For this project, Bieke Depoorter spent three periods of one month following the route of the TransSiberian Express stopping at the forgotten villages along the way. Once she reached a village, she would ask residents if she could stay with them, moving from living room to living room each night.
She had some Russian words scribbled on a little piece of paper that allowed her to be welcomed and absorbed in the warm chaos of a family. Accidental encounters led her to the places where she could sleep. The living room, the epicentre of their life, established an intimate contact between her and the Russian inhabitants. For a brief moment, she experienced a transient, but very powerful, shared moment.
“For three periods of one month, I have let the Trans-Siberian train guide me alongside forgotten villages, from living roomto living room. Some Russian words, scribbled on a little piece of paper, allowed me to be welcomed and absorbed in the warm chaos of a family. Accidental encounters led me to the places where I could sleep. The living room, the epicenter of their life, establishes an intimate contact between the Russian inhabitants. For a brief moment, I was part of this. Their couch became my bed for one night.”
Ou Menya is the result of this journey, for which she received the HP Magnum Expression Award.