March 2, 2014

Now that the Sochi Super Sport Show is finally over, everything is getting back to normal. Reality is showing his ugly face more and more, and even the Dutch TV network that keeps dishing up stories on how some of the male top skaters screwed each other over, digging dirt from the past to prove some sordid point, is dominated by the color red. Putin’s iron grip will leave his mark on everyone of us, it is just a matter of time.

Recently I visited ‘Huis Marseille’, a Dutch private museum that is specialized in photography. The show almost closing is called The Golden Years. The Russia of Rob Hornstra. Travelling through Russia with filmmaker/writer Arnoud Nollen for five years (until 2013), Hornstra captivates the other side of Sochi so to speak. This type of slow photography can be really shocking, since there is no intention to show, to shock. Stalin’s picture on wallpapered walls, old folks with leathered skin, hung with their wartime medals.

The story of the teacher in a classroom of an abandoned school in Beslan (North-Ossetia, 2011) who shares sudden private information. Pulling out of a pile of old cloths in the corner, a small item of clothing, an undershirt (in Dutch it is called ‘een hemdje’), still blood-stained, he tells the two men from the Netherlands with the camera that this ‘hemdje’ belonged to his own daughter.

There’s still a week left to visit the show before it closes. The photo is one of many more, and is to be found in one of the beautiful back rooms of the left half of the museum. The small piece of clothing is put on a cute plastic hanger, you know, especially made for kid’s cloths. Underneath the nape of the neck of the hanger is the image of a teddy bear.

Green is the color of the hanger, white is the cloth the little girl once wore, red is the color of blood of the living, brown is the color that blood turns into when dry.