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Uncanny Yekaterinburg

Emerging Border Conditions in Eurasia

MSc3/4 Graduation studio


2020 / 2021

Studio participants









The two maps represent the complexity of a territory and are a reflection on the process of mapmaking. The fact of having industrialized and instrumentalized the territory of Yekaterinburg in such a way gives rise to the question what can be considered as artificial and what is natural. A limestone extraction site, powerlines engraving the forest, acid hues in lakes as a result of water pollution. If one is not able to circumscribe and recognize an object, one will experience an aesthetic ambiguity. This feeling is referred to as ‘uncanny’. By insisting on the aesthetic connotation of industrial pollution therefore, the maps try to represent the flow between borders and territories in the unstable gaze of the uncanny.

Three layers constitute an overlapping of meaning to describe this condition.

The background is the result of the mapping of polluting sources and industrial complexes burned out with acetone on a color base. This layer was produced by sampling colours of pollution around the territory during our investigation. Then, the act of mapping translates in ‘blurring’ and distorting the spatial impact of the single element, and blending it with the others.

The territories map, is the mapping of the gaze that produced such condition and its artefacts. Crystal clear information printed on a transparent layer is overlapped to this background. Precise perimeters draw the population of infrastructure present on the territory. The exactitude with which countless plans were laid down to control the territory then, contradicts the dirtiness of the background.

The borders layer is the exploration of the sequence of objects that overlap themselves when the territory is traversed. The changing of its components becomes the way through which one can establish a difference between one location and the other. By crossing them, we constitute the borders.

The three layers juxtaposed trying to express and locate this ambiguity. Different materials and levels of transparency interact to insist on the aesthetical relevancy of industrial pollution.

Uncanny Yekaterinburg
Uncanny Yekaterinburg
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