On September 15, 1974, a group of twenty Soviet nonconformist artists gathered in a vacant lot in an urban forest on the outskirts of Moscow. But the authorities were ready. Almost immediately, more than 100 policemen armed with batons, three bulldozers, and a truck with a water cannon began to break up the exhibition. It was mayhem. Artists desperately tried to save their artworks as they were chased by authorities.
By the late 1980s, there were more than 137,000 Palaces of Culture in the Soviet Union. After its collapse, palaces like the Shymkent Palace of Culture fell into disrepair without the financial backing for their upkeep. “Architecture, which is dependent on time and politics, declines and goes into ruins when it does not receive neither material nor spiritual investment.”
The pressure was building. As the world stood on the sidelines at the height of the Cold War, both superpowers battled for ideological supremacy, each backed by their growing arsenal of nuclear weapons. Tensions kept rising.
In Ukraine, there are balconies shaped like ship hulls and castles. DIY renovations extend over the streets below, each decorated in a unique style representative of their owner’s identity and requirements.