I Am a Tool of Gentrification: An Experimental Documentary Series
Lyubov Matyunina

Lyubov’s work is inspired, often indirectly, by her personal life or everyday life events. As she tells us “in the case of I am a tool of Gentrification (2019) my real-life situation really set the project in motion. It started with a wish to understand gentrification processes in Amsterdam. I ended up really diving into it and adopting a journalistic/documentary method. However, it was not plain documentary research, I collaborated with performers and included performances with masks and costumes that reflect the topic of the movie. The result, an experimental documentary series, was my reply to the precarious life of the artist: a reaction to my eleven months long desperate house search and feeling of being used as a tool of gentrification. I interviewed more than 35 people, from municipality officials and urbanists to individual artists and artist run spaces. I wanted to create a platform for discussion, and I found it very important that everyone who worked with me had a similar attitude: nuanced, really searching for insight and looking at the issue in a constructive, solution-oriented way. We reflected on the current situation and were looking for the best scenario possible. It is up to you the viewer to decide what viewpoints and solutions are viable. I produced a series of three videos about gentrification in Amsterdam from an artist’s point of view: Amsterdam City Center and how tourism pushes gentrification; Amsterdam Noord and squatting as resistance; and community building strategies in Amsterdam West”.

The Amsterdam West edition focusses on broedplaatsen: municipally funded ‘hatchery spaces’, often misused and neglected buildings, where independent artists, entrepreneurs and start-ups can rent cheap space to work, meet, share ideas and collaborate. The work explores the functioning of these places in neighbourhoods where housing price is rapidly rising.
The project “I am a tool of gentrification” was shown at the PlanB Amsterdam, it was part of the Social Capital by TAAK & LIMA at LAB111 Amsterdam, as well various festivals in Germany and local Amsterdam TV channel AT5. Credits: Lyubov Matyunina (director), Konstantin Guz (cinematography), Matthías Ingiberg Sigurðssonn (music), Mert Gençer (sound design and sound mixing), Fräulein Hahnkamper (queen of gentrification), Klara Alexova (mime performance), Senne Hartland (animation), Konstanta (colour correction).

Lyubov Matyunina born in 1985, in Russia, is a visual artist based in Amsterdam. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL, and a MA in Journalism from the Russian State University I.Kant. She previously visited courses of “World Politics ” at the Gotland University, in Sweden, and at the International State University Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in Moscow. Her solo show entitled Carpetologia, was presented at W139, in Amsterdam (2017). Her film-carpet was part of the ART Rotterdam 2018. The film “Who can be happy and free?” (2014) got the TENT Academy Public Choice Award in Rotterdam (2014), and was selected for the main program at the “KOROCHE” film festival in Kaliningrad, Russia (2014) and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam (2015).Lyubov has participated in numerous group exhibitions and festivals, including the ART Rotterdam (2018), the “Post Peace” exhibition at Württembergischer Kunstverein, in Stuttgart (2016), the 5th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (special project Plaing Nature) (2013), the Komentatorki / Women Commentators festival of Russian & Ukraine art in Warsaw (2014), the Group show “Selected” at the Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam (2014), the “No Lands Man” group show in de PUNT, Amsterdam (2013) and the Kunstvlaai festival of independents, in Amsterdam (2012), etc.


Volume 5, no. 1 Jan-Jun 2022