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River and (non)linearity: engineer/erode, obstruct/seep, drain/submerge

walking tour around the Yauza River in Moscow, for creative writing laboratory The Future curated by Oksana Vasyakina, 2022

Drawing from Dilip da Cunha’s conceptualization of a river as a line (da Cunha, 2019), this project invites for a walk along the Yauza River in Moscow, with a critical eye towards the entanglements between water and linearity. It starts in an industrial zone, moves to a city park through thickets, and reaches a housing area, all connected by the river’s flow. By slowly traversing each designated area, the walk discusses and demonstrates how urban development transforms a body of water and how it mediates riverine relations with other bodies, human and nonhuman.

The walk comprises eight encounters with the river. At each stop, participants are invited to respond to a set of questions that guide them towards noticing urban interventions in the water flow: its colour, smell, depth, and other qualities. After a short exchange of experiences, the conversation proceeds with a brief historical description of the place, followed by a theoretical commentary. By bringing together different narratives—personal, historical, and conceptual—the walk seeks to show that one can observe the power of water (Steinberg, 2018) over the city if they is attentive enough.


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