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Miguel Proenca

A Baltic Buzz.

For his latest project ‘The Buzzer’, Portuguese documentary photographer Miguel Proenca turns his lens to the former Russian-West buffer zone, the Baltics, focusing on identity shifts in a region heavily influenced by both sides.

4625 kHz.

4 ½ decades.

24 hours a day.

7 days a week.

A mysterious room in Russia has been broadcasting the same monotonous tone since the Cold War. Every few seconds a nasal foghorn blares through the hum, joined once or twice a week by somebody reading out a few words in Russian: Anna, dinghy, Ivan, farming specialist

Colloquially, it’s known as The Buzzer.

And nobody knows its purpose.

A reminder of the tensions, conspiracies and conflicting ideologies between Russia and the West, the noise acts as a sonic representation of how the Cold War is still rippling out from past to present.

 

Miguel Proenca’s latest photography project ‘The Buzzer’ captures it in a visual twist. Travelling around Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – the former buffer zone of Russia and the West – Proenca focuses on the ways in which the two superpowers have moulded and morphed identities in Baltic countries throughout the decades, interspersing archive photos with his own in a kind of compare and contrast exercise.

 

The result is arresting, intriguing, illuminating. Though perhaps most importantly, it confronts misinformation and sheds light on characters and atmospheres less seen in the mainstream. Something very much needed in a post-truth information war-ridden world.

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