GO EAST blog

this blog follows the road movie research of estonian performance artist katrin essenson and swiss performance artist matthias ruettimann across the former states of the sovjet union. mai - july 2016   


fences – first coming to Estonia in summer 2015 you were fascinated by the abandoned houses and the collapsed industrial complexes. You were strolling through the quarters, crossing the wide empty space between the huge flats, prefabricated buildings from former Sovjet aera. And all over fallow land, badlands, wilderness crossed by small walking pathes and hidden resting places with butts and bottles and stories carried away by the baltic wind. Now coming back you remark an undercover process that’s rebuilding the urban landscape. Paejärv is a small lake in Lasnamäe part of Tallinn where men came since ever to throw their fishing lines into the cold dark water. And still today you can see them sitting on the shores, stoic sculptures of patience and eternity. This lake was surrounded by the badlands which connected the collective residential and living areas of mostly russian speaking population with pure nature. But Lasnamäe becomes more and more a prefered living area for upcoming mid and upper class citizens. The lake became a recreation area with jogging trail and playgrounds for children. Smaller flats grow along the boundary of a more and more harnessed piece of wild nature. And with the new flats came the fences. Green painted, narrow structured metal fences, approximately 1.8 m high with outwards bent peaks. And with the fences tarred pathways come along. You realise that your walks follow a planed and executed order, structures built by fences. The public space is less and less a place that belongs to the public in the sense that the passerby makes up his way. More and more you have to follow the set and predetermined connections. And you remark it’s not a question of more and more people sharing the same space but it is the expression of a possesive, on property founded thinking. „Step out“, „video surveillance“, „watch the dog“ are the welcome messages at the gates of the locked in residences. If you come to the former Sovjet panel settlements you look at the merely ordered, natural remained space between the flats in a releasing way. On clothes lines the laundry is dancing like fluttering flags, free accessible, unfenced and trustfully, unashamedly exposed to the community.

To investigate! – Is the building of fences a global pattern of capitalism, not only for dividing property but also a effective instrument for domesticating, controling and manipulating citizens.

maikellukese päevad

Festival maylilly days in EKKM 14.05.2016

estonia has 1.4 mio inhabitants. If there is a festival of course then everybody knows everybody.

how to get away

buy tickets and go - by train from Biel to Basel, from Basel to Berlin, stay some days in Kreuzberg and get the flow by improvisation, listen to the broter Karamasow in the Volksbühne at the Rosa-Luxemburg-square and remember the sentence:

Then leave Berlin by train and arrive in delay in Warsaw (not to confound with Joy Division), take a taxi to the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews and enter just before closing time, meet Frank Stella, the outstanding American artist who constructed abstract images, reliefs inspired by Synagogues of Historic Poland, Synagogues which disappeared in the flames of the II WW.

Later at night, 11pm, you enter a bus from Warsaw to Vilnius, sleep next to Nadja, a polish student who recommends you to visit Romania and who is on the scale of happiness at level nine from ten, explaining that she learned to overcome difficulties and resistance. Take a break in the warm morning sun at Vilnius coach station and merge to another world unlabled yet. On platform 19 your bus to Riga awaits you and brings you in 4 and a half hours to Riga crossing flat, yellow painted landscapes and arrive in a snowstorm of appleblossoms in the latvian capital. Stay a little bit on the seaside and walk over to Arsenals, museum for modern Art, to honor Ilmars Blumbergs (1943-2016) "people like him only appear once every century" and follow Snowing all the Time (Visu laiku snieg), a serie of 35 paintings tracing Latvia's history from Stalinist deportations to the restoration of independence. 

Sit later in another bus from the company LuxExpress which brings you in this delightful light of a slowly, very slowly sinking sun along the sea to last of the baltic states, Estonia. Arrive after eleven pm. and get packet into a taxi and end up on the third floor in an smokey apartment of a former member of the parlament, who welcomes you with a hughe glass of Vodka preparing you for Russia. He reminds you not to film any buildings like bridges, railway stations, industrial complexes, always pretend to be a tourist, don't try to be an artist and as a tourist never try to buy an official, that makes it worse. Dazed from the current speech and the endless ascending smoke that climbs the bookshelves where all is written about the KGB, about Stalin, Peter Suur, Hitler, Lenin, Trotzky, the whole who is who of a still lasting history.

so you get to the east as some flotsam thrown to the beach at the Baltic Sea.