|| orientation | compass | orthodox mass | military movements | baba dusja | hand bells | ghost congregation | author's note ||
We go to speak with Baba Dusja Smirnov, who lives in the K@2 building on the second floor.
By invitation, we ask her to open the door to her life of 77 years, her story, and record the conversation. It is important to us to approach the content of locative media beginning from the person with as little of our influence as possible. The method is to learn and listen to what is important to her.
The smells of herbs and medicine are waiting. An invite into another world of different colours and the things that are wearing those colours. There are fragments of multi-coloured fabric on the table and scraps on the floor. A black package lies wrapped up in string.
She speaks of her life story which takes you though her life from Gomela in Russia, to Shuvashy, and eventually to here, Liepaja. She arrived in Karosta because her daughter was married to a man connected with the navy-base in town. Her husband followed her to Lativa, but died at the end of the 1980s. Her daughter moved out of town when the Soviet army withdrew from Karosta in 1994, leaving Baba Dusja alone there, without family.
She speaks of the Cathedral near her house, it's going-ons, her involvement in it, recommending the celebration of St. Olga, her favourite saint. She also says that two friends from the Cathedral come to visit her at home, as she doesnt go out so often.
We ask her if she were to make a few pictures of something in her room that was important to her, what would it be: She mentions the Cathedral in her house - the iconostasis in the corner - and the sewing machine which looks out of the window.
It appears that she sits there often. We ask her if she can show us how she is sewing an apron, which she agrees, and after changing headscarf, and clearing space, she begins with a measured foot movement. The pedal turns the old Singer machine, and stitches bind a seam in the fabric.
Before the interview ends, Signe and Dujsa make a portrait of each other:
She was happy that we were again in the Cathedral for St. Olga's mass the next day. This time we stayed to look at the icons. Our eyes followed Baba Dusja as she went round each icon that had meaning for her, pausing for longer at the old one she had brought originally from Russia.