I think we still have four night on the train. Some kids on their way to serve the army engaged with us. Most drunk, one sober and hungry for knowledge. He stayed a bit longer asking for advice on career paths. He wanted to learn how to organize studies abroad. We all hugged as he left. Socializing on the train reveals the density of our situation. During a gang-chat with the posse, I made a gesture indicating a flat surface. The person I was talking mistook it as a sign of me making fun of their height.
We engaged in a conversation with the train attendant. Each compartment has one, they maintain order, clean corridors and opened cabins on a daily basis, check tickets on stations and keep the samovars warm. They have numerous responsibilities behind the front. She worked hard to keep the posse constrained, coming inside the cabin, sitting close to them, making jokes, touching the lads on shoulders or calmly on their chests keeping them grounded. Perhaps she knew them forehand but at the time it felt like she was an emotional labor specialist, shifting focus, providing attention and keeping the situation just light enough. Once she laughed hysterically and crouched to wipe tears. I payed attention and noticed that while crouched her impression was numb. Her mother works the train too. Interviewing them on tape would be incredible. Today she’s been locked in her cabin. A cellphone alarm was heard at a station and her mother took the responsibility of opening the compartment doors to let us out.
I’ve been writing a travel-log-critique of the Ural Industrial Biennial and negotiating a synth trade trough a Finnish music gear forum (if it goes as planned I’ll be really happy!). We only get online on stations, for two to five minute on stops and a daily 20-30 minute break. Occasionally the train slows down and I pick up an email. Luckily there is a restaurant cart. I’m developing a habit of sitting there in the mornings for coffee and writing. I’ve been reading Yuk Hui in an effort to grasp “techodiversity” and “cosmotechics”, which are referred in the biennial catalogue.
Listening to Soviet Nostalgia In The South Caucasus (2016) SRB podcast with Maxim Edwards made me think of Donald Trump as a weaponized politician for a hybrid war, a spectacle designed to overshadow Putin.
Later in the night, after Ulan-Ude our train hit a person. The cabin attendant informed us he was taken inside the train to be transported to the closest town. Later we were informed the man had died and he was carried out at a stop. I went to the restaurant wagon in hopes of meeting people effected by the event and met Pavel. I believe we chatted about his career as a fire and rescue officer. He drew a map which showed a planet, much like earth and drew himself in the center of it. Then he performed a pantomime, showing himself carrying people to the surface and performing cpr. We smiled, he asked me to share drinks but I was too tired.