A steppe with rabbits and pheasants running around, and where some even saw foxes

25 October 2019 • Daryna Mamaisur
The series of images from the archive called a steppe with rabbits and pheasants running around, and where some even saw foxes shows samples of coil and mineral resources exposed in the first hall of the Lysychansk Museum of Mining History. But unlike the exposition, this archive also contains samples of waste rock taken from the spoil tip of the Lysychansk mine named in honour of Melnikov.
The reinvented archive is based on quite a real narrative, congruent with the official museum narrative. A separate set of images features objects found at the base of the spoil tip which attracted my attention by being different or, in fact, typical. I don’t know if any of them have some value. The archive hints at the oppositions build around the perception of land in the industrialised region. It is as well an attempt to follow how the landscape distinguished itself and obtained subjectivity in the maelstrom of social and economic transformations and how the official rhetoric which evaluated the land by categories of industrial efficiency became part of everyday language. The accompanying essay gets into details of these oppositions and the context of their development.
The project consists of two parts. In the first part, published on the Creative Ruin website, I focus on a fully concretized materiality represented by the coil samples. In the second part, I want to take a “step back” and focus on the landscape, namely, the steppe zone included in the Ukrainian natural reserve.