|Communal Living in Russia: Photos|
|Kamila, renting this room seen in the clip "Kamila, Lena, and Yulya" from Tour 5, chats with Slawomir beside an old wardrobe, on top of which the room's permanent residents store their bicycles. 2006.|
|Basic Facts and Background|
When: June 2006
Where: A large apartment in a prestigious neighborhood in the center of St. Petersburg. This is the apartment we see in the clip "Kamila, Lena, and Yulya" (Tour 5).
Who: Slawomir, the documentary film-maker shooting the video for this project; Kamila, a Polish literature student, who has come to Russia for a year as a volunteer working in a residence for disabled children. She rents a room in this apartment.
What: The bicycles and bike wheels piled on top of the wardrobe, like the furniture, belong to the person who rents the room to Kamila.
People usually try to hang their bicycles on walls or put them away in a wardrobe; if there is no space in the storage room, the regular room will have to serve. A characteristic detail of communal life, often mentioned in fiction, involves the bicycles hanging along the walls of the hallway, against which guests constantly bump their heads.
Mirrored wardrobes of the first quarter of the twentieth century have in many cases been preserved in city apartments, including communal ones. Mirrors in frames and on the doors of wardrobes (if not on the outside then on the inside of the doors) are often found in residential rooms, which serve multiple functions.