This map is a part of the “Two Kilo of Duranda” project that started in January 2022 and continued into its third season in September 2023. The idea behind it is to share diary entries from witnesses of the Leningrad siege. These entries are posted on a Telegram channel with an 82-year time gap from when they were actually written.

During the first season, when the war in Ukraine began, there were doubts about whether to continue posting these diary notes. However, it turned out to be a valuable initiative. Many people found comfort in reading about the experiences of those who lived through the blockade. It helped them deal with collective trauma, allowed for deep reflection, and sometimes even gave them hope.

Deadly times diaries map

After two seasons of the Telegram channel, the creators decided to take the project to a more practical level. They made this interactive map, which features specific places in the city mentioned in the diary entries. This way, readers can connect with the topic on a spatial level. People in St. Petersburg can use the map to plan walks, and this changes how they see the city. It makes them notice different buildings with their own histories. People who are not in St. Petersburg but have some connection to the city, whether they’ve lived there or visited, can also relate to it through this map. Even those who have never been to the city can explore its history through the stories of its residents.

Reading these diaries exposes people to a set of facts that sometimes challenge ethical standards. It shows how individuals can act both compassionately and inhumanely under extreme conditions. However, every such experience is important.

The project creators consider themselves as collectors and conveyors of information. Their main goal is to highlight the tragedy and preserve the memories of ordinary people. The people chosen for the Telegram channel may have different perspectives, but sharing them is crucial because it helps counter official narratives and provides an alternative to various types of propaganda, including how the modern propaganda portrays the blockade.

In the picture you can see the way we exhibited the digital map during the exhibition in Berlin. There is a printed old map of Leningrad on the wall. The exhibit is shown with the help of touch-screen. There is a big wooden box with the screen in the middle. By touching certain buttons the visitors could filter the contents of the map and read diary entries. In from of the touch screen there is a chair. The is a mild warm light on the background.