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So, here we are at the end of the semester and here is my draft of the Historical Atlas. As you can see, apart from the title of the project, I didn’t add any meaningful text to the content of the Atlas. I did this partly because I wanted to check the whole design of the atlas prior to engaging into the pursuit of textual wisdom. In addition, I think that this will allow me to check the power of my images. Wasn’t it the point of this course to analyze how images can be arguments in themselves? Nevertheless, I will acknowledge that any fault in the interpretation of this document belongs to me.

For this project, I used a couple of images from previous assignments, but I also added some images, which provide a broader perspective on the subject. The map of Eastern Europe from the first page, is supposed to place Moldova in a wider European context. At the same time, since Rybnitsa has gradually became an industrial town, I decided that it will be helpful to place the sugar factory among other industrial enterprises, such as: the cement factory and the steel factory. This will leave some place for a broader comparison in terms of patterns of industrialization on the Soviet and post-Soviet periphery.

For the most part of its history, Rybnitsa was a part of USSR. In economic terms, this meant that the industrial administrators had to comply with the demands of central planning. Indeed, all the economic activity was directed toward the fulfillment of five year plans. Nevertheless, from the pictures of the sugar factory it is possible to observe that during its twentieth century history, there has been numerous adjustments to the architecture of the sugar factory. These adjustments were not always subject to central planning. In the same context, on the last page of my atlas, I will tackle the issue of the mysterious year “1913.” Despite of the fact that Soviet regime sought to erase all the legacy of the previous political regimes, especially in terms of visuals, somehow the inscription “1913” managed to survive on the pipe of the sugar factory.

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I must acknowledge the fact that this assignment has been the most difficult but at the same time it has been the most useful, at least for me. First of all I have learned the lesson that architectural reconstruction requires the same skill to select the important things and to represent them. It is not necessarily precision and realistic representation that matter the most. It is rather the schematic thinking and the weighting of gains and losses that are primary.

In matters of gains and losses, I have to say that after many hours of trying to create a perfect copy of my photo, I decided to ask myself what is the most important element of my photo and how the architectural reconstruction can help me to put this element in perspective. So, here is the photo of the sugar factory from Rybnitsa:

At the first side, it is clear that the whole complex represents a rather eclectic group of buildings. In the front is the newest building, or the one which was recently renovated. Then, in the back of this building there is another construction, which looks unfinished but at the same time judging by the wooden annex on the top, it has stayed unfinished for a long time. Finally, there is the pipe-a crucial element of any factory. In the case of this photograph it is even more important, because it has an inscription, which reads “1913.”

Someone would expect that 1913 is the year when the factory was founded, but it is not the case. This factory was founded in 1898. Nevertheless, the fact that this year was inscribed on the pipe, means that it is important for the local community. At the same time, from 1913, Rybnitsa has experienced several political regimes, which often were conflicting with each other. Each political regime is very careful with celebrating certain dates and erasing others from the public memory.

The fact that this inscription was not erased from this pipe may suggest that the event that happened in 1913 was internalized by all the political regimes. At the same time, I cannot exclude the fact that this date was added later than 1913. So, it is not yet clear to me what has happened then, but it is clear that this date is important for this place. For this reason, I decided to illustrate the central place of this date in my architectural reconstruction:

As you can see, I recreated the building from the front of the photograph and then I drew the pipe. Although it is realistic, the building serves more as a point of reference and as a metaphor for all the buildings of the factory. By contrast, I drew the pipe from scratch but I tried to represent the texture and to match the numbers with the font from the photograph. So, I can say that my architectural reconstruction is a hybrid of realism and modernism.

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