In the first half of the nineteenth century, Japanese painter and printmaker KatsushikaHokusai produced a series of prints entitled ‘Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji’. Inspired by this artistic feat, I’ve captured thirty-six images of the small mining town of Degtyarsk in the Russian region of Sverdlovsk, at each end of which we find two huge waste heaps. The two mountains of dead rock are visible from all angles, an environmental catastrophe that is the daily horizon for the inhabitants of Degtyarsk. The city grew with copper mining – an activity that left its mark on the landscape – and its consequences.
Back in the 1950s, standard housing construction began in Soviet Russia due to industrialization, urbanization and socialist ideology. As a result, people found themselves huddled up in rough, featureless and barren spaces of bedroom communities and huge factories. Standardized design in 1950-1990s impaired the country’s culture tremendously. Russian cities have lost their identity and distinction.
Nevertheless, in these surroundings people are still trying to build their own micro-worlds, fighting for the right to be special, to have some comfort. Thus the desire to see something living and natural around, to see elements of national culture breaks through the dead concrete geometry of the cities.
The project goal is to explore the attempts, methods and exertions of people fighting the standard industrial and urban spaces they are forced to live in. The work on the project will take place in the Middle Urals (Russia), in several industrial cities.