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  #21  
Old 07-21-2016, 02:53 AM
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However, the very miracle of gathering the world through photography as a special kind of quantization of History appears to be entwined with the marvellously kind message which only the purest of heart and most courageous artists are capable of: yes, the world truly is sick - but is it not curable! Not the epic photographs alone permeated with the eternal motif of the comeback of Hope spotlight this therapeutic ideal: three girls against the background of the castle (p. 263); a behat-ted burgher dragging a two-wheeled barrow with a boy (p. 273); a pram with a tiny baby in it featuring against the ruins of an old church - Kirche - on the bank of the Lower Pond (p. 291); an Easter Vigil amidst the rubble of the CathedraL (p. 349), and others.This therapy is illuminated in many a wonderful face of the parallel memory; due to the photographic miracle those faces are preserved in History, in the common denominator of clandestine Hope.

lt is iLluminated even if those faces show some veiled sadness, as in the 1908 picture of four sisters who seem to be expecting some major event in their future - like the three sisters in the eponymous play by Anton Chekhov. The Chekhov's characters'exclamation "To Moscow! To Moscow!" epitomizes the illusionary commonplace of Hope - and how about Maxim Popov's gathered world?

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  #22  
Old 07-21-2016, 02:53 AM
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Hardly would it be Konigsberg, which has become a myth in the new Post- reality of the contemporary city.The quantum mechanics of the energy of Hope emanating from the face of a Soviet soldier, travelling in April 1945 in a truck, with the magnificent rubble of the castle in the background of the picture (p. 89); or the bewildering expressions on the faces of Soviet peasant women of 1949 (p. 269); or yet the faces of an artist's children from 1919: it is the mechanics of the vital new quality of forward movement. In the Christian sense, this new quality means the resurrection of the'crucified love', while in the Kantian sense it implies the priority of the moral law over all other laws: "Behave in such a way that the choice of your wilL every minute could become a law for all". Hence the movement in the memory's parallel worlds paradoxically takes us back to Konigsberg. However, the meta-symbolism of the name of the city - King's Mount - in which the symbol of the Mountain

as a topos of proximity to the heavenly world matches the symbol of King as the epitome of utmost historical subjectiveness, which does not destroy worlds but creates and preserves them. It is the symbolism of the innermost essence of every individual as a "shepherd of life", as someone is compelled to bear sole responsibility not for himself, or be accountable to his own conscience, but is answerable for the entire world in light of the parallel memory professed by the most trustworthy personalities in world history - from Plato to Ghandi.from Hermes Trismegistus to Einstein, and many others. It is exactly what Christ meant when he 'went up the mountain' (Mathew 5.1) to teach: "You are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mathew 5.48).

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Old 07-21-2016, 02:54 AM
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This meta-symbolism is prized by Maxim Popov, with his project in its utmost therapeutic ideal, primarily based on the curative powers of memory, known under various names in cultural history: morality hinted at in national folklores; the humane impact of arts in the light of the myth of Mnemosyne (Gr.for memory) who gave birth to the nine Muses; Plato's philosophy of anamnesis (Gr. for recollection); the catharsis of the soul achieved through the tragic experience, from Aristotle to the existentialists of the 20th century; 'remembrance of death' in Christian theology; and many more.

All those projects of parallel memory are intended to evoke in man the absolute measure of the world and history, otherwise called the cosmic memory' - the measure man is endowed with, either by the evolution (with the atheists), or by the Creator (with the believers). Essentially, it is the absolute, transferring man to the epicentre of responsibility and relieving him of the illusionary 'relativity theories'- that is, of the postulates explaining the evil by the dependence of man on various factors, from ideologies to biological laws. It is those'relativity theories'that lead to multitudinous'mad rallies' in which the force of de-humanization is comparable to a nuclear chain reaction.

This force shows in Maxim Popov's photographic collection, where the pictures unveil how the disease of the world is concentrated in the mass, be it the marching Nazi, or any other form of the accumulated - striding or static - evil. Masses in the parallel memory are either depersonalized, as in the photo of the gigantic auditorium in the Haus der Technik during Hitler's speech on ApriL 5, 1932 (p. 79); or it is emphatically fanatical, as in the appalling photographs taken in the Erich Koch Square (pp. 205, 230), and in other squares too. This logic of'marching towards the abyss'appears to be the main symptom of the 'disease of the world' entangled in the cobweb of false reality. The new quality of history implies the exit from this rally, which is wonderfully, or even mystically reflected in the many photographs in the album.

Those pictures unveil an astoundingly deep conflict, not just of frames of mind, but of the codes of life and death', as is in the too serious a glance of a not-too-smartly dressed boy who is peeping out of the festive crowd of demonstrators out on the streets to celebrate Labour Day on May 1,1949 (p. 209). Or there is another glance - that of a Wehrmacht soldier of the 1st Air Defence Regiment you see in the right-hand upper corner of a 1936 photo: the soldier's look is unlike that of the rest taking part in the binge. Both photographs carry the uttermost documentary value of photography, which consists in the co-existence of strangeness and de-familiarization. It is in this co-existence and simultaneity compressed in the minute space that the true history shows through, contrasting with the false reality, which has filled the better part of photographic space.

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Old 07-21-2016, 02:54 AM
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Hope appears to be inversely proportional to the disease of existence materialized in the mass rally; however, the life's quanta would forever come through the 'black holes' of the historical madness and the increasing gravitation of evil, because even if the 'mystery of lawlessness is already at work' (the 2nd epistle to the Thessalonians, 2,7), there would always be those who are blessed with the mystery of Hope, Faith and Charity.

In the Parallel Memory there are many of them, who bear the codes of life' in the hardest of times, as, for example, those women returning to Kdnigsberg in a convoy in April 1945: in the middle of the inferno that is reflected in the faces of the hungry exhausted children, they are making an attempt to smile!

Women and children in this book are closer to the ontology of Hope for they appear to be the most recognizable upholders of the energies of the codes of life' in their resistance to the codes of death'which dominate in the paraLlel chronotopes of Konigsberg-Kaliningrad. It is them that in the parallel memory often represent the optics of the epos and its law of Hope, opposing the optics of the tragedy in the clash of genres. That is why the boy standing on the bank of the Pregel and peeing into the river of Time carves an epic figure on a 1969 photograph (p. 333).

The optics of Hope in the Parallel Memory are driven by their own force, hardly an evolutionary one; it is rather of in-volutionary character, for the post-war photography reflects some strange 'cooling of life'as it approaches the modern Post-reality. Something new has emerged, and it is related to the eternal borderline between the Appearance and the Disappearance (as in the photo Victory Square, p. 395); between the energy of Keeping and the historical Exhaustion; and ultimately - between Hope and Hopelessness.

The new faces of the 'people on the bus stop' (p. 389) of Post-history are hard to compare to the faces of the first settlers; the former ones show some strange entropy of faith and kindness... The energy of epos which is always connected to Hope and Memory, is always receding to give way to the assault of tragedy, which is forever permeated with amnesia and historical short-sightedness.

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Old 07-21-2016, 02:55 AM
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It is hard to overlook that the Gatherer of the world himself, Maxim Popov, finds himself in the epicentre of the above said conflict of the genres. His essay is permeated with the tragic mood and scepticism about the therapeutic power affecting historical amnesia and moral blindness. In its epic grandeur, the very material of the Parallel Memory appears to eclipse the author's intention, with the major quantum of Hope breaking through. That is why Maxim Popov's epic message from his Parallel Memory is doomed to find its way to people's hearts. So did the Open letter of 1882 that features in the epigraph: in spite of mistakes and corrections it found its way from Starokonstantinovto Kdnigsberg.

It will, for it comes from the depths of hearts of the author and his co-authors; it comes from the bottom of the heart of the innumerable addressers who are watching us from the Past: an officer of the Crown Prince's
Regiment, with his wife in the faded daguerreotype of 1840 (p. 409); or a girl from a picture of 2010 (p. 407). In spite of the disparities of individual cosmoses, this watching has some common denominator that unites them all into a whole world full of sense - the world created by Maxim Popov. His open letter from the Konigsberg's parallel world is a letter about You, Man.

Thou art the 'silver cord', Thou art the 'golden bowl', Thou art the 'pitcher at the fountain', Thou art the 'wheel at the cistern'.

Vladimir Gilmanov

Professor of the Department of Foreign Philology. Immanuel Kant University
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