Amphibious Trilogies

Rising out of the taiga & delta

The sandy soil and pools of rainwater that lie still beside brand new apartment blocks suggest that the city is built on shifting surfaces. This is an urban landscape where water seeps into the reedy roadsides not only beside the airport runway and road into the city but beside the repeated concentrations of dilapidated square wooden houses, whose peeling surfaces and curtained windows cannot detract from the way they lean and have shifted in the passage of time. In the city centre these buildings have been restored, a marker of the city’s history and now a tourist attraction.

This is a city that has seen much change and yet remains afloat beside the delta. The delta too is a symbolic and cultural one, marked out across the built character of the city. The force of the movement of the river and changing economic and political climates are apparent above ground. The city sits some three metres above the water yet the horizon is pitted with numerous lofty structures, the church domes a cultural religious revisionism of sorts against the ever present 1964 Soviet TV tower that must have foundations the are sunk deep into these lowlands.

Today, we meet light rain, a peal of thunder, and changing reflections of the sky on the river’s surface. Intermittent shafts of bright light illuminate the flow of water between sky and river, between puddled city streets and the movement of new model cars and the grinding gears of the fleet of rusty Soviet era city buses with their plumes of polluting diesel.

This is an industrial city to where massive pulp and paper works have leached their chemicals back into the environment. There are cycles of the human on non-human here, where the Anthropocene is present and where changes in state between land and sea, between soil and water and anchorage and passage are dynamic.


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