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Podium with
an object in its centre:

Reflective Crystal
in the Centre of Europe

Contemporary mythology:
Myths about the centre of Europe and the crystal in the swamp
Monumental works:
The National Library of Belarus in Minsk and the sign-monument of the geographical centre of Europe in Polotsk

One of the contemporary myths about Belarus is that the geographical centre of Europe lies in our country. Numerous studies have challenged it, arguing that the centre of Europe is outside of Belarus. However, one of such studies claims it is located near Polotsk, near Lake Sho. This endless dispute about the ‘centre of Europe' diverging into different geographic directions is symbolised by the hexagon, a geometric shape also used as a template for the display podium on which the objects are placed.

In the centre of the podium lies a rhombicuboctahedron, its shape refers to the National Library of the Republic of Belarus. It is the most recognizable architectural structure from the time of Alexander Lukashenko’s administration. Contemporary myths regularly mention the building and its construction – they narrate it as giant magical pagan crystal built on a swamp (swamp being an important mystical symbol in Belarusian legends). In the framework of this project, the marble crystal becomes a core of the podium, resembling an altar for occult ceremonies. The 18 square and 8 triangular facets of the crystal seem to reflect those diverse ‘ideas of Europe’ that aspire to its centre and are transformed or rejected in the local context.1 The whole installation is a collective image of the myths and legends of contemporary Belarus, frozen in the form of its objects.

1. Drawing depicting the National Library o the Republic of Belarus

2. Monument of the geographical centre of Europe in Polotsk

3. Coordinates on the
monument. In 2000, Belarusian scientists Alexey Solomonov and Valery Anoshko published the results of a study according to which the geographical center of Europe is located 48 km south-west of Polotsk, not far from Lake Sho (exact coordinates: 55 ° 10’55” N, 28 ° 15’30” E)

4. Literary festival in Polotsk ‘ Center of Europe’

5. Logo of ‘Crystal’, the best known Belarussian holding company for the production of wine and spirits

6. Model of the National Library. Under the decree of Lukashenko, every Belarusian financially contributed to the construction of the building

Note:
1. Number 18 is very important for Sergey Shabohin’s cycle of works ‘Practices of Subordination’, where the entire extensive archive is divided into 18 equal parts.