The Seven Bridges of Königsberg, 2018
It is the first part of a long-term project about the former German territories in Europe. The project's title is borrowed from a mathematical problem raised at the University of Königsberg (1736). The latter consisted of finding a way to walk across each of Königsberg's seven bridges without crossing any of them more than once. The proof of its negative resolution was found by the Swiss mathematician, Leonhard Euler and it allowed him to lay the foundations of a new field in mathematics: topology.
On the night of 29-30 August in 1944, following the first attack three days before, No 5 Bomber Group attacked the heart of the city of Königsberg, the Kneiphof island, by destroying five of the seven bridges. Ironically enough, the Royal Air Force succeeded thus in solving the impossible mathematical problem.
In my case, I decided to use photography to cross the virtual bridges between past and present. In 1945 one-third of East Prussia including the city of Königsberg, was "given" to the USSR as part of the Potsdam agreement. In my project, I was keen to explore the relationship between memory, identity and official history. I want to tell a story about the Kaliningrad region, which has a particular geopolitical situation: a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland (more than 300 km from the closest Russian border). It was important to me to find the point of intersection between the Kaliningrad region's German and Soviet past, rather than falling into the trap of relativizing the two. To achieve this, I photographed the colonists and their descendants from today's Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to repopulate East Prussia (the Kaliningrad region since 1946). Using their stories as a compass, I documented the spaces which are still a reminder of East Prussian topography: forests, fields and houses.