The third residency of the project in Kaliningrad in November 2014 included the following activities:
Explorations of the city and beyond, including the area of Forest Krasny in the vicinity of Lake Vyshtynets, led by a variety of cultural experts; workshops with comics, amber, collage; presentations and seminars from participants and our guides; visits to cultural venues and events, along with an evening of poetry. More details in News Updates…
“Far in the south-east of Kaliningrad region, where Lithuanian and Polish borders join, there is a forest named Krasny, one of the most beautiful places in the region. In Europe the forest is better known under the name Rominter-Heide, a famous hunting ground. The last Master of the Teutonic Order and the first Duke of Prussia Albrecht, Count Georg Friedrich, Kurfurst Johan Sigismund and Kaiser Wilhelm II as well as Reich Minister Hermann Goring hunted there and owned hunting cottages in the area. Today forest Krasny can confidently be compared to an open air museum.”
- Alexey Sokolov
With Aleksey from the Ecological Historical Museum of Viestieniec we take a walk around the area. Aleksey has produced a guide – something that can be used with both adults and children which takes us on an adventure, presenting clues as to which direction to go, what interesting historical and geological features we might uncover. First, we make pencil rubbings from the German First World War Memorial at the centre of the village, names faded and mostly forgotten. There is now a small Orthodox chapel next to the memorial. He pours water over stones, to reveal colours and markings, each which tell us a tale of their journey, carried down from Scandanavia with the the glaciers of the Ice Age. Red and green markings are the rarest, but can be found in some of the old stones used to pave the village road. Of course, he shares local legends of the gnomes who came with the stones.
We wander down the byways, seeing how the ancient stones have been used to construct local houses and then up the hill into the woods in search of different kinds of stones. He explains their stories and shares the natural history of the area. He invites each of us to pick up a stone and keep it in our pocket – this will be later cut in two and used to explain the different strata of the region, which inevitably involves gnomes, “who possess the magic to turn rocks transparent. And don’t listen to any voices in the woods asking to give your stone to them…”
I pick up an Amphibolite, harder than limestone and heavier than granite commonly used in construction, paving, facing of buildings, especially because of its attractive textures, dark color, hardness and polishability and its ready availability. It may well be this stone that makes up the war memorial we first came across. In the basement of the museum, using shavings of rocks, he demonstrates what they look like under the microscope.
In November we gathered in Lithuania for the second residency. You’ll find a day by day news update here…
One day we undertook an exploration of the Issa Valley, with the fictionalised account of Czesław Miłosz’s childhood as our guide. Published in 1955, ‘The Issa Valley’ tells of the time between the First World War and the Second World war. The Issa is ‘a deep, black river with a lazy current, thickly bordered with reeds’, flowing through the borderline fracture Europe, between east and west, an area which has been at different times Russia, Poland and Lithuania. Here at Šeteniai we find a statue of Magdalena, the beautiful mistress of the village priest, whose suicide unleashes her ghost to haunt the parish. (This sculpture is carved by Algimanta Sakalauskas and painted by Birutė Jakštienė.) Here we hear tales of devils and priests.
“The Issa Valley has the distinction of being inhabited by an unusually large number of devils. It may be that the hollow willos, mills and thickets lining the riverbanks provide a convenient cover for those creatures who reveal themselves only when it suits them. Those who have seen them say that the devil is rather short, about the size of a nine year old; that he wears a green frock coat, a jabot, his hair in a pig tail, white stockings, and tries to conceal his hoofs, which are an embarrassment to him, with high-heeled slippers.”
- The Issa Valley, Czesław Miłosz
Along with the manor house of Milosz’s childhood, the villages belonging to the manor in the area were destroyed during the Soviet years. When Miłosz visited here again in 1999, old trees were planted to mark a rebirth and a new beginning – as the only remaining structure, the White Granary, was restored and opened as a residential centre. We also visit Paberžė - where the January uprising of 1863 began in Lithuania – where there is a huge and fascinating collection of folk-art. As the light of the day fades, we explored the ruined manor of Sirutiškis, a haunting reminder of past glories, of aristocracies and long collapsed empires.
Over the first few months, the individual groups met to explore their own locality, learn more about their area and uncover histories and stories. In July, our travellers arrived at Krasnogruda to share their experiences, to meet as a whole group for the first time. Over the next ten days they worked with a wide range of artists and cultural experts – our guides - exploring a range of mediums.
Here’s some comments from our participants, along with image galleries.
Ilu rzeczy nowych, ciekawych spróbowaliśmy. Moja duszę najbardziej wzruszyła praca z gliną. Siedząc w chłodnym pomieszczeniu i słuchając przyjemnej muzyki, oddawałam się pracy, odpoczywałam duchowo i fizycznie. Lepienie z gliny daje tyle radości i przyjemności, że nie chce się nigdzie iść, zapominasz o całym świecie. Jestem zachwycona tym warsztatem, chcę kontynuować pracę z gliną po powrocie do domu. Jeszcze nigdy nie byłam na tylu różnorodnych i pasjonujących warsztatach.
How many things new and interesting try. My soul was touched most by work with clay. Sitting in a cool room and listening to pleasant music, devoted to work, resting mentally and physically. Clay modelling gives so much joy and pleasure that you do not want to go anywhere, you forget about the outside world. I am delighted with the workshop, I want to continue working with clay after returning home. I’ve never been in so many different and exciting workshops.
- Valerie Bartfield, Kaliningrad
Warsztaty graficzne nauczyły nas budować kompozycje i pracować w środowisku jednego koloru. To niezbędne umiejętności dla artystów i dizajnerów, ale przydatne są także do ogólnego rozwoju człowieka.
The workshops taught us to build graphical compositions and work in a single colour. These are essential skills for artists and designers, but are also useful for general human development.
- Maksim Dmitriev, Kaliningrad
Twarde i zimne kamenie, które dotykaliśmy na skraju lasu i te miękkie, które tutaj widzimy, tworzą kontrast. Myślę, że ten kontrast ukazuje też różnice między nami – młodymi ludźmi z zupełnie różnych światów.
Hard and cold stones, which touched the edge of the forest and the soft, which we see here, they create contrast. I think the contrast shows the differences between us – young people from completely different worlds.
- Adriana Przekop, Suwałki
Przewrotna była przemiana twardego kamienia w lekkie papierowe formy.
Perverse was to change the hard stone in the light of paper forms.
- Cyprian Doroszko, Sejny
Szczególnie cieszę się z warsztatów teatralnych. Prowadząca je pani Bożena jest niezwykłą osobą. Otrzymaliśmy od niej mnóstwo energii. Nasze wspólne gry teatralne odnosiły się do takich pojęć jak człowiek, granica, komunikacja, dom… Praca z kolegami z Rosji i z Polski była ciekawym doświadczeniem: szukaliśmy kompromisu, aby językiem teatru opowiedzieć o sobie.
I am particularly pleased with the theatre workshops. Leading them, Bozena is an extraordinary person. We received a lot of energy from it. Our joint theatre games related to such concepts as humanity, the border, communication, home… Working with colleagues from Russia and Poland was an interesting experience: we were looking for a compromise, the language of theatre to tell us about yourself.
- Kotryna Żirgulitie, Kėdainiai
I think the theatre workshops were really great. All our group enjoyed it, because we built something really beautiful. We created nice realtionships and understanding between ourselves in the workshops.
– Marta Jakubanis, Suwałki
Podobały mi się warsztaty pieśni. Pani Monika to prawdziwa profesjonalistka i jest w niej tyle siły. Śpiewanie z nią dało mi wiele radości. Kiedy wyjeżdżała, płakałam. Wspaniale było śpiewać z kolegami z innych krajów.
I liked the song workshops. Monika is a true professional and it has so much power. Singing with her gave me a lot of joy. When I was leaving, I cried. It was great to sing with colleagues from other countries.
- Akvile Zigmantawicziutie, Kėdainiai
I really like photography and working with the experts. We have been learning about the cameras, composition and editing. We visited the local area to make portraits and made a gallery for the event.
- Krzysiek Kozłowski
In the poetry workshop, one poem in particular – by Czesław Miłosz – indicated one source of inspiration behind the Borderland Atlantis project.
Piosenka o końcu świata
W dzień końca świata
Pszczoła krąży nad kwiatem nasturcji,
Rybak naprawia błyszczącą sieć.
Skaczą w morzu wesołe delfiny,
Młode wróble czepiają się rynny
I wąż ma złotą skórę, jak powinien mieć.
W dzień końca świata
Kobiety idą polem pod parasolkami,
Pijak zasypia na brzegu trawnika,
Nawołują na ulicy sprzedawcy warzywa
I łódka z żółtym żaglem do wyspy podpływa,
Dźwięk skrzypiec w powietrzu trwa
I noc gwiaździstą odmyka.
A którzy czekali błyskawic i gromów,
A którzy czekali znaków i archanielskich trąb,
Nie wierzą, że staje się już.
Dopóki słońce i księżyc są w górze,
Dopóki trzmiel nawiedza różę,
Dopóki dzieci różowe się rodzą,
Nikt nie wierzy, że staje się już.
Tylko siwy staruszek, który byłby prorokiem,
Ale nie jest prorokiem, bo ma inne zajęcie,
Powiada przewiązując pomidory:
Innego końca świata nie będzie,
Innego końca świata nie będzie.
- Ocalenie, 1945
A Song On the End of the World
translated by Anthony Miłosz
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumpets
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.
Warsztaty były doskonałą okazją pretestowania wzajemnego zaufania i integralności jako grupy.
The workshops have been a great opportunity to test our trust and integrity as a group.
- Marta Ołów, Suwałki
I enjoy the graphics workshop and the theatre. I like the theatre very much because I work with my body – it’s relaxing and also very physical. And I like the connection between poetry and graphics.
- Leonid Bondar, Kaliningrad
On the final day, participants created a gallery space, both indoor and outdoor, to bring together all the elements created during the workshops, to share with each other and to reflect on the activities.