—I have everything I need for fulfilment in my state institution. It has its drawbacks, and many colleagues dealing with red tape issues have a really hard time, some of them even quit, so in the end I have no solid team. People cannot live with it for more than two or three years: they leave their positions or even the country.
But my freedom lies in the use of the institutional framework — the spaces, technicians, payroll staff, and financing — for projects of trial-and-error nature. Outside state institutions, I need more emotional and intellectual energy to prove that every cent of investments will pay off and every expense is justified. But in my field hardly anything actually pays off because we are experimenting, and my projects tend to be controversial. I do not do marketing studies to find out how many visitors the show can attract. From this point of view, state institutions are idle and slow: ambition and passion can get you quite far, because no one else really cares. The Garage Museum
is a top institution, but it still has an owner, and the other owner under him, and the personal tastes of all these people inevitably shape the policy. In any private institution, you have to prove your point to the investors and adjust to their priorities. The mayor, on the other hand, does not really care whether I am doing this or that exhibition or not. My interests are miles away from government issues, the money I spend is not taken out of anyone’s own pocket, therefore the state does not want a report for every cent. I have to file a report all right, but the criteria are different.
The only other solution is building a strong economic basis like the one that Ayrat Bagautdinov developed for his Moscow With An Engineer’s Eye guided tours project. He built a very successful enterprise, but there is the flip side to consider as well: he has to spend every ruble to stay afloat and pay the staff, the promo campaigns, and the office rent; there are no funds to elaborate on his content, the development is extensive rather than intensive. Therefore, I believe state institutions provide a better framework: many things work automatically, without draining time away from creative development, even though there is a lot of bureaucracy.