Simeiz is a small village on the southern coast of Crimea which is temporarily occupied by Russia. In the Soviet era, an underground gay resort arose in the village. It started with a small nudist beach; a popular bar and night club, Hedgehogs, appeared later in independent Ukraine. From the 1990s on, Simeiz became a significant meeting point for members of the LGBTQ+ community from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Every year, about 4,000 people visited the place before the temporary occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. At the moment, Simeiz, as a gay resort, is threatened with disappearance due to the homophobic laws of the Russian Federation. If this happens, old photos and videos will be the only evidence of its existence and extinction.
Special thanks to Zhanna Simeiz, activist, political drag queen and creator of Hedgehogs club for sharing and narrating her story.
Installation shot from Oceanic Imageries at Stedelijk Museum:
Stills from the video: