The Last Dinosaurs of the Epoch
The project “The Last Dinosaurs of the Epoch” is a collaboration project of the artist, culturologist Julia Uzryutova, and the writer, poet, playwright Gala Uzryutova. The project is aimed at opening and virtual archiving of alternative history and landscape of one of the districts of Ulyanovsk, which is called the New City. It is intended to rethink the area, its changes, to collect personal narratives of locals, embodying them through current artistic practices.
New City – is one of the last large-scale housing projects in the Soviet era, was founded in 1976. The project will help to rethink the recent history of the New City in a different way, draw attention to the unaccounted memories of the residents and present it in the format of new digital practices that take into account landscape changes that are not reflected in official observations.
Another goal of the project is to virtually restore the New City, preserved in the personal narratives of the residents, with the help of artistic archival practices. It's especially important that the collection of memories of the New City does not end, it will be carried out constantly through a special online form, with the help of which locals will be able to independently add memories of the area in text, audio, and photo formats.
The authors reconstruct the memory of the locals, creating watercolor "photos" based on archival photographs and newspaper materials, and the locals leaving their memories about it. Residential buildings and social facilities of that period underwent many changes in the New City in the following years. The artist depicts buildings without signage, air conditioning, cladding, and alterations, as the architects intended.
This social-cultural project poses the following questions: What is the historical appearance in the context of the New City? How did the New City of Ulyanovsk look like before? How did the architects conceive it? What is hidden behind the cladding, numerous outbuildings, and advertisements? What memories are associated with places that have already changed their interior and appearance? How the city was preserved in the memory of the locals?
The New City is a miniature of the post-Soviet space. Many people recognize their cities here, which are experiencing the same changes or freeze in their era, reminding us of childhood, youth, and just about the past, which everyone has their own and at the same time in common. The artist “tears down” the signs and announcements of the 1990s and 2000s, leaving the facades in their original appearance. Signboards are combined in a separate work.
The project has exhibition and digital formats (they are in progress now). The digital version of the project involves drawing objects on the map in their original (indigo watercolor “photos” by Julia Uzryutova) and modern form, as well as the locals' memories of these places (collecting personal narratives and writing essays by Gala Uzryutova). The map will become a gathering point for the local community around architecture and its perception by locals.