AES+F group, 2001-2003
Cycle of projects
Each of three projects consists from series of photographs and video.
The King of the Forest (Erlkönig, the Ogre) – is a mythological creature of medieval Europe. He kidnaps beautiful children and keeps them in his palace. The subject of that myth was used by many writers, such as J-W. Goethe and Michele Tournier, for instance.
The circle of projects «The King of the Forest» – is series of performances in different countries (Russia, Egypt, USA etc.)
We gave that title to our project thinking about reference with novel of Michele Tournier, which, instead of the line of mane hero, includes a line of mythological creature of ancient Europe. The mass media image of humankind became younger and younger last decade. The teens from Calvin Klein's advertising, models and pop stars, who starts the carriers from the childhood, young heroes of tennis – all the media world in the beginning of new millennium is unusually young and sometimes extremely young.
The project of AES+F group concerns the theme of contemporary children's corporations, modifying by human civilization of 3rd millennium using new, just technological methods. The other aspect of our interest – the body in architecture and nature. But the body with smaller scale and other proportions in most monumental architectural space. There are three projects realized in present time.
The first project of the circle – «Le Roi des Aulnes» (as novel by Michael Tournier) was shot in palace of Catherine the Second in Tsarskoye Selo (St.-Petersburg). It concerns the theme of the corporate identity of professional children from ballet sport and media industry. For the first performance we chose more then hundred pupils of the special ballet and sport schools and some children from model agencies from St.-Petersburg, all of them from 3,5 to 11 years old. We did not ask the children for special poses, but they behaved themselves in front of camera as well as experienced media stars from cover stories.
Also more than five hundred children of same ages (in particular moments) took part in second project – «More Than Paradise» which was shot in Cairo, Egypt, in mosque-castle Mohammed Ali. We had a different task – thinking about the image of Islamic world which shown by media as disturbing and dangerous we asked children to show well known ritual situation such as processions, circling etc. All this images well known from TV but performed by children became just opposite character – we saw alive, beautiful and mysterious rituals of another culture and, more important – another race, race of children.
The third part of the cycle – «King of the Forest: New York» was done in New York in 2003. There were around one hundred kids from Ford Models, who posed on «Military Island» on Times Square – one of the most significant places in United States (or even in the world) in sense of mass media.
Each of three parts consists from series of photographs and video.