„Nearly 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unipolar has ceased to exist, and the empire is trying to regain its position in the region. Its power of influence radiates into the former Soviet republics, changing their attitudes and taking a variety of forms: the conflicts or accelerated national identity formation.  For past 6 years Sputnik Photographers have been investigating if the people living in post-soviet countries still need to be awed by something that does not formally exist any longer.“

"This is not real life" © Dominika Gesicka

There is a place where no one is born and no one dies. Of course you can die anywhere but you cannot be buried here as it has been discovered that bodies fail to decompose here. You cannot be born here because pregnant women are to return to the mainland to give birth. There are no cats, no trees, no traffic lights. There is no amusement park, but there is a circus troupe. In the winter time it is completely dark, but in the summer sun never sets. The place is called Longyearbyen and it is the largest settlement and an administrative center of Svalbard. It is also the world’s northernmost city. Although it is difiicult to regard it the best place to live, many people fall in love with it at first sight. Some people came here just for two weeks and stayed for five years or more, but not many decide to settle down here permanently. Sometimes you have an impresssion that people here are trying to escape from something; that this is just a retreat. This is not a real life.

I done all photos in Japan, but it is not a story about this country. Although I have used its traditions and religion. And the fact, that for me, it was a completely unknown territory. The main motive is the Shinto, japan mythology (yokai) and way of thinking about the sacred. But Shinto is another cover, artificial dictionary which allowed me to understand what I say. It is in the Japanese relationship to nature, something to give me hope, the conviction that we are part of nature, that we not strayed too far.

The starting point of my work is the question of the reality behind identity-forming images in an ever changing society, the production and the conditions, its readability and reception. I ask for the mutual conditionality of photo- graphy and architecture, as well as the reciprocal dependency of both of these language systems. I am interested in their interplay and the relation of the image and illustratability. Based on the assumption that both photography as well as architecture can equally be utilized in a judgemental and manipulative way, I try to analyze the possibi- lities and problems of the constructing qualities of these two genres. Photography is by no means regarded as a medium producing pure reality any longer, but it is seen as an autonomous medium with judgemental, interpretative characteristics. The same can be said about architecture.

Turkish Empire was governing lands from Hungary to Georgia, from Algiers to Eritrea over half of millennium. Its collapse gave countries to the generations which lived under Turkish occupation. These terrains are still suffering from shakes which are echoes of the history. We can find traces of it in the landscape: ruined houses in Bosnia, empty terrains near Kars in eastern Anatolia where millions of Armenians used to live, removed faces of Saints from Serbian, Macedonian, Romanian monasteries, ruins of Trapezunt or Ani. We can read sub consciousness of former Ottoman Empire nations from their landscapes. The more we travel through former Empire of Turks the more we notice the impact of hundreds years of cultural, economical and religious occupation on landscape of todays Bulgaria, Albania or Greece. Genius landscape painter John Constable said: We see nothing truly till we understand it.

Metropolitan can refer to a citizen of a metropolis, especially one who has the sophistication, urbane attitudes and values. In the past, word ‘metropole’ have been used to describe metropolitan centre of the British Empire considering London as a cultural, financial and diplomatic heart of the empire. To these days London continued it’s position as en ever-growing global city and most important city in Europe.

The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw – less and less a symbol of Stalinist domination, more and more an icon of the city. It evokes strong emotions all the while remaining largely unexplored, and as such a tad alien. At the time of planning, in 1952, the monumental structure was intended to transform the scale of Warsaw cityscape. The skyscrapers that now cluster to the west of the Palace compete with the building. Nonetheless, due to vast and empty parade grounds surrounding it, the Palace towers over Warsaw thus far unthreatened. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the demolition of the Palace was repeatedly debated, although never seriously considered. In 2007 the building was finally listed.

Long Before” is an expression of longing for nature and its connection with our ancestors. Nature in Diana Lelonek’s works is extraordinary – tempting and disturbing at the same time. It evokes a stream of contrasting emotions: longing, fascination and anxiety.

The very first thing that I saw in Skopje was the construction of a 25-meter tall figure of a warrior on horseback which, from what I later found out, was the statue of Alexander the Great.

The motivation to begin the project entitled “Sparks” was a desire to create a multifaceted portrait of a contemporary war. In particular a portrait of the conflict in Ukraine, which seems to be forgotten even though it is happening in Europe.