Untitled, Marat Dilman
This shot was taken in a square in Almaty, known as the Astana Square today (colloquially, the Old Square). During the Soviet era, the square was intended to be one of the biggest in the USSR before the city planners decided to expand an adjacent park and diminished a major part of the square. Such city-planning decisions to create giant, unwalkable spaces in cities were developed as a part of tactics to prevent the rise of massive demonstrations. People of the early Christianity appeared small and irrelevant in grand churches; similarly, the huge administrative buildings encompassed by the vast, empty territories evoked the feelings of inferiority among the citizens of the Soviet Union. In this work, Dilman portrays the focal edifice of Kazakhstan’s former political establishment during the Communist era mixing it with an exceptionally large yurt installed in the square for a special celebration. The depicted intersection of the two identities through architecture – the Soviet with its emphasis on the international and timeless on the one hand, and the Kazakh with its search of the national and temporary on the other – masterfully showcases how the two can coexist in a peculiar manner by morphing into each other and counteracting on the ideological level.