Ştefan RUSU

design / installations

Converting Economies or Managing Crisis

Two channel video installation and audio source (not synchronized), mini DV transferred to DVD, 2007
Camera: Ruben Agadjanean, Stefan Rusu
Image editor: Cornel Kiperi
Directed by Stefan Rusu

Channel-I: BASAMAK (moonshine preparation) Channel-II: SUBMARINS (military service on submarines)

In the video the Moldovan mariners speak about their military service, which they completed during soviet era on the nuclear submarines. We also learn from them about distilling process and the devices they used for the production of home made vodka (moonshine) in their homeland from Cuban sugar. Military missions obliged them to stay submersed several months guarding in the Atlantic. The events they described are connected to the global tensions they had been involved around Island of Freedom, which created a worldwide sympathy for Cuba.

During the friendship with Cuban people the Moldovans including the mariner’s families received large amounts of brown sugar from the government, which was shipped from the island as economical aid. Since nobody of those families where not familiar with brown sugar they turn it into moonshine (rom. Basamac).
Brown sugar was the main product imported by USSR from Cuba, which was extensively distributed all over the former soviet Republics before and after Caribbean Crisis. The production for some decades of home made alcohol from brown sugar looks today as a direct response of the Moldovan population on the economical exchange between URSS and Cuban regimes. Disintegration of USSR and collapse of the Eastern block affected the relations with former allies and interrupted the export of sugar.

The installation includes separate audio source (not synchronized) featuring Che Guevara speech at Santa Clara for sugar factory workers from1961.