4 min

Inspired by Cat Stevens "Peace Train"

Zero, a work by Alina and Jeff Bliumis, belongs to the genre of the so-called poetic video. Usually it's a short work that embodies a certain metaphor. In the Bliumis video, it's a metaphor of a Common Cause: a group of young adults are busy assembling a popular children's toy - a railroad track which goes up in flames at the video's end. From its very start, the piece is suffused with delicate melancholy. As if in a dream, young people are working for the Common Cause that burns down in the end. The impression one gets is that their initial plan was to burn it without a trace. After a whole slew of multifarious revolutions, from the victorious and bloody upheavals (i.e the October revolution) to the countercultural revolution of "Flower children" to the Punk revolution, the common cause evokes a certain nostalgia and keen regret for the unrealized opportunities. This regret, however, should not be merely seen as a flag of capitulation, but also as a way out. The way out lies in acknowledging that the hopes of the Common Cause were exaggerated and unjustified. Ultimately, all things will go up in flames; but it just may be that this transience, at certain moments in history, allows us to act with passionate energy and reckless abandon. The awareness of the inevitable and fatal end enables us to demand of history one more chance, and then yet another one… A chance for generations to come, for whom our Common Cause will necessarily set an example. A melancholia, so peculiar to the modern-day intellectuals, finds one of its perfect manifestations in this video work.

text: Anatoly Osmolovsky
translation: Paul Lembersky