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Kaja Puto: Keleti bloc blocks

”Keleti blok blokki” (Hungarian for 'the apartment blocks of the Eastern Block') is a game in which players try to guess the geographical location of apartment blocks featured on screens from Google Street View or photographs submitted by one of the participants. The photos can be censored for obvious clues (like street signs or registration plates).

The game counters the popular belief that apartment blocks looked all alike from Eastern Germany all the way to Vladivostok. In the wider context, the game challenges the perception of the countries forming the Eastern Bloc as one monolith, described by the Western powers as ”the East". ”Keleti blok blokki” constitutes a research an intersection of visual anthropology (from the perspective of the semiotics of urban space mediated by the Google Street View camera), sociology (researching stereotypes about the countries of the Eastern Block (successfully) employed by the participants of the game, and digital literary studies (the explanations the participants write for their guesses often have the form of short, witty literary descriptions.) The presentation will feature an explanation of the rules of the game and its many context, as well as a practical demonstration of how to play.

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