The Moscow River Age

Russian pavilion at the Triennale di Milano, 2019

The Moscow River Age explores the human-river relationship and presents a timeline of stories between 1919 and 2119. 

The industrial age is gone, and today we might imagine that soon the Moscow River will be free from pressures of the human civilazation. In order to pay back our debt to nature and the river, we should not only stop exploiting it but make our relationship mutually beneficial. In search of restorative design, we collected ideas of how it can be treated with a respectful attitude in mind. Friendship and love are central to this approach. All our contributors are Friends of the Moscow River.

The projects describe possible future of the river and how we could live together with it. We hope that this polyphonic narrative will give us some clues about how humans can see the river as their equal and how close any river is bind with those who live nearby.


Russian Nature’s Calendar. Made by A. Lobkov based on materials by A. Strizhev, K. Yakovlev, A. Zuev, 1968. 

On November 18, 1919 the Moscow River began to freeze up. It meant the beginning of winter and epitomised the prelude to this long dark season. 

The Russian version of the nature study calendar divides each of the four seasons into smaller periods: four in spring, three in summer, autumn and winter. The dawn of a season, its peak and wane mark weather and natural occurrences which are important for human activities.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Layout: Mikhail Matrenin. Brass, enamel, milling, engraving, d18.2 cm, 2019.


Archpriest Nikolay Sirotkin (1842–1920) in 1906. Portrait by an unknown author.

Nikolay Evgrafovich Sirotkin, the founding father of phenology in Russia, died on May 22, 1920. Phenology is the study of cyclic natural phenomena associated with the movement of the Earth around the Sun.
Sirotkin had been observing nature in a thoroughly organized manner for more than 50 years. No one before or after him left such scrupulous records in relation to flora, fauna, rains and thunderstorms, meteorites or the thickness of ice on the rivers in the Moscow region. The Moscow River, its floods and freeze-up, soil creep and shallowing, fish and birds, amphibia and insects, willows, sedge and bulrush were all of interest to him.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Photoset, camera film, 9.5x6 cm, 2019.


Swimming near Prechistenskaya embankment. Unknown author, 1925. 

During the hot summer days the Moscow River goes considerably low and its river banks turn into beaches. Many people, some of them stark naked, eagerly swim or lie in the sun in the very city centre, right next to Kremlin. One of the beaches was the favourite spot of “Away with the shame”, Soviet radical nudists’ movement and their last refuge when they were subjected to persecution.
However, most inhabitants of Moscow resorted to swimming in the river as a purely hygienic measure: in the mid-1920s public water supply in the capital of the world’s first Workers’ and Peasants’ State was still scarce.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Silver-gelatin print, 12.5x10 cm, 2019.


The front page of Vechernyaya Moskva special edition, April 28, 1926 featured a story on the inundation of the Moscow River and street flooding. 

In the early twentieth century the Moscow River often caused inundation and floods. On April 24, 1926 the water level reached 7.3 metres, while water discharge amounted to 2140 cubic metres per second.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Screen printing on paper, 32x27.5 cm, 2019. We express our gratitude to Maria Raevskaya and the editorial staff of the newspaper «Vechernyaya Moskva» for providing the materials. ©, JSC «Editorial office of the newspaper «Vechernyaya Moskva», 1923.


1. Award badge «To the builder of the Moscow-Volga canal», 1937.

2. Illustrations from the photobook Moscow under reconstruction by A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova

In June 1931 it was decided that the shallow and polluted Moscow River should be connected to the water-abundant Volga, by way of building a 128 km long canal.

The Moscow-Volga canal included more than 240 hydraulic works, including 10 dams, 11 locks, 9 power plants, as well as reservoirs, moorings, ports, factories and sanatoriums.

It took 6 years to dig it. The canal was literally hand constructed: the inmates of the Dmitrovsky labour camp, one of the islands of the GULAG archipelago, were equipped only with shovels and barrows.

By various estimates, 22,860 to 1,500,000 people died building the canal. A few hundred of those who survived, received commemorative badges, and many thousands were executed by shooting.

Authors of the idea: Alexandra Dyachenko and Yegor Shchurov. Award badge: copy, 6x6x3 cm, beginning of the 2000s. Illustrations: digital printing, 25x13 cm, 2019. We express our gratitude to Sergei Gaev and the local historical society «Moscow-Volga» for providing the badge.


Тimofey Ivanovich Raynov (1888–1958), ca. 1910, unknown photographer. 

Odintzoviana 1947 is an essay in natural philosophy written by Timofey Ivanovich Raynov in 1947 which came out only 40 years later, in 1987.
Raynov, the evangelist of cosmism, looks at the organic life as the result of the Earth’s creative efforts. The moral ideal he outlined consists of treating any natural phenomenon — whether a forest, a planet or a river — as a person.
Raynov’s visionary suppositions regarding the detrimental effect which the technological advancement in general and use of atomic energy in particular have on the nature became widely known.
As a matter of fact, Odintzoviana 1947 might be the first Russian scientific work in ecology.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Silver-gelatin print, 18x13 cm, 2019. Photo © S. S. Ilizarov. VIET. 2013. No. 4. P. 97–137


A new Moscow River basin. As a result of the construction of the Moscow-Volga Canal, the Moscow River basin territory became 2.5 times larger.

By 1967 the works of construction were completed and dozens of engineering installations, locks and water reservoirs were built between Volga, the Moscow River and their tributaries.

It meant that the rivers did not belong to themselves anymore. They became a part of complex hydraulic system. Nobody was concerned with the fate and future of this monster which was not any longer a natural creature. The priority was given to politics and the industrial needs.

Only 30 years later it became clear that maintaining the engineering constructions in working condition requires considerable expenses, while what the river ecology needs is a comprehensive development, and getting rid of concrete should be its first step.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Layout: Alexandra Polunina. Metalography, milling, 22 × 20 cm, 2019


Members of NER preparing their exposition for the 1968 Milan Triennale. From left to right, top down: S. Telyatnikov, N. Fedyaeva, S. Sadovskiy, G. Dumenton, I. Lezhava, A. Baburov, V. Skachkov, A. Skokan, I. Belman, V. Yudintsev, 1968. 


The New Element of Settlement (NER) is an urban design project that dates back to 1959. It was conceptualized by a group of the Moscow Institute of Architecture students and further elaborated during their work in the 1960s. NER takes into consideration such factors as size of a city and urban environment, as well as social, cultural, educational and entertainment facilities which NER architects deemed truly necessary for citizens.

The philosophical concept behind New Elements of Settlement emphasized needs of the man and importance of the organic form of architecture.

In 1968 members of the NER group were invited to present their concept at the Triennale di Milano. Their proposal for the city of the future was based on the idea of a channel which stemmed from river channels.

Alexey Gutnov’s personal archive. Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Silver-gelatin print, 21x16 cm, 2019. We express our gratitude to Alexandra Gutnova.


«Gena the Crocodile», animation movie by Roman Kachanov, 1969, Soyuzmultfilm studio. Fragment. 

Very little information regarding the chemical composition of water in the Moscow River was available in the USSR. But even Soviet children were aware that industrial enterprises ruthlessly poured their waste straight into rivers and got away with dreadful contamination, and that swimming and fishing in the Moscow River within the city and downstream from there was out of the question.

Screen 5", timing 0' 19", electronic components. Technical support: Ivan Shpak. ©Soyuzmultfilm.


Village houses that disappeared underneath the Moscow ring road. 

By the early 1970s road construction reached its climax. Most up-to-date materials and engineering solutions were used for building new highways. Using reinforced concrete spans with prestressed reinforcement was one of them.
Roads were often drawn up along the coastlines of rivers and lakes, and so boat piers and nooks where people used to swim withered away, just as the rest of their daily routine did.
New highways ruined and nullified entire forests and villages, and forced people to leave behind places which had been been inhabited for generations. But not a single soul complained or ranted about it: everyone believed that soon the building of communism will be accomplished, and so somebody had to make room for the roads leading to that wonderful future.

Authors of the idea: Sergey Topunov, Boris Kondakov. Artifact production: Pavel Kiselev. Plaster, 12×12×2 cm, 2019.


Interview with the Moscow diggers. 

Dozens of Moscow River tributaries are partially or fully enclosed in underground collectors. It means that hundreds of kilometers of alienated land are officially accessible only to specialized maintenance personnel.
The decline of the USSR and the 1990s saw the rise of the digger movement. Diggers — illegal researchers of the river and the Moscow sewerage system — are the only source of information about the underground rivers of the megalopolis.

Author of the idea and director of the documentary: Ilya Davydov, 2019. HD video, screen 7" timing 19' 21", electronic components. Technical support: Ivan Shpak.


Fragment from a series of diploma projects under common theme «Moscow. Nature’s Revenge». Supervised by Boris Eremin, 1991.

«Moscow. Nature’s Revenge. Reconstruction of the Moscow River valley within the Moscow ring road» was the theme suggested in 1991 for the Moscow Institute of Architecture students’ graduate work by architect Boris Eremin, their supervisor.
Rehabilitation of the river was the main goal for these projects. It meant restoring its natural landscape and relieving its utilitarian burden.

Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Screen printing on paper, 21x22 cm, 2019. We express our gratitude to Elena Borisova for her help in preparing the materials.


«A page from encyclopedia. The guppy species evolution». Based on materials by L. I. Sokolov. 

In August 1993 a group of biologists from the Moscow State University conducted a study of ichthyofauna of the Moscow River within the city. The results confirmed that a large guppy colony inhabited settlers and heated effluents of the Kuryanovo wastewater treatment plant: apparently, some careless aquarists let the exotic fish into the sewage system.

Author of the idea: Olga Konyukova. Artifact production: Ivan Shpak. Screen printing on paper, 24x19 cm, 2019.


Postcard «Khimki water reservoir in the 1970s and the 1990s». 

The plan to increase water supply for Moscow drastically changed the life of quiet villages north of the city. A dam built across Khimka river during the construction of the Moscow-Volga canal resulted in formation of Khimki water reservoir: 800 m wide, nearly 9,000 m long and 17 m deep.
The city swallowed up the villages. A river terminal, boat stations, yacht clubs, baths and camp sites. Rowing competitions, seaplane test flights and naval parades all happened here, and water was the essential part of life, until the water reservoir became a restricted area in the 1990s.

Author of the idea: Yana Alyaskarova, 2019. Artifact production: Alena Shlyakhova. Stereo vario print, 17x12 cm, 2019.


A film «River cleaning workboats».

River cleaning workboats were first launched in Moscow in 1998. The waste fleet included three big motor ships equipped with buckets and baskets that allowed to filter garbage, petrochemicals included. Additionally, a few motor boats were used to skim trash through sweep nets. 
The regular patrol route of garbage collectors is now roughly 67 kilometers in each direction. They harvest an average of about 3,000 cubic metres of garbage, 20,000 cubic metres of silt and 8,000 liters of petrochemicals.

Authors of the idea and the film: Margarita Podgornaya, Arsen Khairov, Vladislav Kulikovskiy and Ildar Ildarkhanov based on records of Mikhail Mikhin, 2019. Technical support: Ivan Shpak. HD video, screen 10", timing 20' 23", electronic components.


Fragment of the presentation «Current state of industrial architecture on the banks of the Moscow River». 

By the beginning of the early 2000s around 150 historical industrial complexes still existed in Moscow. They had previously served as weaving or confectionery factories, mechanical engineering and defense plants, flour manufactures and cotton mills. Only 10 or so carry on what they have been doing. Most of them are demolished, redesigned as business hubs or creative clusters, or shut down in anticipation of a better future. The river’s workshift is over.

Authors of idea: Marina Khrustaleva and Natalya Melikova, 2014. Artifact production: Alena Shlyakhova. Folder for papers, multifor A5, digital printing, 2019.


«Landing stages», a series of photographs in an album. 

At the turn of the 21st century a new entity took a foothold on the Moscow River: landing stages. They are an intergrade: it is not clear whether these are houses that rolled down into the river or ships willing to disembark. They were quickly taken over by shebeens and popular discos. The boom was caused by the legal status of the Moscow River: its waters were under the federal jurisdiction, and it turned out that building anything on the river was cheaper than building on the soil controlled by the Moscow municipality. The ambiguous situation could not last forever. By 2014 the city gained the victory, the landing stages were banished.

Authors of the idea and the artifact: Irina Shmeleva, Konstantin Budarin and Alexandr Zinoviev, 2019. Digital photo printing, photo album, 20x11.5x0.5 cm, 2019.


An illustration to the Moscow Future Ports project. 

In 2014 the Moscow city government announced an international urban design competition for the best vision of the Moscow River’s future development. Russian architecture practice Meganom won the contest, as their Moscow Future Ports project gave everybody a reason to tie up to the Moscow riverfront.
Their design proposal envisaged adding more natural elements to the granite and concrete of the embankment. At the same time, it suggested that more life could be sparked in the city if new public spaces, such squares, outdoor concert halls, gardens, parks and ecological islands were created on the riverfront. All these are referred to as ‘ports’ and are meant to help purify the river and properly embed it into city’s everyday routine.

The Moscow Future Ports concept was proposed by the Meganom + Gillespies consortium, together with Strategy Partners Group, John Thomson & Partners, Systematica, and Cushman & Wakefield in 2014. Author of the artifact: Yury Grigoryan. Digital photo printing, 20x11.5 cm, 2019.


The map and the container used for the performance «A flying insect crossing a river». 

«A flying insect crossing a river» was a performance put up on June 18, 2019 near Nikolina Gora village by «The Consequences of Collective Action» art group. The performers stood on the opposite sides of the river. They threw a caprone thread over the water, and tied to it a helium balloon to which in its turn they tied a transparent container with a fly they found on the spot. The exact species of the fly remained unknown. Pulling the thread from one side to another they sent the container across the river. The container was then opened, and the fly flew away.

Artifacts provided by the author — Sergey Sitar. Plastic container, 12x6.5 cm, paper, ropes, mixed media, 2019.


The Manifesto of the Friends of the Moscow River Society, an informal community created in 2018. 

The river is what the city stems from.
We hardly ponder this fact, but it is thanks to the river that we live in this specific geographical point. Our forefathers used riverways as a reference: if there was a river, there was a town. The river is the pivot around which urban space is built and organized. It is a core which is forever flexible and forever steady-going. The city does not frame the river: the river builds a city around itself.
The river is what life starts from.
There was a time when people fed themselves from its waters and its surroundings. Today the river bring to urbanites other important gifts: it gives them the feeling of joy and freedom, and an opportunity to escape from the city while staying in it.
It is a perfect place for a stroll or for a date. It is a space that allows you to leave urban bustle behind to be by your lonesome. It offers the best city viewpoints while making you feel like you are experiencing nature.
The river is in perpetual motion which reminds us of time: just like the latter, it heals, purifies and takes our sorrows away. We feel good by the riverside and so we become a better version of ourselves.
The river works for us. It transports cargo, supplies water for the industry, carries the industrial waste away from the city. These duties became its primary functions nearly two centuries ago. The river serves the needs of machines and mechanisms rather than those of humans, and first and foremost, the river is now the thoroughfare for the industry.
It turned out that these needs are a reason good enough to build out-of-the-way industrial zones, to discharge toxic substances into the water, or even hide the river underneath the ground. Near Kemerovo there is a river called Bolshaya Promyshlennaya — that is, 'The Big Industrial river'. It would perfectly suit virtually any river in any big city in Russia.
The river that became the cradle of the largest Russian city has its own fate and it own particularities. It not just a wide river used for industrial needs, it is a river that, one could say, belongs to the state. The aim of the latest reconstruction of the Moscow River banks in the late 1930s under Stalin's rule was to make it an ostentatious facade of the capital of the victorious socialist state.
Since then the Moscow River embodies the power of the authorities, and became an integral part of the Kremlin postcard view as well as a domain of intense interest for military and security services. It's regimen is by all means special. This river does not serve the factory machines but political mechanisms.
What is considered state property in Russia de facto often becomes a no man’s land. The Moscow River — even within the city — features both grandiose embankments and abandoned stretches of the riverside where one cannot even approach the water. You'll see here the most beautiful parks and pedestrian zones as well as restricted access facilities predatorily seizing the territory. Places which are always crowded and lively, and places in which you'd be scared to find yourself on your own.
The Moscow River, exposed as it is, seems to be an exclusion zone. Swimming is not allowed, walking in some areas is prohibited. You can find party boats or guided tours, but there are no public ferries taking you from A to B. In some areas the river opens up to the city a tiny bit, but it is mostly hidden from our eyes. Lastly, it is also dirty. We are not even fully aware of the impact all the industrial waste and storm drains have on our health and well-being.
At the same time, many people in Moscow feel like they own the river. Fishermen and rowers. Owners of private yachts and people who live nearby and routinely come for a barbecue on the riverside. Regulars at the beaches in Strogino and Serebryany Bor and people who dance outdoors in the Gorky Park by the river.
You would not say the municipality ignores them, and yet the ways in which the city takes care of the river are mostly nothing but providing conventional 'improvements': adding a new layer of asphalt, replacing the edging, make the riverside even, clean and bleak.
The inhabitants of Moscow, however, are after something entirely different: they would appreciate if the river opened up to the city once again. They want to see it alive and pure. For the river is not there to satisfy the needs of factories or cater to bureaucrats. The river is for the people.
It is high time we claimed the river back!

Text by Yury Saprykin, 2018. Artifact production: Moscow River Friends community. Digital printing, embossing, 32x22 cm, 2019.


Andreevsky port, 2023. A postcard from Edouard Moreau’s personal archive, 2023.

Finally, the Moscow Future Ports came into being. This is where people come for a drink or a date, where they watch films, listen to music or meditate, enjoy boating or swimming in pools with chemical-free water filtered through natural materials. In other words, they interact with the river in a multitude of ways, literally and figuratively. Thanks to the river ports people become much closer to the river, it is no longer an obstacle, it is now their friend and their favourite location.

Author of the idea: Edouard Moreau. Illustration by Olga Tarasova, 2017. Digital printing, mirror, 15x10 cm, 2019.


«Moskva-kva Rekafest»: A flyer with the invitation to the River Days on July 15–30, 2030.

On July 21, 2025 five members of the Friends of the Moscow River Society bypassed a century-old ban to swim in the river and despite the threats from the Federal Protective Service and the Federal National Guard Troops Service did have a swim opposite the Kremlin. All the participants of the unauthorized public action were arrested.
The rest of the Friends of the Moscow River circulated a manifesto of the Society. Its final sentence read as follows: «It is high time we claimed the river back!»
On July 22 hundreds of people came to the Moscow River and swam en masse, asserting their right to do it. The River Day is now celebrated annually on this date.

Illustration by Tatevik Mamyan, 2019. Digital printing, 20x15 cm, 2019.


Seasonal views of ecological islands on the Moscow River. Digital photo frame, a nostalgic present from 2029.
The first ecological island opens to the public. River banks have been planted and new islands created. Soft green river edges add oxygen to the water, clean the flow of particulates and provide safe access to the water edge for the public for recreation and leisure in summer and winter. 

Author of the idea Brian Evans. Images created by the Gillespies for the Moscow Future Ports project, 2014. Technical support: Ivan Shpak. Digital frame 7”, 21x14x0.5 cm.


The passport of the Moscow River, 2030. Courtesy of the Natural Intelligence Institute.
May 14, 2030: the notion of “natural intelligence” (NI) received legal recognition at the St. Petersburg International Legal Forum. The term was elaborated by a group of leading ecologists, biologists, politicians and psychologists as an alternative to the term “artificial intelligence”.
May 31, 2030: the Global Court named after Vernadsky declared that the Moscow River possesses natural intelligence (NI) and issued a passport confirming this fact.

Authors of the artifact: Julia Ardabyevskaya, Alina Kvirkvelia, Artem Staborovsky and Mikhail Khvalebny. UV printing on metal, 20x15 cm, 2019.


Taking a dip in the virtual Moscow River. Experiment conducted by Maria Fedorova. Video fragment. Moscow, 2035.

In the 2030s the river is connected to the Internet via the Water Affection programme. Muscovites can see the river via its virtual simulation and affect its condition.
The integration of the river into the online world is supposed to encourage and facilitate horizontal relationships between the people and the river, and make the former more susceptible to the natural constituents of Moscow.

Author of the idea and the artifact: Maria-Veronika Fedorova, 2019. Technical support: Ivan Shpak. HD video, screen 5", timing 4' 37", electronic components.


Souvenirs from the River Temple shop: hologram crystal and a photo of The River Temple. 

On January 6, 2033 the first Temple of the River opened its doors in the south-east of Moscow in Kapotnya district. Prior to this event, the Friends of the Moscow River Society has been split into fractions for many years, and one of them became its extremist wing.

These devoted environmentalists formed «The River Movement», a neopagan brotherhood. Members of the cult later erected the Temple. Other than being a sacred place, the Temple has a formative and informational purpose: it houses an ecological school and Moscow River Basin Research centre.

Author of the artifacts: Polina Filippova. Photo of the temple 10x10 cm, mixed media; engraved glass 2.5x2.3 cm, 2019.


A cap. Produced by the Friends of the Moscow River Society in support of the rights of the river. From the collection of the Court of Universal Equality.

The Court of Universal Equality acknowledged that humanity committed numerous wrongdoings against the natural intelligence (NI) of the Moscow River.
According to the ruling, the river is entitled to compensation and restitution. The dams and locks are being taken down, artificial water reservoirs are drawn down, water is freed from the underground collectors. The river is becoming its natural self, floods come in spring and droughts cause low water levels in summer.

Artifact production: Anna Kamyshan. Cotton, thermal printing, 26x19 cm, 2019.


The sample of the moss fabric, approx. 2067.
The use of bioactive substances for the purification of water and the banks of the Moscow River in the 2050s led to the appearance of a dense suspension in the river which enveloped objects and swimmers once immersed in water. Once dry, the film transformed into a kind of fabric with a pleasant texture and light aroma of water lilies, river silk sui generis.

Authors of the idea: Anna Andronova, Egor Orlov and Alissa Silantyeva. Artifact production: Anton Churzin, Ivan Shpak. Materials of a natural origin, organic glass, metal bolts and washers, 12x12 cm, 2019.


The radio receiver transmitting the Voice of the Moscow River. This model was introduced in 2070. Courtesy of SAGA group of curators, the Moscow River Radio museum.

A group of enthusiasts, informal members of the Friends of the Moscow River Society organized regular audio broadcasts that can be heard near the source, the mouth and the main course of the Moscow River. And so the latter found voice.
The original idea to transmit it via radio soon got a lot of play. Real musicians started to invite the Voice for collaboration. It ended up headlining the North Sea Jazz festival.
At the same time, doctors and lecturers highlighted the relaxing properties of the Voice, and it became a full-time employee in many of clinics, schools and kindergartens.

Authors of the artifact: of Julia Ardabyevskaya, Alina Kvirkvelia, Artem Staborovsky and Mikhail Khvalebny, music by Mikhail Fedotov. UV printing on metal, electronic components 17x12 cm, 2019.


«Exterminated sturgeon». Artist Alexandra Budaeva, 2073.

By 2076, poachers had completely exterminated — fishing them out by hand one by one — a genetically engineered species of sturgeon, launched into the Moscow River as a marker of its well-being.
This tragedy was reflected in many works of art.

Author of the artifact Alexandra Budaeva. Oil on canvas. 9x12 cm, 2073.


The Pearl Moscow. Postcard. Maria Fedorova, 2075.
Pearl paving. Fragment. From Maria Fedorova’s collection. 2074.

Artificially designed shellfish (API) were originally meant to gather information about the condition of the Moscow River and clear more trash from its waters. Only later it turned out that their metabolic byproduct comes in a shape of river pearls.
Even though the municipal authorities, the members of the Friends of the Moscow River Society and the city residents observe that the river has already become much healthier, API find yet more effluvia and dirt, process it and produce pearls which are then sent to the pearl depository.
Overproduction led to the use of river pearls in paving and construction. Moscow, once the White city, then the Red one, is now known as the Pearl.

Author of the idea and artifacts: Maria-Veronika Fedorova. Postcard: printing on pearl paper, 14.5x9.5 cm, 2019. Paving stones: aluminum, original technique, 10x5x3 cm, 2019.


Renovation project of the Moscow River edge (detail). Architect: Zhanna Dikaya. Building development dated 2078.

The wave of symbiotic design has reached the banks of the Moscow River. In order to improve the state of the edge (the bending between the banks and the bottom of the river), architect Zhanna Dikaya has chosen organic materials: vesicular trychopolis, moss, crystals and bacteria. This membrane-like edge was designed to resemble a living organism, taking into account the diversity of life forms in the river and its physical and chemical features. It is meant to promote biological and ecological diversity on the banks and in the water.

Author of the idea: Zhanna Dikaya. Artifact production: Zhanna Dikaya, Ivan Shpak. Electronic paper 8", 2019.


«Yura» toy. © JSC «Moscow River», 2088.

Moscow now has a superhero! Yura was born into a family of amphibian farmers who grow Moscow River sturgeon, and he is more than another gifted entrepreneur.
Charismatic and witty, he became a true guardian of the river. Yura monitors the psychological state of potential suicides, organizes rehabilitation centers, schools of sensible swimming and rescue courses on the waters.
Other than that, he carries out educational work with offenders, rescues wrecks and other objects that drowned in the river, participates in hydroarchaeological expeditions and is in charge of the laboratory that builds ecological islands and the new river edge.

Author of the idea Rustam Nasriddinov-Bitson. Artifact production: Rustam Nasriddinov-Bitson, Denis Mesheryakov. Photopolymer, 3D printing, 18x18x6 cm, 2019.


Illustration from a children’s geographical encyclopedia, Odyssea Publishers, 2118. From the personal collection of Anna Kamyshan.

Since the late 2040s the ecological agenda plays an increasingly more significant part in the interaction between countries and governments. The UN declares that gaining control over the quality of water and soil, elaboration of new ways to reprocess microplastic and thorough monitoring of its sources are the humanity’s main challenges of the decade.
In 2091 the drainless area of the Caspian Sea was formed. It incorporated basins of several rivers, including the Moscow River, and became an autonomous eco-social region.
In 2115 an international agreement established new eco-political boundaries between all the countries of the world.

Author of the idea and artifact production: Anna Kamyshan. Digital printing, 16x15 cm, 2019.


Kettle, New Corners age, 2093. Discovered in 2280.

The stamp suggests that this kettle with a bended bottom found in the creeks of the Filyovsky Park was made in 2093. The artefact dates back to the New Corners era. Water reservoirs drawdown and snowy winters led to the unprecedented floods on the Moscow River.
Widespread damage included flooded ground floors in most buildings by the river. Many buildings tilted. This caused a massive migration, people quickly colonized the hills free from water. However, some communities of Old Believers stayed in the riverfront and kept on living, working and accomodating to the New Corners.

Authors of the idea: Anna Andronova, Egor Orlov and Alissa Silantyeva. Artifact production: Ivan Shpak, Anna Buali. Aluminium, argon welding, anodizing, 20x17 cm, 2019.


The River Globe, a cultural artefact of moskvostarlings. Author unknown, 2102. From the archive of Citizenstudio.

Moskvostarlings are the nomads who spend their entire life on the Moscow River. The houses, schools, markets, concert venues, cafes and workshops of this “river people” wabble on the water.
Every year, the river gypsies rejoice in celebration during the Music, Water and Fire Day. This is also the occasion when they remember their first generations: unlike today’s moskvostarlings, they were forced to come ashore every now and then. Today it seems inconceivable.

Authors of the idea: Mikhail Beilin and Daniil Nikishin. Artifact production: Mikhail Beilin, Daniil Nikishin, Anton Churzin and Viktor Krylov. Organic glass, original technique, 23.5x23.5 cm, 2019.


Diary of the relationship with the Moscow River, 2102.

Friendship morphed into a love affair: the possibility of starting an eco-sexual relationship with the Moscow River has been officially recognized.
The river’s lovers of both sexes make their notes on the new type of the relationship publicly available. The polyamorous network thrives and ramifies.

Author of the idea and video: Anastasiya Kizilova, 2019. Technical support: Ivan Shpak. Video HD, screen 4", timing 5' 30", electronic components.


Job advert in Moscow, 2119, as seen on the news feed on a spherical display. 

There is now an official position of The One Who Thinks About The River. The main duty of the person in the office is to contemplate the river. It brings us back to the era when observing the nature and following its rhythms was the meaning of life for some people, and an intrinsic red line for other people who were disciplined and guided by it without ever realizing that.

Authors of the idea: Dmitry Laptev, Alexander Popov and Olga Chernova. Artifact production: Anna Buali, Ivan Shpak, Anna Kamyshan, Taisia Osipova, Andrey Mikhalev. Glass, electronic components, mixed media technique, 9,5x9,5 cm, 2019.

- - - - 
LOCATION Russian pavilion, Milan, Italy
CLIENT  Triennale di Milano
CURATOR Paola Antonelli
YEAR 2019
STATUS completed
AWARD III prize, Wax Bee Award
PROGRAM exhibition
CONCEPT AND DESIGN Yury Grigoryan, Anna Kamyshan, Yury Kuznetsov, Taisia Osipova, Sergei Sitar, Elena Uglovskaya
PRODUCTION Anna Bouali, Pavel Kiselev, Ivan Shpak
SUPPORTED BY Dmitry Shvidkovsky, MARCHI (Moscow Architectural Institute), MEGANOM office for architecture
TEXTS Yulia Tarnavskaya
TRANSLATION Lev Kats, Anna Shirokova-Koens
GRAPHIC DESIGN Ivan Stepanenko
CONTRIBUTORS Archimatika,Yana Aliaskarova, Anna Andronova, Julia Ardabyevskaya, Mikhail Beilin, Alexandra Budaeva, Konstantin Budarin, Olga Chernova, CITIZENSTUDIO, Ilya Davydov, Orchestra Design, Zhanna Dikaya, Alexandra Dyachenko, Brian Evans, Maria Fedorova, Mikhail Fedotov, Polina Filippova, Ekaterina Goldberg, HEADS Group, Anna Kamyshan, Arsen Khairov, Marina Khrustaleva, Mikhail Khvalebnov, Anastasiya Kizilova, Boris Kondakov, Olga Konyukova, Vladislav Kulikovskiy, Alina Kvirkvelia, Dmitriy Laptev, Tatevik Mamyan, Natalia Melikova, Edouard Moreau, Rustam Nasriddinov-Bitson, Daniil Nikishin, Alexander Popov, SAGA, Yury Saprykin, Egor Shchurov, Irina Shmeleva, Alisa Silanteva, Sergei Sitar, Artem Staborovskiy, Egor Orlov, Margarita Podgornaya, Sergey Topunov, Elena Uglovskaya, Alexandr Zinoviev
EXPOSITION PHOTOGRAPHS Giovanni Emilio Galanello

MOSCOW RIVER FRIENDS Architects and artists, journalists and archeologists, environmentalists and physicists, actors and businessmen, politicians and local historians, and thousands of other people who care about the past, present and future of Moscow and its main river, are all friends of the Moscow river. In 2018, architects Yury Grigoryan, Anna Kamyshan, Taisia Osipova and geographer Glafira Parinos created an informal society, The Friends of the Moscow River, in the hope that it would help people feel connected to the rivercand responsible for it.