An explosion of cardboard in the shape of town

About Cardboardia’s materialization in Perm.
We were invited to come and help build Cardboardia in Perm (KartonKamsk).
Perm is a city with two faces: one rough, industrial and hardworking and one innocent, cultural and fun-loving. The city used to be the last stop before people deemed “undesirable” by the Soviet regime passed on their way to the gulags. Due to it’s military industry Perm was a ‘closed city’ until 1987, with population of 1.2 million, it didn’t appear on Soviet maps! With that grim history in mind we landed in Perm. To our surprise we encountered a lot of (well organised) cultural efforts, a lot of street art, a great contemporary museum and of course Cardboardia (part of the 4 week White Nights Festival). After a very warm welcome by the Cardboardians and our interpreter Veronika we got to work the next day.

Things to do, and more things to do
We left the Netherlands with a lot of building plans: A meteorological institute (because Cardboardia doesn’t have weather yet), greenscreen workshops, wings-making workshops, a giant thunderous below and lots of other stuff. In Cardboardia we tried to make some of these things as fast as possible because we got new ideas and soon we got sucked in to the weird reality that’s called Cardboardia; forcing us to make prisons and beards!


Bureaucracy is a big part of Cardboardia, it is really entertaining! Cardboardia is not a critical project, it reflects life. The best thing is: if you want to change things in Cardboardian reality you can! Just do the Bureaucratic Quest, work hard and start your own movement, store, business or institute! The Tyran doesn’t mind, as long as it is fun.

Getting married in Cardboardia is easy! (here’s some pictures of my wedding with Janneke)Michael Nozik built a large labyrinth (even with a second floor), that would never be possible in the overly protective Netherlands. It was really dark inside and difficult to get out!

We build a free will prison a small “free willy” prison, and also some medieval punishment machines.The infamous Jason Webley organised some of his RhinoBattles. A completely different approach to what we’ve seen in Cardboardia. It is like the Battles Cardboarders do on festivals in the Netherlands, but with only one big coloured box per contestant! Eye-candy!

Our last day in Cardboardia was ‘beard-day’, or as Tyran liked to call it: “Cardboard dependance day”. No one could explore Cardboardia without a making and wearing a beard that day. There even was an official beard police! Together with the visitors and citizens we crafted over a thousand beards! It was a great collaboration and a crazy experience for us and the Cardboardia-team. We finished this wonderful collaboration, with a great barbecue and, thanks to the rain like a monsoon, with musical entertainment by Mihail Belov, a miming Vladimir Putin and Jason Webley.

Our trip was very rewarding and inspiring for us. We learned lots of stuff on how to set up a big project and how to keep everybody motivated (think up new projects every day). We also learned about new cardboard techniques. Our (Cardboarders) focus has always been to have people co-create in our projects on a material level. We want them to build stuff with us and we want them to surprise themselves in what they create! Cardboardia is not necessarily about cardboard and cocreation, it’s about the things you do after Cardboardia is built. These two angles eventually reach the same result: big projects where the audience can only experience what’s happening if they help create what’s happening.


все будет хорошо!

We especially like to thank Sergej Korsakov and Viktoria Novikova for arranging everything and inspire us with his strong will to materialize Cardboardia, our guide and personal interpreter Veronika Alexeewna, Dmitriy Tutterin for give us a lot of insight in to Cardboardia, Russia and humanity in general, Michael and Ekaterina Nozik for bicycling around Perm with us (and for being way to cute), Jason Webley for the pianoplaying in the rain, Kseniya Koroleva for always smiling, Yura Boguslavskij for being a very nice roommate (and great animator), Павел Шевелев for our beautiful wedding picture, Тимофей Московкин for being relaxed,working hard and playing basketball (all at the same time), the girl who played basketball better then me (I forgot her name), The prison lady and her boatbuilding helper for being very serious about the prison and using it too it’s full extend and also many thanks to the lovely, very entertaining, inspiring and smart: Daddy Dimi, Anastasia, Marga, Andrej, Mihail, Igor, Nadia, Alexandra, Irina, Мария and Полина

And everyone I forgot at this moment, I am really sorry!

Want to people to tell their animated story during your event?

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One response to “An explosion of cardboard in the shape of town”

  1. […] social experiments, creative economies and visual arts all rolled in to one. We went to one of the materialisations in the form of a city in Perm. The cardboardia projects always have some story to it, they mostly evolve around the visions and […]

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