MotW: History as daily escape adventure

Author: Benjamin Franz


History accompanies us everywhere in everyday life and yet it only becomes really noticeable in an everyday escape. Letranger' has recognized this and dedicates an entire model to this.


Didn't I say that I miss visiting museums in my last article? Well visiting historical places is something I miss at least as much as visiting museums. It is just so exciting to see what could have been in the past and what is left of it today. 


As you know the study of history is not only a stubborn, sober and fact-based examination of sources and literature, but is also emotionally demanding. This emotional basis feels even more intense in historical places. So visiting them and feeling their special atmosphere is for me as well a very enjoyable alternative to reading, writing and discussing history. It's a sweet escape.


History is all the time around us but we don't always notice this. But if we are aware of the history of our place, we can use it to escape from our everyday life. The creator of the model which I want to talk to you about today understood this. He shows us in a wonderful representation and very discreetly, the historical tourism.



"Celtic Adventure" by Letranger Absurde.

A trip with friends into the countryside to a historical place. 

Unfortunately not possible in the meantime. Therefore in the model even more beautiful.  



Broken paws


In our today's model we see two young women sitting on a picnic blanket. They have a bowl of biscuits in front of them. Their dog is in front of their scooter on the right side. Their bags are leaning against the tree stump on the left. Behind it we see an island with an old masonry. Very probably a castle from times gone by. Clearly marked by time.


On a closer look we notice the angle from which this photo of the model was taken.  It is supposed to look like the two of them are on a cliff and the island is not only in the distance but also deeper. But Letranger didn't succeed in doing this quite as well, though. He noticed this himself when he tried it again with this picture.


We are looking at a very beautiful model. It is aesthetically very appealing. Alone the matching of the colours is beautifully harmonious. You feel like you' re in a place like this. It looks believable to you. The different colouring of the water and the smooth transition gives the whole model more depth. Something that is often achieved in the LEGO world, as in art, only through certain techniques. Also on the island the coordination of the colours is in tune with each other. This can be seen in the fact that the beach on the island is designed in tan and has a gentle transition to the interior of the country on sandy green and olive green. As well as to the rocks at the edge of the island to our right side.


I would like to pick out these rocks in particular. They are made especially chic. What I like the most is the use of these paws or claws that are actually just another modified plate (27261) that was introduced in the year 2017. These serve the same purpose here as the designers of the original LEGO sets already used, as sharp clips. These serve the same purpose here as the designers of the original LEGO sets already used, as sharp clips.


The nice thing about LEGO bricks, if not even the purpose behind it, is that you can use the bricks in any other way you want. So Letranger does not only use them horizontally on the rocks but also vertically on the remains of the castle walls.


Here, this part serves to make the cracks in the wall more visible, thus reinforcing the impression that we are only dealing with remains of a castle. Basically, of course, this also gives us, apart from the plot, a temporal orientation as to when the mentioned situation is supposed to take place. In the present.


All this makes the whole thing a really attractive LEGO model. But there is more behind every appealing LEGO model.



The broken paws serve both as rocks and ruined castle walls. Both fit well.



Retro LEGO-Land


Because an attractive LEGO model also offers us connections for communication. It is more than just beautiful. It has something to say. Often the statements are only very subtle and only a deeper look lets us imagine what the artist might want to tell us.


Today's model is about an everyday escape. The excursion into the countryside to a historical place is intended to turn back time and relax. In our constantly changing society, a trip to historical places becomes a kind of deceleration. In this place, with these feelings, we are no longer in the - maybe desolate - world of everyday life. But at another, perhaps felt better time. 


So there is no travel catalogue that does not promise that the visited place is characterized by untouched nature, that the culture there is still traditional and that the buildings like an old town or a castle are still original and/or authentic. A journey into an undeclared past is the destination par excellence [1]. The only possible time travel, however, which takes place only in our head and does not show us the past as "it really was", but projects our ideas, hopes and dreams from the present into our image of the past. This is not academic, but very beautiful.



Final thoughts

We see the feeling of the past is an adventure. Maybe even that adventure. If we think of the Indiana Jones movies, these ultimate adventure movies, we see his trips to historical places all the time. From the temples in Peru, the burial chambers in Cairo, the catacombs in Venice etc. These are all historical places and therefore foreign places that 'needed' to be discovered [2]. The perfect adventure setting. Just as LEGO itself has already staged several times.


Letranger understood that too. On Flickr, under his picture, he asks the question of where we have always wanted to go in life?


"Ever wanted to get go on an AirBnB adventure? A canal boat in Amsterdam, a lighthouse in Maine, a private island in the Caribbean - what kind of exotic experience would you choose?"


When he asks us these questions whether we have not always wanted to go to these places, he offers us an "exotic" opportunity to escape from everyday life. And that is exactly what the two young women in the picture are doing. Their exotic excursion into a decelerated, everyday, alien world. Right into the past.




[1] Cf. Valentin Groebner: Retroland. Geschichtstourismus und die Sehnsucht nach dem Authentischen, Frankfurt a. Main 2018.

[2] Please keep in mind that this whole adventure theme is full of white-colonialism narratives. Foreign places (foreign mostly for the European conquerers) were brutally robbed from early modern times onwards from the people already living there. Colonialist narratives can be found both in the LEGO Adventures series and in the films of Indiana Jones. Not surprisingly. The Adventures series is clearly inspired by the Indiana Jones movies.



The concept: MotW (Moc of the Week)

I would like to introduce my "Moc of the Week" to you weekly. The whole thing shouldn't be longer than today's article.


I do this to do justice to the LEGO brick as a medium for art, for example. For that you need to reflect on the individual models. Those models I am discussing here have simply earned this reflection. In our so fast moving internet, models have disappeared as quickly as they came and can rarely create a lasting impression. This is also due to the fact that the engagement with the builds is much too superficial. If it is more intensive, we can gain more from the whole thing and that's my goal to achieve. Taking the works of others seriously and appreciating the time they have spent to show us their beautful builds.