Rooted in an interest in the ‘aesthetics of destruction,’ Dust explores the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia.
Priozersk (formally known as ‘Moscow 10’) and Kurchatov are closed cities, restricted military zones, concealed and not shown on maps until they were ‘discovered’ by Google Earth. Enlisted to the pursuits of science and war, the sites were utilized for the covert testing of atomic and long distance weapons. Falsely claimed as uninhabited, the cities, along with nearby testing site ‘The Polygon’ set the stage for one of the most cynical experiments ever undertaken. Scientists watched and silently documented the horrifying effects of radiation and pollution on the local population and livestock.
Demolished to preserve their military secrets, the areas now consist predominantly of the ruinous architecture and desolate landscapes featured in Kander’s hauntingly beautiful photographs. A result of the Cold War and of the relentless quest for nuclear armaments, the ruins stand as accidental monuments to the melancholic, dark and destructive side of human nature.
Published by Hatje Cantz, Dust contains 50 colour illustrations alongside texts by Ted Hughes, Nadav Kander and British best-selling author Will Self.