Daya Cahen
- Nashi

21.3.24 - 20.5.24

Manipulation, propaganda and indoctrination in a Russian summer camp. Discover the highly topical film, Nashi, by the Dutch artist and filmmaker Daya Cahen.

Nashi (Ours), 2008.
Louisiana Cinema in the West Wing.
Length: 28 min.  

In 2007, Daya Cahen managed to infiltrate a summer camp of the radical youth movement Nashi (Ours), affiliated with Vladimir Putin. In this summer camp, 10.000 Russian boys and girls are preparing themselves for a heroic future. They spend two weeks in lockdown while red banners and loudspeakers hanging from the dome tents in the woods tell them what their future should be. They are the chosen ones in Russia: the country’s future managers, politicians, and military leaders. The movement aims to make Russia a great and invincible nation.

Seventeen years later, seen in the light of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the film is visionary, laying bare the system of indoctrination of Russia’s youth.

A manifest teaches them to sacrifice their lives for their country while Putin looks down on them from behind the trees. At the same time, the West is ridiculed, and anti-American sentiments are enforced by role-play of ever-drunken Americans and Putin’s opponents in prison clothes, portrayed as fascists and placed behind barbed wire. In the film, Cahen splits the screen to visually multiply the already looming impression of impending fascism and reveals how a seemingly innocent summer camp can become an essential tool for indoctrination and radicalization.

Dutch artist and filmmaker Daya Cahen often works as an ‘embedded artist.’ In her work, she focuses on forms of political influence and the systematic manipulation of the human being. Her main interest lies in the power of mass media and its use of manipulation, propaganda, and indoctrination.

Having two parents who survived WOII as Jewish children, the artist grew up with the notion that the world can change on you in a day and you never know at which end of the line you will end up. A society can turn against any group of people. Investigating how these developments of indoctrination, radicalization, and fear of otherness can arise within society forms the starting point for all of Cahen’s work.