Notes From Russia
The world of Russian public notices is fascinating, bizarre and saturated in tragic-comedy: “An old woman. Left home and has not returned. Small, hunchbacked. Wears: a blue dress, red wool cardigan, a white handkerchief with red flowers on her head, grey slippers on her feet. Does not have memory.”
The authors and readers of these usually handwritten notices are members of Russia’s underclass, made visible by these acts of public address which so often go unread. In this secret economy of exchange and communication, you can swap a voucher for an airplane or help to find a missing earring lost “during the fireworks on the Day of Cosmonauts.” All over Russia, all sorts of surfaces, stationary or mobile, have been papered over with such notices. The folklorist, lexicographer and contributor to the related publications Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia Volumes I and II, Alexei Plutser-Sarno, has been collecting these public notices from all over Russia for many years.
Notes From Russia features the highlights of Plutser-Sarno’s collection, which, combined with his commentaries, tells an alternative story of recent Russian culture. Designed as part of Fuel’s acclaimed Russian series of books, and printed on an unusual mix of white and brown craft paper, Notes From Russia is a moving and vital contribution to the documentation of vernacular graphics.
Do not be surprised if/when more scans of the book start showing up. It’s pretty bloody cool. For now: