Russian artist Danila Tkachenko works with documentary photography. For his project “Restricted Areas” he describes the human striving for technological progress and the utopian ventures which were undertaken for this goal. Tkachenko describes the failures which followed, through the representation of the places that had a great importance for technological research and innovation and that are today abandoned and laid isolated surrounded by the snow. The symbols of research, power and faith in progress are portrayed in their vulnerability as forgotten monuments of unrealized futures.
1. Airplane – amphibia with vertical take-off VVA14. The USSR built only two of them in 1976, one of which has crashed during transportation.
2. Former residential buildings in a deserted polar scientific town specialised on biological research.
3. Tropospheric antenna in the north of Russia – the type of connection which has become obsolete. There were many of them built in far North, all of them deserted at the moment.
4. Former mining town which has been closed and made a bombing trial field. The building on the photo shows the cultural center, one of the objects for bombing.
5. Pumpjacks on a spent oil field.
6. City where rocket engines were being produced in Soviet times. Was a closed city until 1992.
7. Screen for biological defence against radar radiation.
8. Deserted observatory.
9. Water contamination test at the lake around the previously closed scientific city Chelyabinsk-40. In 1964 there was the first nuclear catastrophe, one of the largest in history and equal in scale to Chernobyl, but it stayed secret. The city is surrounded by the lakes which are until now contaminated with radiation.
10. Test bench for missiles.
11. Former military base on the island, with an underground bunker.
12. The world’s largest diesel submarine.
13. Landmark in the area of test underground explosions.
14. Antenna built for interplanetary connection. The Soviet Union was planning to build bases on other planets, and prepared facilities for connection which were never used and are deserted now.
15. Secret city Chelyabinsk-40, which was not marked on the maps until 1994. The first Soviet nuclear bomb was created there. In 1964 there was the first nuclear catastrophe, one of the largest in history and equal in scale to Chernobyl. It stayed secret thanks to the fact that wind was blowing east. It is still impossible to enter the city unless one has special permission or relatives living there.
16. Stages of the space rockets.
17. Boiler house of a closed aerodrome.
18. Headquarters of Communist Party.
19. Waste storage of rocket fuel.
20. Hangar at the former firing field for biological weapons.
21. Antenna for interception of signals.
22. Coal processing plant.
23. Sarcophagus over a closed shaft which is 4 km deep – was one of the deepest scientific shafts in the world at the time.
24. Water intake.
25. Excavator on a closed quarry.
26. Ruins of experimental laser system “ZET”.
27. Ground station for spacecraft control.
28. Scientific storage at far North.
29. Deserted observatory located in the area with the best conditions for space observations
30. Part of an unfinished space port.
31. Monument to the Conquerors of Space. The rocket on top was made according to the design of German V-2 missile.
32. “Bulgaria” ship lifted from underwater, 122 people drowned on it.
33. Memorial on a deserted nuclear station.
All images © Danila Tkachenko