On running an off-space: Conversation with Anatoli Nat Skatchov

Didem Yazıcı: You are engaged with film making for a long time. How did the idea of providing a space for art appear to you?

Anatoli Nat Skatchov: The idea to make film has come to me when I was a child. I lived in Tomsk – the Siberian university city, but I spent my summers in Chernovtsy in the Western Ukraine. A difference between these cities are similar to difference between Siberia and Istanbul.Everything is different — houses, people, languages, smells. I was 11 years old, I sat in park and looked at movement of leaves on trees. I thought very tensely: how is it possible to pass all love surroundings to my friends in Siberia. And suddenly it became clear — cinema. The only thing was still not clear – how to transfer smells. In ten years we removed with my wife Ira in the house in forest. And our house became a place where the community of poets, actors, artists gathered together. And we cooked food and discussed our affairs. It was the beginning of Sarai.

Platform Sarai represents a highly multi-disciplinary attitude, it hosts various forms of exhibitions and events.  What is your experience of engaging the space with different mediums and formats? We talked about how platform sarai becomes different space each time..

From the very beginning we have decided not to put aesthetic or genre frameworks. Presence and readiness for dialogue were the only conditions. It is our house in which doors are seldom closed and enough place for friends and their desires. Space possessing the character, but capable to change if you find the way to communicate with it. Recently, we were a part of festival of the modern dance, three performances with dancers from 5 countries in a current of two hours absolutely changed character and atmosphere of Sarai, and three days later you, with the minimum arrangemens have created new one — opened to today’s Egypt and Diogenes’s Athenes, Kosovo and Frankfurt.

Platform sarai is located in one of the liveliest streets  in Frankfurt, Schweizer str. where cafes, shops and the art school Städelschule are nearby. What is more, its next street is the city landmark Museumsufer, Museum Embankment. Is there any correlation between these institutions and platform sarai, are they aware of having an artist run space as a neighbor?

We did exhibitions with Weltkulturen Museum, we cooperate with Städelschule a lot — the first joint event of art and architects students, which inspired a lot of cooperation projects in the school later.

What makes Platform Sarai unique is the fact that it is a hybrid space. As opposed to the local context of mega art institutions, the simple hybrid being of Platform Sarai  suggests an experimental space. It is a space that is at the same time a kitchen, an arts library and exhibition space that welcomes any form of creative activity. This being the case, I would consider platform sarai as an open space for art.  How would you describe it?

Platform Sarai is the gap, the pause. We don’t need to keep up with the times, we never want that. We just live our life and left place for everything can happens with and in. We are affiliating the possibility in the matters of justice to rely on things that are groundless. We try to make visible and tangible the things which remains inexistent for media and for commerce.

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