Reconsidering Industrial Landscapes: Investigation, Preservation, and Perspectives of Development


11.03 - 12.03.2010

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Program: [Ural factories Ц Industries of meaning]


Place: Ural Federal University

Curator: [Alisa Prudnikova]

Conference Organizers:

Ekaterinburg Branch of the National Center for Contemporary Arts

Ural State University

Ekaterinburg Academy of Contemporary Arts

Ural Arts and Architecture Academy

Ural State Technical University

Institute of History and Archaeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Science


Supported by:

Alliance Française in Ekaterinburg

Goethe Institute, Russia

The U.S. General Consulate in Ekaterinburg

Sverdlovsk Regional Universal Scientific Library

Ministry of Culture of the Sverldovsk Region

Ekaterinburg Municipality



Ekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk), capital of the Urals, occupies a crucial niche in Russia's evolving economic, educational, and cultural ecology. As the region's industrial landscape is in flux under the impact of changes in the world's economic and value system, Ekaterinburg is asserting a leading role in integrating the global cosmopolis with the local community in a way that will enrich both.


The formation of a modern Russian city during the Soviet industrialization epoch was closely connected to the process of industrial production. The city’s landscape and its infrastructure was designed around a factory located in the center of the city that was also a center of the citizens’ life. The transition from the stage of an industrial city towards post- or de- industrial city implies realization of a principally new conception of a human and urban space, yet the only available material for this transformation is the existing industrial reality.


The conference will focus on the analysis of the various cultural practices of reworking the industrial heritage – that would include mentality, institutions, lifeways, infrastructures, types of communications – into the space of innovative city environment. Artistic adaptation of the industrial experience seems to be the most important resource to overcome the symbolic emptiness that characterizes the current state of the cities.

In the context of post- and re- industrialization, this inexhaustible heritage becomes a unique material for artistic thinking and a provocateur of cultural events. The conference will accentuate the perspective and international experience of revitalization of devastated and deformed industrial landscapes, and will help to reveal a “side effect of industrialization” – a city’s creative potential.


It will become the key preparatory part of the first Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art that will be held in Ekaterinburg September 9 – October 10, 2010. An international contemporary art event of a magnitude and scale unmatched in the region, the Biennale will be a platform to integrate business and artistic elites, which is decisive in the development of creative industries in the one of Russia’s most thriving areas. The conference will become an independent intellectual ground for the discussion of industrial centers not only as the places of production, but as special cultural landscapes that generate meanings and values.


Conference Themes:

New roles of the historical industrial towns in the “economy of experience.”

1. Symbolic construction of territory: from a “factory-city” to the “communication-city”?

2. Restructuring of the Ural landscape: the mercurial in the regional identity.

3. Dynamics of demand for cultural leisure.


Art strategies of industrial landscape development. Art as a shift of perspective, catalyst of individual rethinking of the environment.

1. Space and time of a fabric workshop in the dimension of senses. International and Russian experience of revitalization of industrial objects.

2. Traditions of the workers’ life in a work of art: dialogue, appropriation, dissimilation.

3. Parallelisms in the rhetoric of industrial and art discources: avant-guard (and) 100 years later.


Communication Industry: city as an informational nod, mental and virtual construction.

1. The role of virtualization in perception of a city.

2. Informational landscape: mental aspects in the formation of the image of a city in the context of mass and interpersonal (telephone, e-mail, social networks and other) communications.

3. Image of a city as a process: from preperception to memory.


Historical investigation as a factor of strategic marketing of industrial territory: identification, revalorization and preservation of the centers of old industrial cities in the Urals.

4. History (culture) as a resource of geo-economic competition.

5. Myths of heritage as means of presenting the region’s self-authenticity.

6. Mining in the Urals as an object of tourism: the current state and perspectives of development.


Current condition of architectural memorials of industrial heritage. Factory-towns, architectural ensembles: a systematic approach to stages of development and principles of description.

1. Restoration of memorials and the future of the historical and industrial territories under the conditions of contemporary urbanization.

2. Conceptions of development and design of museum complexes and multifunctional city objects.

3. Legal aspects of memorial preservation: regional, national and international practices.


The materials of the conference will be published in the first part of the catalogue of the Ural Industrial Biennale of contemporary art.



Ksenia Fedorova

Alexandra Kleshina


Ekaterinburg Branch of the National Center for Contemporary Arts

Ekaterinburg 620014

Dobrolyubova 19a, +7 343 380 3696

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