During my regular walks along the coast of the Gulf of Finland, I thought about the sea, where humankind comes from and how the city came into being. Studying historical and archaeological sources, I found that the place at which people are living now once used to be the seabed. The sea has not always been the Baltic Sea, but different – already in our times, it was called “Litorinovoe”, named after snails that have been living in coastal waters. I began exploring quarries and ledges, sculptures and ruins, caves and temples. All of them consist of limestone and marble, which are made up of organic compounds that were once shells of shellfish that used to live in these places.
At the beginning of the 18th century, a young Russian ruler became inspired by utopian ideas from abroad and decided to build a city here. He adopted technical innovations and applied aesthetic principles, but discarded the ethical and legal foundations of Western Christian societies of that time. Choosing a shortcut, Peter I founded a city without roots, a simulacrum of a city, a secondary utopia – a city that became the capital of the Russian state for 200 years.
Wandering along the shore, I, without noticing it, began a journey through time from Egyptian pyramids and Greek sculptures up to palaces and the ideas of statehood and governments themselves. By taking photographs of the city and its foundations in detail, I begin creating a new simulacrum, contemplating what else this land could be. I imagine this land and this city as an endless snail, which, due to its size, becomes incomprehensible to an observer’s view. I call this territory the Litorrea snail – like a pioneer of something new that has not been discovered before.