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Pyramiden / Spitsbergen / 04.09.2019

Snow fell in the evening. White flakes partially covered the brown and black colours of the town. Rock, stone and coal everywhere. And glaciers. Svalbard has a death ban. Graves can’t be dug here, it’s either rock or ice. Yet the town of Pyramiden died. First, the TU 134 plane with miners and their families crashed, and within two days the whole town was evacuated. A town that was the crowning achievement of the socialist thought of the Soviet Union. Where soil was imported from Ukraine to plant grass and show the world that beauty and an ideal society could be achieved even in extreme conditions. Where the working class, the miners and their families lived in prosperity and happiness. Sumptuous balls and sports competitions were organised. Where temperatures above -40 degrees Celsius weren’t terrible; dark days for most of the year, followed by bright nights. Unas wsiegda wiesielo: All is well. So it was. Now Pyramiden is inhabited by seagulls. They’ve taken over the city and are building their houses on the ruins of the former communist era. The windows in the central building of the town – at which Lenin, the leader of socialist thought looks upon from afar – are covered with guano. He looks down on a town that does not exist. There are no people. The memory remains. The memory of great disappointment.

Monte Carlo/ Monaco / 29 June 2019

Rock, stones, asphalt and the sea. Every centimetre is used. The rock is hollowed out and provides support for skyscrapers. Monaco. The smallest country in the world (apart from the Vatican), a country where the value of property and land is greater than gold: a gram of rock has a value greater than a gram of gold. Where the world’s most expensive yachts are moored, and few can afford apartments. A country whose splendour is built on the promise of fulfilling a dream – gambling. A country – a city in whose streets you only see tourists peering at the wealth of the chosen few and those who work for them. 51,000 workers attend to the needs of 37,000 residents. A country with the highest population density. No plants or animals to be seen. No residents to be seen either. Life is hidden in rock and concrete.

Bartosz Kruger, holding the frame before going winter swimming in the bay on Spitzbergen.

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Each photograph used during the journey stops being luggage, changes its destiny, takes on a new life. It creates a unique travel sack with a story in the background. Always just one. One shot, one sack. Luggage  (no excess)

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