Birobidzhan Atlas is a film exploring Jewish Autonomous Region, an area that is located in the Far East of the Russian Federation. Founded by the Soviet government in 1934, the Jewish Autonomous Region became an official self-determined Jewish entity long before the establishment of the State of Israel.
The landscape had a harsh geography and climate: it was mountainous, covered with virgin forests of oak, pine and cedar, and also swamplands festering with mosquitoes, and any new settlers would have to build their lives from scratch in this underpopulated region on the border of contested Manchuria.
Birobidzhan is a town and the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Russia, located on the Trans-Siberian Railway, close to the border with China. It is named after the two rivers: the Bira and the Bidzhan, which are tributaries of the Amur. The city was planned by the second director of Bauhaus, Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, and established in 1931.
Birobidzhan Atlas employs Aby Warburg’s method of “montage-collision”, to build a representation of the area through combination of historical archives and documentation of today’s landscape, the relationship between the utopian and the represented landscape.
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