I would like to tell you about the Zhuzhalka. Zhuzhalka is the slag waste that remains after coal mining. But in this story, in our case, we have another meaning for this word. Here, the Zhuzhalka is a Ukrainian group of young photographers. These photos are by artists from Donetsk city in eastern Ukraine. The name of the project was influenced by the geographic specialization of Donetsk.
Inspired by native landscapes, members of the Zhuzhalka create really powerful conceptional photo projects. For example, one of the more interesting projects is composed of postcards from Rzhavchino, a fully analogue photo project. Rzhavchino, or “Rustville,” is a fictional city based on existing stereotypes of small provincial towns on the industrial eastern side of Ukraine. Certainly every place has a special history, native heroes and hidden mystical secrets, and its own unique atmosphere.
“Rzhavchino is a provincial town with a big estimated potential. Its residents are simple and honest people. They while away the hardships of life under harsh conditions but with their heads up high. The town is famous for its hospitality, hardworking labor force, and strong executive managers.
“Depriving themselves of sleep and food, fathers and grandfathers have built a stable foundation for the current economic and scientific well-being of the town. Comradely cooperation and mutual help were keys to successful development of the just and free community of Rzhavchino. Workers can be proud of their highly-developed industry, extensive mechanized agriculture, and achievements in science and culture.
“Under the conditions of zero unemployment level, when the social pattern guarantees the right to work and rest, fair salary, affordable housing, free education and healthcare, a democratic society influences formation of needs and dignifies them. Steady growth of consuming power as well as consumer and industrial goods sales are important indicators of well-being. Full satisfaction of the physical and spiritual needs of society is perceived as the top priority goal of production.
“In a democratic society characterized by harmonious combination of scientific and technological progresses with benefits of a civil society, science turns into a direct productive force and becomes an essential tool for finding the best way of solving social and economic tasks in line with high standards of European values.
“The heroic work of steelmakers, or people who deal with fire, is valued particularly high. Steelmakers look like sorcerers when they stand by electric smelters of integrated iron and steel plant as they closely watch how their fantastic concoction boils in a thousand degrees of hell. Day and night, steelmakers make steel. How people will work tomorrow and the stable development of the region depend on them.
“Rzhavchino has been long famed for its labor dynasties – that is, when the son comes to replace his father at his workplace, and the grandson takes up the operation of machines that his grandfather used to operate. In one such family, a person whose destiny is to go down in history for his uncompromisingly bold innovative in the field of experimental sociology and economics is born.
“It is impossible to imagine the works of the Institute for Social Research of Rzhavchino without practical application. Here, the path from fundamental research to practice is minimized. In charge of this majestic sanctuary of science is Professor Nichuvko I.R. His personal contribution to the advancement of science cannot be underestimated. Under Nichuvko’s thoughtful guidance, new main trends and opportunities for accelerated development of productive forces are being discovered, and the society of the future is being created. The supremacy of law and respect for human rights are of strategic priority and a moral necessity of such society.”
The Zhuzhalka are Victor Corwic, Viacheslav Sokolov, and Roman Uhimchuk.