Kaliningrad Palimpsests

MSc Studio



Raviv Ganchrow



[…] It is not so much the fog that suspends Königsberg these days but rather geopolitical constraints. After its capture by the Red Army on April 9th, 1945, and the subsequent Potsdam agreements, Russia was granted sovereignty over the territory renaming it ‘Kaliningrad’. Today, still officially part of Russian territory, it has become landlocked within an expanding European Union. Kaliningrad is effectively a Russian exclave situated 150 km away from that federation’s western border and wedged between Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea. Kant’s ‘City of Enlightenment’ is all but forgotten in a territory that seems to have fallen into the blind spot of both Europe and Russia’s rear-view mirror. And now a city that is no longer Prussian, no longer German, and no longer Soviet, gets thrust into unfamiliar liberties, like it or not, within which it must find new bearings. Yet despite its recent marginalization in the Russo-European constellation (or maybe because of it), contemporary Kaliningrad reveals itself as a crucial nerve ending in a much broader geo-historical context. […] After spending some time in the city it seems that nothing can be taken at face value, as every urban fact becomes an indicator of multiple and contradicting trajectories. […] To begin to understand Kaliningrad, one must first embrace its complexities and ambiguities to the point where the bric-a-brac begins to emerge as a trait, nearly as a system of the city. Within the patchwork of urban spaces a zone of exchange opens where forms and symbols are continually reconfigured. It is as if the city itself has developed a strategy, a kind of immune system that absorbs the various intruders and facilitates the appearance of alternative narratives from seemingly dispersed events. If this is indeed a system, it is one that has no predetermined rules.

MSc studio BC, semester 08, 2006-08

Participants: Saxon Lear Duckworth, Petrit Kabashi, Vincent van der Meulen, Rudi Nieveen, Marcel Oudt, Sophie Panzer, Mirjam Schmull, Maarten Tas, Maikel Waterdrinker, Nicolai Waterdrinker.

Mentors: Raviv Ganchrow, Oscar Rommens, Marc Schoonderbeek, Freerk Hoekstra.

Kaliningrad Palimpsests