22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sergej Timofejev

Portrait Sergej Timofejev
© Ali Ghandtschi

The poet Sergej Timofejew was born in 1970 in Riga (Soviet Union, now Latvia). His free verse, situated between blues and the language of daily life, with a syncopated rhythm to it which recalls the psychedelic texts of the Beatniks and Kerouac and Ginsberg, has been translated into many languages and published in numerous poetry collections in Riga, St Petersburg and Moscow, as well as in international anthologies. He has participated in several international poetry festivals and is one of the organisers of the multimedia internet portal »Orbita«. This ambitious project, founded as a »text band« along the lines of a rock band, is run in Riga by five Russophone poets of Timofejew’s generation who experiment with audio-visual media: their goal is freeing poetry from the literary context and investigating its meaning for a modern society. In this context Sergej Timofejew developed »Repeticija orkestra« (1994, tr: Orchestra Rehearsal), becoming the first to pioneer the genre of the poetry film in the post-Soviet region. Together with Viktor Vilks, he filmed on a submarine base near Riga which had recently been abandoned by the Russian armed forces: his poetry was used as a soundtrack for the footage. Another video, »Sveta« (tr: Lights), made it to the final selection of the first Zebra Poetry Film Festival Berlin in 2003. Following a workshop phase in Riga’s former industrial district Andrejsala, »Orbita« presented an exhibition of the artists’ search for new forms of expression in modern poetry. The exhibition included computer games, Skype installations and videos in which medical instruments were used to show what happens within the poet’s body whilst reading his poetry. In 2007 Timofejew co-developed the computer game »Ja – Tekst« (tr: I Am Text). In 2008/09, in collaboration with Artur Punte, he created the poetry installation »Komnata vremeni« (tr: The Time Room) for the annual cultural forum »Balta Nakts« (tr: Baltic Nights). The installation involved short animated films about everyday routines being projected onto screens which had been set up in the shape of a room: the images were combined with music by Evgeniy Droomoff and poetry by Sergej Timofejew in Russian and Latvian.

Sergej Timofejew also works as a translator (for example, of Alvis Hermanis’ plays), journalist and writer, for the band Brainstorm, among others. Timofejew lives in Riga and considers himself to have a Latvian literary background, but with strong connections to current Russian poetry. In 2003, he was shortlisted for the Russian Andrej Bely Prize for poetry and, in 2010, he was nominated for the »Russkaja Premija«. His texts have appeared in translation in the USA, Australia, Italy and Germany. Timofejew lives in Riga. In 2011, headed the National Committee for Culture at the Latvian Ministry of Culture.

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