok began with the advent of the Internet, which allowed the region, which was strongly cut off from the capital, to join the all-Russian literary process, to show the world its capabilities and talents.

- Anyway, the Far Eastern people are subject to provincialism. We feel that we live on the border of the world, where there is nothing. Probably, that's why there are a lot of impudent punitive people here. As for me, there are no guarantees that somewhere better, there is no point in looking for everything ready. It is much more interesting, it is better and more real to create it here, - argues Olga. - Last years there was a sensation, that we all the same not in loneliness. They opened the Far Eastern Federal University, where huge forces are flocking: such major events as the Eastern Economic Forms are taking place (6-7 September 2017 in Vladivostok .- EastRussia), Mediasammit and others. Significant people began to come to us from all over the country and open business here, realize their projects, and the city is growing due to this, it is getting better. 

It's wonderful that we will have branches of the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery. I know that it was planned to build a House of a new culture on the Russian Island, but so far the project has been suspended. It was supposed that it will become a place where artists from different directions will interact, there will be full technical equipment, it will be possible to create animation, film projects. If all this competently works, I think Vladivostok can become a cultural center in Asia. So I see it in the future. In Vladivostok the time of stagnation and silence has long ended. And I want to live and work here, because the city needs it, - Olga concludes.
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