River and (non)linearity: engineer/erode, obstruct/seep, drain/submerge
walking tour around 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 these landscapes are connected by the river’s flow. By slowly crossing each designated area, the walk discusses and simultaneously illustrates how the development of a city—with a linear vector towards accumulating wealth—transforms the body of a river and how it mediates the river’s relations with other bodies, human and nonhuman.
The walk comprises eight collaborative encounters with the river. At each stop, participants are invited to respond to a set of questions that guide them towards noticing the city’s interventions in the water flow: its colour, smell, depth, etc. After a short exchange of experiences, the walk continues with a brief historical description of the place, followed by a theoretical comment. By bringing together different narratives—personal, historical, and conceptual—it seeks to demonstrate that one can observe the power of water (Steinberg, 2018) over the city if s/he is attentive enough.