Friedrich Kuhlmann (Estonian University of Life Sciences)

Alive and Kicking” Moving Through and Diving Into the Soviet Kolkhoz and the East German LPG

The MODSCAPES project seeks an understanding of how modernist rural landscapes developed over time, in part calling for an understanding of the landscape as a set of intertwining layers assessed by local mapping. In addition, by understanding the spatial grammar of the landscape as well as perceiving it through different media, other aspects can be revealed which are not visible via mapping alone. The East-German and Baltic cases differ from other European examples by the fact that their existence ended nearly 30 years ago and residents and decision-makers from the time are still alive. Thus, we focused on the importance of actions carried out by residents in their everyday lives and ways to connect them with the respective space. If a landscape is understood by layers, then these actions form the “kebab skewers” metaphorically connecting them. Topographic maps from different periods formed the basis for the experiential data collected and interpreted in related steps accompanied by verbal commentaries. Firstly, we “dived” into the area using filming and field recordings simultaneously like a canvas to paint on and in the sense of a journey. Next, 360° surround films were shot at spots to simulate the view of a person turning around, followed by filming of situations representing everyday movement cycles in the area, such as going to work or taking children to school, which evoked an atmosphere of everyday life linking the space and people’s actions. Finally, go-along interviews were used to trigger and stimulate reflections and memories of residents to understand how the space impacted their experiences and perceptions. This process revealed facets of the daily life of the inhabitants, settlers or workers and their social interaction with the landscape, uncovering so far untouched places and unknown spatial relationships.

Full-text available here: DOI: 10.1051/SHSCONF/20196306004