Long-dormant creative tendencies of the capital are now the epicenter of Russia. Dare Clan will show you places that are significant for the cultural life of the capital to get to know Moscow’s contemporary underground community.
Russia has always seemed to us a distant country, both geographically and culturally. This is the reason why Russia is always represented through the use of banal stereotypes, as we can see in Western movies. In the imagination of many, Russia is still stuck in the Cold War years. But, in reality, Russia has moved on, it has evolved, it has become more European. In particular, in recent years, the new generation, the so-called Generation Z, has made, and continues to make, important changes in various areas of Russian culture. This phenomenon is mainly visible in large cities, such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, which represent the fulcrum of this rebellious youth.
But what’s the difference between Gen Z and previous generations? Russia’s Gen Z’ers are much more brazen and self-confident than previous generations. Today, young Russians aren’t afraid to speak out. And they do it through creativity (whether that’s expressed in fashion, design or underground movements), that is already an integral part of their lives. They never do just one thing. They are kind of multi-tasking: you can be a filmmaker, a dancer, and a musician all at the same time. They’ve grown up in an era when the whole world is hyper connected - thanks to the Internet and the ability to travel much more easily than their parents ever could, they’ve been exposed to the global creative community, and have learnt to tell their own stories through art, fashion, music, design and underground movements. In particular, young Muscovites are more politically active and have more liberal views. Furthermore, they feel more cosmopolitan and European than other young Russians.
Based in Moscow, the Generation Z collective is what truly represents Russia’s open-minded and progressive youth. Through fashion, music, and photography, they have addressed such crucial issues as LGBTQIA+ rights, underground rave movements, and mental health – continually proving that Russia’s upcoming generation stands for something far different than their conservative government dictates. In metropolitan cities like Moscow, diversity is apparent.
The new generation is daring and courageous and sometimes playfully makes fun of the stereotypes of the Russian past. Here some examples of Valeriya Savinova’s pictures from the project “District”. The young photographer shows Chertanovo, a notorious neighborhood of the Capital full of typical Soviet architectural buildings, filled with young, free-spirited guys, creating an impressive contrast.
Generation Z is much more introspective and reflective, and the places they frequent the most are proof of this. In fact, the places where young Muscovites seek shelter from the stress of the city and think about what’s going on with their lives are mainly parks and courtyards, where they can use their laptop, listen to some music or read a good book.
Very common are also kitchen parties in which they can share and create an intimate atmosphere. The photographer Gosha Bergel shows this special insight into Russia’s young generations in some of his works.
Underground independent culture spreads everywhere in Moscow. You may also find young artists in common places such as supermarkets. The independent organization WCBG, White Cube Blockchain Gallery, founded by Denis Semyonov, organizes many exhibitions in apartments, courtyards and so on. A successful exhibition “Obshchestvo potrebleniya” (“Consumer Society”) was held in the Auchan supermarket in Sokolniki (Moscow). More than 70 artists took part in it. During the exhibition, the artists placed their works on the shelves, mimicking the goods sold in supermarkets.
A very “underground” place for young alternative people is PUNK FICTION. Here you can find hip-hop, pop-punk, hardbass, jazz, all kinds of experimental music.
It is an important place for many aspiring music bands. PUNK FICTION has everything a real aspiring underground musician needs: drinks, a skate park and, most importantly, a concert venue. The stage is right on the skate ramp! Many underground groups have performed here as Pasosh and Spasibo.
A great place for young audiences is “Smena 2.0”. This is a new cultural center on “Taganskaya” with three floors and with an exhibition space, bar and retail outlets. It supports and promotes mostly DJs playing grime, “new wave hip-hop” and “hard techno”.
Morgana Simonazzi & Federica Moschitta