Eindhoven / Riga

I GREW UP IN THE BLOCKHOUSE

A publication that sets the living experience in blockhouse as a common ground for Latvian and Russian speaking groups in Latvia, with a focus on childhood memories when everyone played together in the backyard.
2020
Smooth communication entails a level of respect and solidarity.  It helps if there is a common ground between the people involved. Two-thirds of Latvian inhabitants live in Soviet blockhouses, almost everyone has lived there, both Latvian and Russian speakers. And even if it was a short-lived experience, people still tend to carry the shared memories of things that define those spaces: knowing your neighbor’s music taste, sensing a mixed smell of dinner and cologne in the stairway and encountering potato sellers at the doors.
Instgram TV video
Most kids who grew up in blockhouses developed an ability to compromise early on. Whether it was finding a way to agree on a game rulesets when we played together in the backyard or when we had to choose the name for a newborn stray cat. To this day, we are still capable of living cheek to cheek, but for some reason, we have forgotten these simple things that used to connect us. 
With this publication I am inviting people to play childhood games like hide and seek, traffic lights or squares in the backyards of their childhood, find the common language, and agree on new rules. I believe that both Latvian and Russian speakers can gather in one social group. The group of people who grew up in the blockhouses.
Photos by Filips smits
Illustrations by Marta Folkmane
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