2 Kopli / Kopli Kase park, Kopli 85 / Maarja Nuut
Kopli is controvertially green but industrially gray extention of Tallinn centre. It is an area in North of Tallinn full of history of being a German Lutheran cemetary, a base for the Soviet Armed Forces, an industrial area full of factories, ports and housing for these workers. Moreover, its famous oak forest was destroyed during the Russian-Livonian war in the 15th century. It is now becoming slowly gentrified and is transforming its new identity as a new focal point for the capital.
Kopli peninsula has gone through many and somewhat drastic transformations over time. Once a loved picnic destination with its hilly landscape and many oak trees it turned into a heavy industrial district in the beginning of 20th century.
In 1912, two shipyards were built in a short period of time. The Russo-Baltic Shipyard was an extensive factory settlement constructed together with a service network - a hospital, a sauna, a canteen, shops, clubhouse, school, church - and had 7,500 employees alone.
Kopli Kase park is what is left of a forest that once covered the peninsula. Lined with tramway, old railway and Kopli Lines that first were a home to factory workers, then half-empty and used as hospitals when the typhoid epidemic broke out in 1919, later offered shelter to many Russian intellectuals and government officials who fled to Estonia from Soviet terror.
Efforts were made to turn the workers’ residential area into a contemporary, well-ordered district and from 1930s onwards Kopli was blooming. Until the Soviet occupation began in 1940 with shipyards being were allocated to military and paramilitary organisations. Crime increased, the social outcasts moved in and well-being quickly deteriorated. Kopli Lines were again half-abandoned, looted. In 2015 the area was bought by a real estate developer. The partly demolished buildings and wild coastline is changing every single day now and again, Kopli is on the brink of metamorphosis.
Kase Park to me feels like a meeting point of different aspects of Kopli. For two years I have been passing it every time I go to my studio.. mostly on bicycle, in winter I take a tram to Marati stop and then walk through it to Sepa street.
It is beautifully untamed as the lawn is mowed only twice during whole summer, birds and insects are loving it, and most importantly - local people are loving it. Probably the most peculiar sight a stranger can encounter there is to see small groups of men gathering in circle around different ancient glacial stones. A little wooden plate is placed on top of the stone to serve drams of vodka and small snacks. Daily news are discussed or whatever feels relevant, voices can be anything from whispering to loud simultaneous conversations. It all looks as if they’re performing some kind of a rite…And my ritual is to walk through this place.
In the piece I use a lot of field recordings that are audio files taken from videos I’ve made with my mobile phone in and around that Kase Park since 2016. While listener approaches the location those sounds might already be there and mix up with the natural environment but also might not, depending on a season and hour. I added a bit of vocals as I’m often humming small phrases when strolling about and and all of it is glued together with a whispering ticking of modular loop, reminding me of the single locomotive that passes from time to time, or the ever ongoing metamorphosis of Kopli.
Composed, performed and recorded by Maarja Nuut
Mixed by Evar Anvelt
Photo credit : Vic Lentaigne