Røst AiR

The Right to Be Cold

The Right to Be Cold and Røst AiR present Tatiana Philippova who will join Røst AiR as a digital resident through the Residency Relay program during November – December 2021.

Tatiana Philippova is a writer from Yakutsk, The Sakha Republic, Russia. She is focused on fragmentary prose, which intends to follow principles of non-linear connections as in «rhizome» that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entries. Pieces of prose and poetry she assembles to the so-called «Set» («Sborka»), the structure of which is built on rhythm. That’s how she as a queer person, a lesbian, and a Sakha woman recollects her «self» by decolonizing her experience.

Her grandparents were forced to leave their land (this event is called «Churapchinskoe pereselenie» – «Churapcha forced relocation») during WW II. They strived to return to their homes, but now global climate change gradually transforms Yakutia into some other place with forest fires, floods, earth hollows due to thawing permafrost. Can modern indigenous people of Yakutia find a new homeland elsewhere or they should continue to live on their ancestor’s land with the feeling of catastrophe — this is the question she tries to answer in her expression. Tatiana is a winner of the «Znamya» literature magazine award 2020. She lives in Yakutsk.



Digital residency experience by Tatiana:

My name is Tatiana Filippova. I am 41, I am Sakha and live in Yakutsk, I do photography and writing. I am really excited and grateful to be taking part in the digital residence of Røst Air. 

When my participation began, а month ago, digging through the family archives, I found my childhood photos, and it gave me the idea to start researching «Who am I» The question of who I am is very important and difficult for me because I have a floating identity. Looking at myself as a child, I noted that I always felt like me then. So why has it become so incomprehensible now?

My father had a drinking problem. He died in an accident. Most of our family photos are lost forever because my dad carried the albums with him. However, he did leave behind some film footage, which I recently found and digitized. I was deeply hurt by what I saw: youth, purity, love. What happened then? Maybe it ate at him as much as it does at me sometimes. 

The question «Who am I» is not the same as «Who are you», but the questions are certainly related. It’s good to have people in your environment who never ask these kinds of questions. But, what if not? Thus, in answering this question, I also want to raise questions of decolonization and attitudes toward queer people. 

I think it’s important to be honest about previous experiences and understand that there are no unimportant events, nor are there unimportant people. And perhaps this time – which has become so present – pushes us to accept ourselves as we are, having come a long way.

In my fragmentary prose I explore themes of memory. I try to make sense of my family’s traumatic experience of surviving the Churapcha resettlement during World War II, and I am seriously concerned about the environmental situation in Yakutia and the LBGTQ+ situation in Russia. 

It is very important for me to cleanse language of conventions so that it is not associated with something hostile for victims of violence. I believe that there are some similarities between direct strategies of evoking the sympathy reflex and the impact of trauma. Like when a person divides everything into black and white. At the same time, contemporary poetry and photography are powerful methods of restructuring consciousness. 

In this series I want to continue my experiments in multi-exposure, and I also want to do collages. I also want to intersperse the image with texts.

The “Who I Am” series is deeply personal, it will not only be about my experiences with violence, my traumas, but also my thoughts on gender, my orientation, my family, and the place where I was born and raised. I plan to complete the series by the end of 2022. 

Throughout the year, I will be sharing its development on my social media, Facebook, Instagram. I am self-taught, and in such a complex project whose boundaries are defined by sensory experience, I benefit greatly from the interaction and support I feel during digital residence of Røst Air.




The program “The Right to Be Cold” has been developed in consultation with Tero Mustonen (Snowchange) and Elin Már Øyen Vister (Røst AiR). The Goethe-Institut would also like to express its appreciation to all the current project participants: Aka Niviâna, Assinajaq, Avataq Cultural Institute, Dáiddadállu, Giovanna Esposito Yussif, Malakta, Patricia Rodas, Sámi Dáiddaguovddáš, Stina Aikio, Sunna Nousuniemi, and the National Art Museum of the Republic of Sakha.

Glaciers are melting, “eternal” ice is disappearing – it is getting warmer and warmer in the otherwise cold north. Climate change is making northern living conditions drastically more difficult. The international and interdisciplinary project “The Right to Be Cold” focuses on the so-called Arctic and Boreal region. In particular, it addresses questions of Indigenous knowledge, ecology, climate justice and culture, and the challenges the people in the regions affected by climate change are facing.

The main format is a circumpolar chain of residencies and virtual exchange. Within this project, existing and new residency programs in Nunavik, Finland, Yakutia, Norway, and Sápmi establish a network for artists and researchers.

* The title of the project comes from the long battle of Inuit to have their rights linked to climate change. The book of the same name by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (2015, Allen Lane Publication), testifies of her pioneering work in connecting climate change to human rights with the Inuit legal petition she and 62 fellow Inuit from Canada and Alaska launched to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights in Washington DC in 2005. Inuit leaders and climate change activists use this expression to capture their struggle and hope for political leaders to realize their communities are being severely impacted by climate change. Although the Commission did not go ahead with the Inuit petition they did have a historical hearing on the legal impacts and connections between climate change and human rights. Okalik Eegeesiak, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) used the expression in her discourse at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 December 3, 2015 in Paris, France: “Climate change is not just an environmental issue it is a human rights issue and the melting of the Arctic is impacting all aspects of Inuit life, therefore, the final text must make the rights of Indigenous peoples operative and keep it in Article 2.2. We have the right to be cold” argued Eegeesiak.

Read more at Goethe-Institut here and here