The creative collective «Orbita» has released the first photo book «Palladium» from its series «Public Space», which is dedicated to the public spaces of Latvia during the Soviet era. The author of the new book is photographer Andrejs Strokins, while the foreword is written by film critic Vadim Agapov.
Andrejs Strokins created «Palladium» out of a discovered archive from an unknown photographer, who used to work in the Soviet Riga movie theatre with the same name and was rebuilt in 1957. Those days until yet another fire in 1963, the movie theatre served not only as a cinema, but also as a culture venue, where activities for children, chess tournaments, choir performances, dance classes and the inevitable party member summits were held. Having chosen this topic, Andrejs Strokins emphasises the gap between the on–screen heroes and the life of the viewers and movie theatre workers. Strokins’ sarcastic approach underlines the irony of the propaganda elements and the absurdity of events happening on–stage.
«Undoubtedly, we still revive the consequences of those times, and everyone can look at this book through their personal experience. But since any archive material carries a certain nostalgia, it was important for me not to allow the readers romanticise those times,» says Strokins.
Movie critic Vadim Agapov mentions the vanished experience of the collective creation during the screening in the foreword (in Latvian and English) of the book. Various scenes left space for imagination, and the audience gladly shared them out loud. The vanished reality of those times adds even more liveliness and pathos to the illustrated episodes. As one of the book editors Anna Volkova puts it: «Andrej’s Soviet propaganda attributes become whimsical characters and turn «Palladium» into some kind of a comic show».
The editors of the book are Vladimir Svetlov and Anna Volkova, designer — Alexey Murashko. The book is printed in 500 copies and can be purchased online.