editorial for student travel
other 2014 — 2016
For hundreds of years people have been digging in search of most precious materials that Sudetes Mts. could give them. Marbles, gold, coal, copper, brimstone, lead, pyrite, opals, nickel. Rich mining cities rised and fell: to the ground and sometimes literally under the ground.
One of the last mining chapters in history of Sudetes and also the most tragic took place in 1950s, when Soviets discovered uranium ore deposits in old german shafts. Driven crazy by Stalin’s obsession to possess nuclear bomb they started to overexploit old mines, polish miners and whole region. Dozens of people lie down buried in shafts, murdered by soviet secret police, hundreds of miners died of cancer or mining accidents, villages seized to exist and even one city had been buried underground hence of extensive and inproper mining operations underneath.
Nowadays, when the mining period has come to an end with shuting down coal industry in 1990s and spreading high unemployment and poverty in the region, thousands of shafts, pits and caves, can be found in forests and fields, on the hills and in the valleys firing the imagination and being the source of hundreds of mystery stories, legends and rumours about both horrors and treasures lying deep underneath Sudetes Mountains.
2015 — ongoing.
To give a frame to any structure, one has to create a narration that would divide people onto those taking part and those outside of it. In case of a state, a myth utilises symbols of special significance, poets, brave soldiers, progressive industrialisation, injuries and injustices, magnificence of the landscape. Changes in structure require corresponding changes of myth itself - changes of banners, changes of important parts of history, changes of eternal allies.
Michał Sierakowski, documentary photographer working on a Wild Fields documentary project, focuses on relations between Ukrainian landscape and the national identity of present Ukraine - constantly changing and reconstructing in a process of shaping the national myth out of various elements of the past. Myth-creating function of national heritage, idea of patriotism suspended between modern nationalism and romantic-era backbone, legacy of communist industrialisation and finally, the pantheon of modern heroes and martyrs - all of these elements, leaving a trace in the landscape and social structure, construct a narrative about contemporary Ukraine, just as unassuming and changing shape as the myth of the framework of the national structure.
This project is co funded by the artistic scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage