Generation of Place: Image, Memory and Fiction in the Baltics

Published by Mene.CC in 2011.

“The Latvian Elina Ruka creates a series of portraits of ”a potential home”, documenting the “places where her home could be” and looking for the feeling of belonging. Her images compel one to take a closer look and think about a place in a foreign city as home, and, indeed, although she documents different places, all of them have something ineffable in common – just as they have a shared coldness, which is typical of documentary photography.”

“Melancholic representation of social life is frequent in Latvian literature. Two Latvian photographers represent this melancholy visually as the split up place. El?na Ruka explains that she has managed to approach a big industrial city, Lyon, only from more familiar perspective. Her camera observes the city from a garden – a perspective induced by the viens?ta concept. Photos draw a real frontier between the two realms, and the physical separation of a unitary space substantiates the place-bound identity. A wicket gate invites to a triple rite de passage: from a small farmstead to a big industrial city, from family to society, from mono-cultural environment to cultural heterogeneity. To a great surprise, the territory of a new significant Other – the ‘civilized West’ – looks exactly like the urban industrial landscape developed by the Soviets.”