To A Place Of Time, Held Within Four Walls is a limited edition box of thirteen different related photo books, each exploring the unique possibilities of combining and juxtaposing images and texts according to its particular structure. How can new historical perspectives on the synergy between Hitler and Stalin’s terror resonate in the contemporary moment?
My personal experience of loss led me in 2016 to seek an understanding of this particular history through a lived experience beyond the texts I read or the years I lived in Eastern Europe in the early 90’s. As I drove from locations of mass killings such as the Bikernieku forest outside Riga, Latvia and the Ponary woods south of Vilnius, Lithuania, I was struck by the way the Soviet and Nazi overlap carried over into the physical environs.
It was as if upon the Bloodlands between Berlin and Moscow where millions were killed, socialist block buildings sprouted up like mushroom rings to support the utopian vision of a new ‘socialist man’. Yet this vision, now itself fifty years old, is an ideological ruin in the flesh of the built environment. And new nationalisms are on the march. Indeed with the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the 2021 US Capitol attack, this question is more pertinent now then ever.
“Our conversation with history… is a concern with preformed images already imprinted on our brains, images at which we keep staring while the truth lies elsewhere, away from it all, somewhere as yet undiscovered.” –W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz
“Our forgetfulness convinces us that we are different from Nazis by shrouding the ways that we are the same”.
–Timothy Snyder, Black Earth