For me, the Academy of Sciences is a mixture of two reserved worlds unfamiliar to many: changing technologies, solutions and frozen past, that “Sovietness” of buildings and interiors that have already become monuments today. How to show the duality of the environment where ideas are born? What images can capture the abstraction that does not physically exist?
I grew up in a family of scientists, and for me science has always been, above all, creativity. It is magic, a luck which hides a deep understanding of the nature of the processes, intuition – all the things that are associated with art. I can define the current state of science in Belarus as neither bad nor good. But that positive aspect, which certainly stands out is the work of the scientists’ bright minds: biologists, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, philosophers … .
Reflecting on the project and trying to divide the entire field of possibilities, I decided to shoot scientists’ portraits, as well as the interiors of the institutions where they work – endless corridors and huge halls. Neither of them could function separately: I needed shots, where the interaction of the environment and humans would be seen. I decided to introduce a passerby into the Soviet “classics” of any institution, so that the interior would not risk transforming into a meaningless geometry.
I remember how in the hall of the Institute of Physics my attention got caught by a huge wall of glass bricks. Looking up from the camera, I saw the person who had accompanied me talking to one of the employees. I asked him to stand up in front of the camera. Since we had not previously discussed what I was shooting and why, he was always trying to escape, to take a step to the right, to turn away, not to look in the eye. As a result, he managed to hide behind a joke.
It seems to me that in that very escaping from an outsider, in the impossibility to get on the inside at that place, to understand science and its essence, the whole project became real. Asking my heroes the question about the definition of science, I never got the same answer. Nevertheless, I am sure that each of them was right. Science is a constant search, it is in changing of the perspective, and together with it – the elusive world.