Mandrake Gardens cycle:
This is the third part of a queer trilogy comparing the Belarusian context to LGBTQ+ culture (this time with the Berlin context). The series is based on a two-channel video about two parks: the Hasenheide in Berlin and Peoples’ Friendship Park in Minsk. During the pandemic in the summer of 2020, nightclubs in Berlin were closed and city residents began organizing illegal parties in parks. Particularly conspicuous were the raves of thousands in Hasenheide Park, in its northern part ー a popular gathering place for the queer community. In this part, the dense park is an attraction for cruising and queer orgies. At the same time, there was an election campaign in Belarus – only in six locations in Minsk it was allowed to campaign, the most convenient of which was Peoples’ Friendship Park in Minsk. On July 30, 2020, an official picket of Sviatlana Cihanouskaya was held in the park. Tens of thousands of people came to the rally. Two screens show in parallel two seemingly so different contexts: illegal raves and official pickets; the soft reaction of the Berlin police and the aggression of the Minsk power structures; the sexuality of cruising and the energy of protest; white ribbons with a knot in the trees as a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community and white ribbons on arms as a symbol of the protest movement in Minsk; the myth of the mandrake growing from a male seed and the Belarusian mythology with semiotics of potatoes; etc. The double video thus does not so much compare contexts as it demonstrates an unquenchable thirst for life and the struggle for freedom against the backdrop of urban park landscapes.