Novosibirsk is the third most populous city in Russia, it's the "capital" of Siberia. Here I had to work with the guys from the first in Russia and the world-famous Academic Town. The city of scientists was built in the middle of the Siberian boreal forest in 1957. Here, at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, two of the six hadron colliders existing in the world have been created.
The daily life of today's youth from AT is not connected with scientific activities. The participants in Art in Action were guys who had just started to be interested in photography and video. And they wanted to know how this interest could be used, except for creating "beautiful" pictures with the correct composition.


LOCATION: Novosibirsk, Russia
PARTICIPANTS: girls and boys, 13-19 years old
DURATION: 5 days
COOPERATION: "Center for Children's Creativity of the Soviet District", Zoom photography school

photo credit: gelio.livejournal.com

FORMULA OF LIFE

As we only had 5 days, the guys and I immediately got down to business. There are many true stories and fictional legends about scientific discoveries that are heard in Academic town. For decades those discoveries were made behind the closed doors of numerous institutes in various fields of science. The most unusual of them became the theme of our photo project.
According to rumors, one of the local mathematicians devoted his life to deriving a formula by which each person at any given time can calculate how many days he has left to live. And the scientist succeeded.
We were thinking about the value of this kind of knowledge. Of what would we do if this formula had fallen into our hands. That's how the first part of our visual research started.

 

PART 1 : ENCHANTED FOREST

The master-class participants became the lead characters of the first shooting. Each of them had to answer the question: “What would I do if I would get my hands on the“ formula of life ”(as we called it). And also illustrate their answers with their own portraits. To complicate the task, we shot in the forest. The guys were divided into pairs and scattered across a kilometer of the forest with the same green views and landscapes. So, to make all the portraits differently, they had to use completely non-visual means of expression - fantasy, sincerity, and work with the emotions of the hero in the frame.
Later, the anonymous answers of the guys and their portraits were included in the final exhibition.

STUDENT'S WORKS

BACKSTAGE

 

PART 2 : LEGACY 

We pondered further. Discoveries allow scientists to remain in the memory of future generations. Their theories are developed, their inventions are used, the streets of cities are named after them. And can we "extend" our lives as well, remaining in the memory of people?
We have compiled our own visual catalog, photographing valuable relics and strange little things that are inherited and kept in the families of the participants of the master class.
We also collected and prepared for the exhibition old photographs from the home archives of the first generation of Academic residents, who once came here from different parts of the country.

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PART 3 : LEGENDS OF THE ACADEMIC TOWN

In the third part of our visual exploration, we decided to "show" the protagonist of this legend.
Having written the long-awaited formula, the mathematician used it himself. It turned out that he only had one day left to live. He asked his student to record the results of this experience tomorrow when he will pass away, and then share this formula with people. But it never happened.
The scientist who sacrificed everything for an amazing discovery went mad after a few hours. The severity of this knowledge, the regrets of the past, and the impossibility of the future - all of these have become the unbearable burden. He just disappeared and no one else saw him.
But in our double exposure black and white photographs, his spirit still roams the town.

STUDENT'S WORKS

BACKSTAGE