Lochsted supremus  

The starting point of the project was the Kaliningrad Oblast, characterized by a historically embedded impossibility of self-identification, which led to a global mythologization.

Identifying two key elements in the specifics of this location: the absence of its past in the context of Russian history and the deposits of nearly all world reserves of amber, allowed for the analysis and deconstruction of myths to begin.

The shooting started with immersion into the environment. On one hand, there were encounters and joint trips with the “black diggers” of the amber industry, illegal excavations, an endless escape from controlling authorities with the hope of finding the coveted gem, belief in magical salvation, and the desire for instant enrichment. On the other hand, there were dialogues with the local residents.

Their past, linked to Kaliningrad, began after the conquest of Königsberg. The short Russian history is replaced by a foreign one — German, quite attractive, built directly around this place but mutated due to historical underpinnings. This manifests in the idealization of the past, transformation of the city’s appearance, its history, and culture.

Hence emerged the image of “unearthing” — extracting the history of this place directly from the soil (e.g., the ruins of the German city), searching for once buried treasures. This image gives birth to an enveloping consciousness, a mythological field. In all this, there is a sense of emptiness, cloaked in the form of a precious crystal. It is vast and clumsy. An uncontrollable desire to possess it engulfs you. Upon achieving the goal, satisfaction is replaced by the realization that you cannot control the acquired treasure, and a sense of burden arises. You don’t know what to do with it, and once trapped, you hold onto it with all your strength.

In this image, I saw universality, applicable not only to the Kaliningrad Oblast but to all of Russia. The desire to dig up old myths, recut and appropriate a new history. Extracting from the past all sorts of new trinkets that seem valuable, but upon closer examination, turn out to be vast, empty, and clumsy forms that are difficult to discard and impossible to retain.

From this analogy arises the title of the work. Castle Lohtstedt — a former storage place of amber belonging to the Teutonic Order, of which only ruins remain to this day. Nevertheless, these ruins and casemates are of interest to the “black diggers” of amber. Supremus — the highest universal form.