22 jul. 2012

Simona Rota


Ostalgia is a photographic series developed during 2 years, between 2010 and 2012, born in the aftermath of a work of documentation for the Museum of Architecture from Vienna. As a photographer, I was part of a research group coordinated by the Museum whose mission was - under the name "Soviet Modern" - locating, rescue and study the Soviet archives related to the architecture that was promoted by the former USSR in its 15 republics between the ‘60s and the ‘80’s. The buildings documented in my travels for the purpose of this research group, are most often large structures of heroic air accompanied by huge oppressive public spaces where individuals are swallowed. They may have been designed and built as an expression of triumph while excessive public space and its correspondent small private spaces show a will of control over individuals’ public and even private life. Buildings, promoted by the regime, have bold designs, sometimes experimental and were favored by the search for an image of power, progress, prestige and economic success that should have been able to legitimize any plans and actions of the leading political powers. Big buildings that now may stand alike ridiculous giants, big dreams invalidated by history while the decadent atmosphere that reigns today in the former Soviet republics create a physical and virtual space on which it is easy to project anxiety, myths and nostalgia.

Pain of East - if we insist on making a literal translation of the word and concept Ostalgia - was born in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. If there before, we did not appoint it until the former East Germany, faced with rapid changes necessary for integration with its western half, felt homesick for its old identity in the process of dissolution. This yearning along with a certain sentimentality of the West to the just rediscovered East created a new mythology about the former East Germany and by extension, about East, of the former Soviet bloc. In German, Ost means East. In Greek algos means pain. Ostalgia is a linguistic alloy as impossible as the same desire to reconstruct something that might not have ever been there.


Texto: Simona Rota
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