Aesthetics of Boredom

by kamilla kuna


Text is a part of Master Thesis “Aesthetics of Boredom in post-soviet neighbourhoods. Multisensory experience of Laumas microdistrict in Liepaja, Latvia.” (full text available here)

When I was eight years old, I moved to a new neighborhood, making a nine-story block building my new home. Subordinating my life to the strategy of soviet concrete, my everydayness was constructed on this microdistrict. Every time going to the city center felt like something special, constantly feeling like an outsider who tries to catch up with the latest news and trends happening in the town. No doubt, it was an event filled with an overwhelming amount of new impressions and experiences. In the neighborhood where I grew up, I spent my time either at home or school. I do remember pinching small tiles of the soviet buildings and the smell of concrete. You know, when you have played outside for too long, and your hands become dirty and grey, smelling like cold steel.

My classmates were living nearby, making it easy to walk together from school through the different yards. Experiencing other courtyards made the same routes more exciting. But in the evenings, the only place to play was the yard in front of my building windows; in that way, I was able to yell loudly “mammu” if I needed anything. Or my mum would call me from an open window when it was time to go inside.

I moved to the city center when I was fourteen. I decided to change schools and never go back. Yet, whenever I go to a post-soviet neighborhood, I feel at home - being surrounded by block buildings feels soothing, even calming. However, I am not a part of that place anymore, but the footprints from the environment will always be a part of me and many more. Here I ask myself; will post-soviet neighborhoods vanish away, leaving a trace of memories? What can be done to awaken the sleeping blocks, giving them a chance to thrive again instead of creating material and immaterial feelings of the void? It is time to look into space where the current lifestyle does not represent the ideology behind the built environment.

i grew up with different scenes behind my window
yet only blocks kept filling head with empty mirrors
looking back, the noise was bigger than it seemed
now or never, the boredom should be pushed to succeed


i wish to preserve what might look empty
and build my own understanding of those mirrors
denial makes me rethink and reconsider
the everydayness of boring blocks and heavy statements

kamilla kuna 2022