Carlos Folgoso Sueiro
In the Russian far east there is an entire area of very young towns which owes its existence to the discovery of kimberlite and which future is uncertain due to the unpredictable of diamond trade. In the second half of last century, when diamonds deposits were discovered close to the Arctic Circle, people started to live in this remote area founding new towns that got code names due to diamonds being a strategic sector in the Cold War. Actually, the towns of Mirny (the Russian word for “peace”), Udachny (the Russian word for “fortune”) or Aykhal (Yakut word for “fame”) are an example of what Russians call “Monogorods” or cities dominated by a single company (around 50% of the population works for the state-controlled diamond extraction company, Alrosa). The area, quite isolated, is above permafrost (permanently frozen ground under the soil) and suffers prolonged periods of extreme cold, with temperatures that can reach -50°c. The living conditions of these monogorods are infrequent making the lives of their population unique; deep reminiscences from the personality of closed cities, traces of the character of the old Soviet Union and feelings of yearning of the communist era are all mixed from the approach of the harsh conditions of life in permafrost. This project aims to explore human isolation, adaptation to extreme cold and ability of mankind to overcome adverse conditions when need to establish life in remote areas.