URSULA SCHULZ-DORNBURG
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Kurchatov - Architecture of a Nuclear Test Site. 2012.

 

In October 2012, twenty-two years after the end of the Cold War, Ursula Schulz-Dornburg travelled to Kazakhstan to photograph the remains of the former Soviet nuclear weapons testing site. Located in a vast area south west of the city of Kurchatov, in north eastern Kazakhstan, lies the former Soviet nuclear testing site. Active from 1949 to 1991, the site witnessed approximately 480 nuclear detonations, both in the atmosphere and later underground. Abandoned after the break-up of the Soviet Union and subjected to a seventeen-year, joint-nation clean up project, the site now lies dormant. The images depict the last vestiges of this relic of the Cold War arms race, including houses, streets, bridges and bunkers architecturally designed to test the force of the nuclear explosions. Schulz-Dornburg was interested in the secrecy that continues to shroud what had been a ‘closed city’, and in the effects of nuclear radiation on the surrounding villages and landscape. Searching for information but still blocked by bureaucracy, Schulz-Dornburg gathered several archival images of the detonations and their aftermath which are included in the accompanying leaflet.



Shoair Mavlian

 

From exhibition catalogue "Conflict. Time. Photography." Tate Modern, London, 2014
© Ursula Schulz-Dornburg