Almaz Isakov
Emergency exit
Installation, 2018
Chisinau, Moldova

Emergency exist is the exist from the other side. From the side where there could be the desired future.

Maria Dragan Library opened in 1971, in Ciocana district, and was called Department number 6 of Children's library. At that point, the library was located in a different place, later it got relocated to the place it is today – in the dormitories of the Tobacco Combine in Chisinau. Similar to menu other industrial dorms, after the fall of Soviet Union, this dormitory was privatised. The government system, with so many branches, became like a shell where the chaos was echoing and where any designated space could be lost. It is what happened with the building that hosted the library. The building was managed by the Municipal Library chain Hasdeu, part of which is Marian Dragan library, as a branch. However, the administration of the library declared they did not know who are the owners of that building and refused to pay the rent for it, only the bills. However, the residents of the old dorm do not know anything about it and are convinced it a the city's property. It is reasonable to believe so, as the library has been there for a long time, and the sense of order by inertia, doesn't ask questions about how municipal buildings function.

The director of the library admitted that leaving things the way they are is the best solution for Maria Dragan library, considering that it is an important cultural space for Ciocana district, when there aren't almost any other spaces like that. The attempt to start investigating who has the ownership of the space could lead to unexpected consequences, it could lead to the scenario the administration of the library fears the most – the space could prove to be own by the Tobacco Combine, which I'd, of course, a private own company now. In that case, their private interest could lead to the disappearance of the library from the district – something that one can notice - happens quite often in post-soviet area. By the way, the importance of the library is not a mere affirmation coming from a self-preservation instinct. Maria Dragan library is a point of interest for the children being a source of educative and informative literature, fulfilling therefore its purpose. Moreover, by offering new services and options, it remains relevant in contemporary times. In the library, the kids benefit from free wi-if, computers, tablets, they play social games. It is a good example for a cultural institution that can be legitimate not only in a formal way, but also for the community in which it exist.

The administration of the municipal library planned to change the entrance to the other side, and the library would have end up inside the courtyard, which would've gave it more visibility. But because of the circumstances stated above, these plans froze in time as well. However, our meeting with the director made her rethink about it and decide to solve the problem.

Because of that, I am installing a door. A door as the image of the future in which everything will play off in the best interest of the library. The future in which the symbolic door will be replaced by a real one.