Decor in Post-Soviet Communal Hallways: Why Do They Do It
Belarusian photographer, was born and lives in Minsk. Majored in history, has worked in sales for a long time. Works with Belarusian web-portals tut.by and tam.by. Has been doing photography since 2013.
— I planned Claustrophobia as a short study of communal spaces — hallways in Minsk apartment buildings. It was supposed to answer a question why people want to expose the personal so much, put it in the social space to change in accordance with their aesthetic preferences. However, to be honest, I didn’t find the answer — while working on the project, I realized that I worded my question wrong, and that the project should hardly be short-term. I came to the conclusion that I should be asking not about the aesthetic, but about the psychological perception of the environment that these people have. I thought that I should really be looking for a phobia that the person wants, if not to overcome, then at least minimize by manipulating the surrounding space.
Living in a typical apartment block building and seeing this environment daily, I realized that it made me feel claustrophobic. I think I am not alone in my fear, otherwise the walls of the hallways would be clean. Our hallways are ‘claustrophobogenic’ in a way. It may be the reason why we are so drawn to decorating them, expanding them, let the light in, inhabit them with images.
I started this project as part of the learning course Photo Project: From Idea to Promotion, taught by the Belarusian Association of Journalists. It is curated by Belarusian photojournalist Sergey Balai, and mentored by Mikhail Domozhilov and Sergei Stroitelev.