The world happiness report, released on Monday by Columbia University’s Earth Institute, ranks Russia as the 68th happiest country in the world.
Every Sunday at 12:00, Russian seniors gather together in a few of Moscow’s parks. Regardless of the weather, they meet each other and dance. Since I was a child I remember seeing them every weekend during walks with my parents, and nothing has changed since then. The parks have been beautified, renovated with newly opened restaurants and cafés, but the area with the small stage remained untouched. When I visited Sokolniki Park this summer I had a deja vu. In Moscow it is rare to see older people having a cake and a tea in a café, going to the cinema, or enjoying any other regular pleasures of the capital. An average senior in Moscow receives a 200 EUR pension, but regardless their hardship they find a way to enjoy and celebrate life. They love to dress up, meet, flirt, and dance!
I experienced something amazingly true and simple. People in their 60s were getting together and expressing themselves on the dance floor. And just like during my school time, women were waiting for the gents to notice them and invite them for a dance.
Only a few would answer my questions about their lives or happiness. Most of them found it difficult to reply and said that they were unhappy. Health, the well-being of their children and relatives, and love were the most popular subjects. Vadim Timurovich, who is 65, hopes to find love here, but so far he has not been very lucky – seldom do new people come to the park to dance. But I had a good feeling about him, Vadim is in the right place to meet his soul mate. Whispering amongst themselves, throwing suggestive glances, greeting subtly and hoping…
And then I realized that this is true happiness, and it is never too late to find it. This couple has been together for more than 50 years, and they still come to dance every Sunday…
VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary offers a unique meeting point for different generations: Young Austrian artists represented in ZONE1, which is supported by BM:UKK, will give special free guided tours to seniors. In this exciting opportunity for dialogue and exchange, the artists tell about their views on contemporary art, their work, ideas, and much more.
10 OCT 2013
guided tour by Nestor Kovachev (Heike Curtze Gallery Vienna)
11 OCT 2013
guided tour by Jochen Höller (artist, Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Vienna)
12 OCT 2013
guided tour by Peter Fritzenwallner (artist, Galerie Altnöder, Vienna)
13 OCT 2013
guided tour by Rini Tandon (artist, Raum mit Licht Gallery, Vienna)