The work is an exploration of the extraordinary technological and cultural remnants of the former Soviet Union which can still be found hidden within ‘secret’ areas in isolated parts of the former USSR – secret cities untraceable on maps; military or scientific bases where access is strictly prohibited; extensive, deserted areas that were once locations for space technology or nuclear testing. The sites resonate as symbols of a regime striving to control not only nature and the harsh environment of the sites, but also its own people – the Soviet citizens. And yet, to counterbalance this lust for power and control, there is also a clear sense of a utopian vision of technological development.
Danila Tkachenko describes the project:
I travel in search of places which used to have great importance for technological progress – and which are now deserted. Those places lost their significance along with the utopian ideology which is now obsolete. Secret cities that cannot be found on maps, forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity. The perfect technocratic future that never came.
Danila Tkachenko (b. 1989 in Moscow, Russia) studied documentary photography at The Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia. His work has been exhibited internationally. Tkachenko has won the Lensculture Exposure Award, as well as a World Press Photo Award. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award and Magnum’s 30 under 30. He also published his first book, Escape, in 2014.