One of the most isolated places we've documented on FFM also has the potential to become one of the most promising: Yakutia. Situated north of Mongolia and roughly 3,000 miles from Moscow, Yakutia is still associated by many people with stereotypical narratives of political exile or other "challenges," almost all of which involve unmanageable distance. Given that rare mix of isolation, fate, and enduring romance, even, the opportunities here for digital enterprise are considerable. Striking sounds begin to emerge from a dramatic address.
Some of those online musical contacts began tentatively a couple of years ago when our chosen musician today - known professionally as Skajite Michilu - put out a call to some faraway, potential colleagues. "Dear friends and passers-by (in fact anybody who can be bothered...), please send me some audio recordings of your voices. It doesn't matter whether you're talking nonsense or not. Let's put together a trashy online music project!"
Since that opening salvo, other more serious dreams of social contact and civic relevance have been expressed. One of the strangest read as follows:
"Not long ago, I had the idea of putting together a local sports team... They'd play games both at home and away. I could get work as the team mascot. I'd wear some kind of special costume and play the role of a talisman, a real crazy guy! I'd travel wherever the team needed to go. Each time I'd be met by a whole stadium [of away fans]. I'd do some whacky tricks and everybody would shout: 'Mas-cot! Mas-cot!' Then when I go home and walk along Lenin Prospekt, carrying the mascot's head in my hands, local folks would wave and nod in my direction!"
Following that initial dream-weaving, Skajite Michilu has spent some time working in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. Other social issues would emerge in those expensive cities, this time born of excessive proximity: "Three of us were living together in a one-bedroom apartment. It was cheaper, of course - and you could even say that, as friends, we were maybe lucky to live so closely for a while. After all, character is something formed against the backdrop of our daily lives. Your character emerges through your actions: what you do, and how you do it. Any kind of falsehood in that [cramped] setting showed itself immediately... The key words became tolerance, patience, and mutual understanding."