Dreams of Minsk: A Journey through Aesthetics of Utopia within a European Experience

Heloisa Rojas Gomez

Abstract


Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, is in search of a cultural text. As writers and artists have done for many today iconic cities, Artur Klinau provides Minsk with such text, in his book Minsk: The Sun City of Dream. The aim of the present article is to explore and interpret this text, approaching it through cultural semiotics.

In Klinau’s literary work, notions of architecture, art, history, philosophy intertwine with personal memory and aesthetic experiences, drawing the exceptional image of a Soviet utopian city with a soul of “provincial sentimentalism”. At the periphery of the Russian and then Soviet Empires, after the Cold War East-West divide, Minsk developed a nostalgia “for something which is not”: Europe. This text shows how Minsk, with its ‘Eastern’ heritage, is instead deeply rooted in Europe.

Addressing many aspects of Minsk’s and Belarus’ historical identity, Klinau shows also the tension between the city and the Empire, manifesting its coercion on the urban space in various forms, in a dialectic relation with philosophic and aesthetic traditions of Utopia. As a result, the proposed text bridges between “actual Minsk” and “potential or desired Minsk”, finally letting the city’s oppressed ego meet with its own manifestation.

 

Key words: Minsk, utopia, city, text, semiotics


Full Text:

HTML PDF

References


Akudovich, Valiantsin. Mjane Niama. Rozdumy Na Ruinakh Chalaveka. (Belarusian). Minsk: Fragmenty, 1998.

---. “Misto, Jakogo Nema.” (Belarusian). Nezalezhnyj Kulturologichnyj Chasopis 18 (1998): 72-86. Algarotti, Francesco. Viaggi di Russia. Torino: Einaudi, 1961.

Applebaum, Anne. Between East and West. Across the Borderlands of Europe. New York: Pantheon Books, 1994.

Babkou, Ihar. Królewstwo Białoruś. Interpretacja Ru(i)n.Wrocław: KEW, 2008.

Barykina, Natalia. “Architecture and Spatial Practices in Post-Communist Minsk.” Tradition, Cultural Boundaries and Identity Formation in Central Europe and Beyond 8.2 (2008): n. pag. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Baudrillard, Jean “Simulacra and Simulations.” Selected Writings. Ed. Mark Poster. Stanford University Press, 1998.

___ “The Indifference of Space.” International journal of Jean Baudrillard Studies 4.1 (2007): n. pag. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Bemporad, Elissa. Becoming Soviet Jews. The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.

___ “Minsk”. YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. n. pag. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Bekus, Nelly. Struggle Over Identity. The Official and the Alternative Belarusiannes. Budapest: CEU Press, 2010.

Borzęcki, Jerzy. The Soviet-Polish peace of 1921 and the Creation of Interwa Europe.Yale University Press, 2008.

Brio, Valentina. Poeziia i Poetika Goroda: Wilno – Vilne – Vilnius. (Russian) Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozreniie, 2008.

Campanella, Tommaso. La Citta’ del Sole. Lugano: 1826.

Derrida, Jacques. Adesso L’Architettura.Ed. F. Vitale, Trans. H.Scelza. Milano: Libri Scheiwiller, 2008.

Jung, Carl Gustav. Psychology of the Unconscious. London: 2013. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Klinau, Artur. Mińsk. Przewodnik po Mieście Słońca. Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2008.

Kulagin, Anatolij. Minsk: istoricheskij ocherk. (Russian) Minsk: 1994.

Lazzarini, Anna. “Polis in Fabula”. Metamorfosi Della Città Contemporanea. Palermo: Sellerio, 2011.

Lefebvre, Henry. The Production of Space. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

Levinas, Emmanuel. "The Trace of the Other," in Deconstruction in Context, ed. M. Taylor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. 345-359.

Lotman, Yuri and Boris Uspenskii, “On the Semiotic Mechanism of Culture.”New Literary History 9.2 (1978): 211-232. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Nabokov, Vladimir, Trans. The Song of Igor's Campaign, Igor son of Svyatoslav and grandson of Oleg. 1-863. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Nocuń, Małgorzata, Andrzej Brzeziecki. Ograbiony Naród. Rozmowy z Intelektualistami Białoruskimi. Wrocław: KEW, 2008.

Petronis, Vytautas. Constructing Lithuania: Ethnic Mapping in Tsarist Russia, ca. 1800-1914. Acta Universitatis Scockholmensis 91. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wicksell, 2007.

Rewers, Ewa. Post-Polis. Wstęp do Filozofii Ponowoczesnego Miasta. Kraków: TAiWPN Universitas, 2010.

Rudling, Per Anders. The Rise and Fall of Belarusian Nationalism 1906-1931. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015.

Simmel, Georg. “Venice.” Theory, Culture & Society 24.7-8 (2007): 42-46.

Shybeka, Zakhar. Garadskaia Tsyvilizatsyia: Belarus’ i Svet. (Belarusian)Vilnius: European University of Humanities, 2008.

Titarenko, Larisa and Anna Shirokanova, “The phenomenon of Minsk the City Space and the Cultural Narrative”, Limes: Borderland Studies 4.1(2011): 21–35. Web. Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Venclova, Tomas. “The City as Object of Nostalgia.” Cracovian Kresy’s Journal 03 (2011): 123-137. Web. Accessed 7 October, 2016.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.