Control Refresh is the result of Toma Gerzha’s research into the impact of political events on young people within several post-Soviet countries. Over the past three years, she visited teenagers in remote cities in Russia and Eastern Europe. She made an extensive collection of photos of youngsters who shared their vulnerability with me, who joined her in their boredom, and who told her about their dreams. The lives of these young people are strongly influenced by traditions, social media and politics. In 2021, she made her first major photography trip across Russia. She contacted teenagers in small towns through social media and spent days (and sometimes weeks) with them. She documented their lives and surroundings with my camera, took notes, and wrote down their stories. Her project was interrupted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. She decided to include the change within my research and continued to visit my protagonists regularly. In it, she recorded how a free country closes itself off from the world within a short time and how its inhabitants try to adapt to the changes.

Toma Gerzha (Moscow, 2003) is an Amsterdam-based documentary photographer and multimedia artist. She explores stories related to the mentality of Eastern Europe, the insider-outsider perspective and party culture as the ultimate remedy. Last year, her works were shown at the Biennale de l’Image Possible, Paris Photo, Encontros da Imagem, and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Her photo projects have been published in Marie Claire Belgique, Marie Claire Italia, ELLE Korea, British Journal of Photography and Paris Photo.