Thursday, September 29, 2011

Industrial Landscapes Photography Exhibition

"Industrial Landscapes" Exhibition at Novotel City Centre in Moscow

During the past two years in Russia, I have explored the ideas of abandonment, isolation, nostalgia and renewal as a result of the transition from Soviet Union to Modern Russia.  First arriving as a Student in Moscow in 1991, just after the August Coup, I have since carried with me a sense of nostalgia about that time and place. 

Moscow is made up of fascinating industrial landscapes.  To me, an Industrial Landscape is really any urban horizon, in which so many elements come into play: Geography, Topography, Urban Planning (or lack thereof), Geometry, History, Perception (which is a reflection of our nostalgia, memory, reality).

I have been exploring these elements, and how we live amidst Industrial Landscapes, and even how we spend our leisure time in and around them.  they are inescapable to the modern urban dweller.  Once I began noticing these in Russia, I noticed them everywhere.  (some examples exhibited here are from Kazakhstan and the United States).

Intriguing to me is the contrast between what is new, unfettered by nostalgia, and what is, old, original, abandoned, half-finished or unfinished.  A traditional location of leisure, such as Moscow’s Serebryanny Bor is contrasted with recently-built buildings in the background.  an old industrial site, such as Seattle’s Gasworks, is turned into a park, filled with bike riders, sun bathers and walking paths.

In some of these Industrial Landscapes we see that the useful life of certain abandoned objects has come to an end, but, in their after-life, they have transformed into symbols which echo a nostalgia, a past, and sometimes, a hope for renewal:  Used tires by the roadside, or an abandoned power line tower lying on its side, not yet removed but replaced by another tower.  In others we see how difficult it is to escape anything industrial, even in our leisure time. 
In cases such as the railroad, an icon of the industrial age, we use it to travel, escape.  And for many, the train and even the Particular station itself evokes a sense of adventure and the unknown coupled with separation and good-byes, and therefore, memories and an inescapable Nostalgia. 

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