ZvizzchiRU

Zvizzchi is a former Kolkhoz (Soviet collective farm) village along the Ugra River in Kaluga Oblast. The village has no church, but an old lime tree avenue – did that belong to an estate? We have to find out. The village school is attended by around 16 children; there is a club house with a library; and the concrete architecture of the first village shop brings us back to soviet-times. The Kolkhoz is now partly a ruin – some stables are reused, for instance as a studio for Nikolay Polissky’s (a famous land artist) team, because in 2013 he had to leave his church-studio in Nikola Lenivetz, the sculpture park where the festival takes place.

Over the last three decades, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zvizzchi villagers have reinvented their lifestyle, economics and culture. This means that servicing the summerhouse gardens, catering, rebuilding saunas and leading guided tours of the nearby sculpture park Nikola Lenivetz can all be done by people from Zvizzchi; such as former agronomists, architects living in dachas, or a student from Moscow that loves to come to this village. Beside these freelance services, the Zvizzchi people are quite autarkic; producing fresh food for their households and selling the surplus to tourists; making direct sales over a telephone tree or hot meals in a garden restaurant.

The Timeline “MADE IN ZVIZZCHI” (MiZ) is remembered by Wapke Feenstra.

RegionKaluga Region
Local partners
  • Made in Zvizzchi Commitee
  • AMK
PopulationWinter: around 150 people. Summer: ‘dachas-people’ double this number
Common fruit, vegetables, animalsChanterelles, brown dogs on the dirt roads, dill
TraditionPeople meeting in front of the shop, the Archstoyanie Festival
ScentSawing, chopping and burning wood
Distances from Zvizzchi

As remembered by Wapke:

In the context of the upcoming Dutch-Russian Cultural Year the Russian curator Georgy Nikich invites me to Nikola Lenivets, a Land Art Park in Ugra Parc.

My guesthouse is in the neighbouring village called Zvizzchi – 4.5 km away from the art venue – and while I’m living here, I try to understand what’s being produced locally, by asking villagers to share their agricultural skills, crops and produce. Together, we make snapshots of their recycle-design and art and craft productions.

We also decide with a group of around 12 villagers and Olga Gartman (AMK ) to work on an art project together next year. I buy 3 digital cameras so the group can keep a photo diary of what is going on when I’m not there.

In the winter I send a parcel of Myvillages International Village Shop films to Zvizzchi – via Olga – and on a cold day Alina Dzeravianka (AMK)
unpacks it with a group that came to Kartoshkino (the restaurant of Sergey and Natalyia Serova).

RegionKaluga Region
Local partners
  • Made in Zvizzchi Commitee
  • AMK
PopulationWinter: around 150 people. Summer: ‘dachas-people’ double this number
Common fruit, vegetables, animalsChanterelles, brown dogs on the dirt roads, dill
TraditionPeople meeting in front of the shop, the Archstoyanie Festival
ScentSawing, chopping and burning wood
Distances from Zvizzchi