Text by Lisa Strizhova

Dmitry Kawarga. Kawarga-Skete, Gonginichi, Leningrad Region
№35 Exodus 2017

In a world of disintegrating concepts, it is not uncommon to see the creation of structures which cannot be assigned to any clear specific category.. The artist Dmitry Kawarga defines his Kawarga-Skete (‘Kawarga Hermitage’) as a ‘hybrid structure’.. The 21-metre-high tower, which sprouts from an old sawmill that was part of a collective farm, stands on top of a four-metre-high space called a ‘dome’..

The base of the structure has been assembled from scrap metal, as has the top part, whose whimsical forms have been reated using fibre glass and polyether resin.. When you visit the so-called ‘cell’, a track by the composer Kryptogen Rundfunk comes on; together with the special effects produced by the structure’s height, the architecture, and the structure’s location in the backwoods, this should help ‘worshippers’ merge with the absolute..

The hermitage’s design is a kind of synthesis of non linear architecture and Deconstructivism. Important for the latter are both the structure’s deconstructible shape. and its context. The hermitage undoubtedly invades and disrupts the space in which it stands. However, its shape is not a reconstituted one, but a random heaping together. of elements..

Kawarga’s description of his work includes the term ‘biomorphic’.. It is impossible to talk about biomorphism and contemporary organic architecture without mentioning the biological principles whose simulation is important for morphological design — visualization of algebraic fractals, similarity models, self-reproduction of organisms and topology.. The aerobynamic forms ofthe top of the tower are visually similar to what we see in living nature, but as a whole the structure is best described as surrealistic rather than as obeying the logic of non-linear architecture..

In the present context, it seems, ‘bio’ is an addon rather than a root word and the most important principles in the making of this structure were the heuristic aspect,. the unpredictability of the result, and the creation of chaos as fuel for new forms of life..

Towering above its site, the hermitage could be seen as alluding perhaps to the House of Sutyagin or perhaps to northern bathhouses on piles.. Although the structure’s impulse to seize space, an impulse which is inherent in contemporary art, gives it a close resemblance to a watchtower,. as Hito Steyerl has said,’ “To unblock the forces which are a dead weight in the frozen occupation area means rethinking the means of their functional use. and turning them into inefficient, non-instrumental, and non-aggressive instruments of public compulsion.”.
In any case, when the flood of the apocalypse comes at the end of time, the hermitage will serve as a fine refuge, as if this is its. historical purpose. Kawarga-Skete Is a clear example of art responding to globalization. On the one hand, the creation of a land art object in a remote location is a local action which. makes it possible to depart from the secular and make contact with the sacral..

On the other hand, Kawarga’s structure integrates Gonginichi into the global network, bypassing the will of local inhabitants. And this overall urbanizing influence on its setting seems much stronger than its potential aesthetic and spiritual influence.. The structure has links with the discourse of object oriented ontology and posthumanism. Assembled from fragments of civilization and. covered in plastic, it makes absolutely no fit with today’s ecological agenda but is ideal for a critique of art production.. In the text accompanying his series The Toxicosis of Anthropocentricism Dmitry Kawarga writes about people losing their connection with nature: “The germ of reason is ripening in us, suppressing all the instincts, emotions, fears, and feelings that accompany the biological body..

At the same time, we are seeing the loss of many of the concepts which only recently stirred and shook our consciousness — concepts such. as divine essence, spirit, fate, etc. We are fusing into what is for the moment a single biological mass, an integral human substance, a kind. of thinking energy which is alien to everything that lives on this planet.” Kawarga believes that, as a consequence of degradation, people need places like the hermitage where they can return to their roots. The only surprising thing is that a structure so alien to the environment is intended to serve as. a means of restoring connection with it..

In the 30th issue of Project Baltia the architect Alexey Levchuk gave an account of a transhumanist city inhabited by flying posthumans.. These ideas were subsequently developed into a concept of panhumanism: in the future, posthumans will form constantly changing conglomerates which. communicate with one another using telepathy. It is possible that Kawarga-Skete is a harbinger of the onset of posthumanism and that the message trumpeted by the spring of this new world is that people of the future will need nests such as those at Gonginichi...