В поисках Н. // Looking for N.

in collaboration with Alejandro Ramirez



The 6th of October 2011, we met on Gafurov airport near to the ancient city of Khudjand (former Leninabad) in order to find one person. During some weeks we traveled in the northern part of Tajikistan collecting information that hopefully would lead us in our search.

Hodja Nasreddin, aka as Efendi, aka Nasr-Id-Deen, aka Nasr-Eddin, aka Nasirud-Din, aka Nasrudin, Nasirud-Din, aka Nasrettin

We suspect his sense of humor to be the most powerful geopolitical weapon of the 21 century.

Special features:
A donkey and the special ability to come out of any trouble using wit and jokes.

Last know locations:
We suspect that the Hodje migrate looking for work in the north; nevertheless he was seen over the the Sughd region. Several testimonies locate him also in Saint-Petersburg and Siberia. Some people adventure to say he was trafficking donkeys through the border of the US and Mexico (…) others claim to have run into him while walking the wall in Morocco and in “El Dorado” airport in Bogota (…)

By Olga Jitlina and Alejandro Ramirez, Tajikistan (2011).

Translated with the assistance of Rizzordi foundation

Pages from the non-exhisting book “Looking for Nasreddin”

The book is meant to be a collection of jokes about a folk character common to Central Asian, Caucasian and Turkish folklore. We imagine Hodja living in present day former Soviet Central Asian Republics, facing difficulties which are common to pesent day life there. He has to travel Russia to work as a migrant worker. The book illustrates Hodja’s troubles through jokes. The jokes are also meant to explain the current situation in the region and hopefully have an emancipatory potential.

Translated by Victor Jitlin

Translated by Victor Jitlin

Translated with the assistance of Rizzordi foundation

Монтаж на основе “Трех песен о Ленине” Д. Вертова // Editing based on “Three Songs about Lenin” by D. Vertov

in collaboration with Kirill Adibekov

“Kirill Adibekov (Moscow) and Olga Jitlina (St. Petersburg), while their residency in Taboshar, tried to analyze and understand the reasons led to the failure of the Soviet overambitious emancipation and modernization project in Central Asia: “In the late 1920s the large-scale ‘Sovietization’ of the East begun and one of its main goals was the emancipation of women. As part of this project and at the same time an enthusiastic report about it was the film by Dziga Vertov, Three Songs about Lenin (1934). Juxtaposing what we had seen and heard in Tajikistan with Vertov’s editing structures, we try to understand how the Soviet women’s project was settled down in the region, what is left of it two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We want to understand the reasons of its failure and its historical significance.” (Olga Jitlina)

In their film Editing based on “Three Songs about Lenin” by D. Vertov, Kirill and Olga juxtapose scenes of Vertov’s film with the interviews of two young women, residents of Taboshar. Vertov’s constructive editing structure in his 1934 film is as simple as following: “Here is the lake where it was not. Here the trees grow where they did not. […] Here raised the factory where it was not. The University was opened, which was not here before. From old to new, from past to future …” (D. Vertov). As simple as this was the way the new took the place of the old not only in the film but in real life too. And this simplicity is now conversely mirrored in the stories of the young women who talk of the Soviet time, which they know only from the words of their parents, as a kind of paradise: “People didn’t get ill then.” Time in Tajikistan seems to go backwards – from new to old, from future to past: “There is no future here, neither for me nor for my kids.”

Georgy Mamedov

with the support of Bactria foundation as part of Artist-Society residence program