ARCC started as a typical Russian kitchen conversation in an intimate circle of friends. Many happened to be artists, musicians, scholars, and translators. They would get together, present and discuss their work, perform and reflect on their position while acknowledging that their artistic language was shaped by a particular national culture.
The 1960-70s Soviet/Russian kitchen gatherings were often hot spots of artistic innovation. A surprising number of Londoners and guests longed to recreate that atmosphere – to recover the urgency of those conversations, the joy of sharing new ideas and expressions. As the conversation kept offering a wider range of topics (from Folklore and Modern Poetry to Mathematics, Bilingual Theatre and Theory of Translation), Larissa’s kitchen obstinately refused to expand despite her friends’ promises (all based on quantum theory, of course). The world was not improving, but many more people became part of the circle.
In the Soviet Union of the 1960s, private space (if only a tiny kitchen) was desperately needed in order to create, in Brodsky’s words, a margin of freedom. Today’s prerequisite for independent thought and freedom is private time away from obsessive busyness. You can create this scarce commodity by slowing down, opening to otherness and creating connections between disparate historical and cultural experiences.
By choosing to call ourselves Anglo-Russian Club, we hoped that those connections could start from two languages and cultures, but then move beyond them. In fact, the acronym ARCC offered much more than the sum of its parts It evoked many fitting images in English, in Russian and in-between the two, something like an arc – curving, connecting and electrifying…