Research Project. Received from or handed to

Ural Optical-Mechanical Plant (33B Vostochnaya St., Ekaterinburg)
September 12 — December 1, 2019

Many city residents perceive the UOMZ as a monolithic wall of an administrative building. It is difficult to believe that this spectacular construction is typical of its time, as well as the fact that this brutalist building is not the actual plant. The issue of scale differences is not just about architecture. A single place and the same people are involved in two different industries: defense and civil.

The space where the exhibition takes place used to be, until recently, part of the polishing section of optical workshop No. 315. The furnace, sinks, prisms, and other items left over from production are continuing reminders of it. Each of these objects was subject to interaction with a human. For us, tracking that human’s presence (and now absence) is more important than reconstructing a chronology of dates and events.

Central control panel and automatic broadcasting station for daily schedule. 1980s. Photo: Archive of the UOMP
Workwomen of the Workshop No. 302. Late 1970s. Photo: V. G. Sherstyannikov’s personal archive
Cutting waste collecting cart. 1980s. Photo: Archive of the UOMP

Working with an archive of personnel records, photographs, factory newspapers, and other documents, we tried to find guiding storylines. In this quest, time appears as a conditional value measured in memories. Other people’s nostalgia invokes reciprocal nostalgia for things and images that could not be experienced. This provided the basis for reconstructing another’s reality.

Thinking about the internal mode of factory life, we tried to analyze the past and the present of this enterprise. And it became apparent to us that the factory culture symptomatically contains patterns of Soviet and late-Soviet time. The collectivism of the past multiplies through today’s replacement of humans by machines. The optical workshop is the last of those in the paradigm of these changes. In it, the process of renovation must be completed. The perpetual turnover of factory life and the failure to define its real present are consonant with a line from a card of quantitative accounting of materials, which we took as the project title. Only time determines from whom something is received and to whom it is handed, as well as the absence of ones and the presence of others.


Nastya Elizarieva, Uliana Yakovleva

Working Group:

Lidia Bazaeva, Irina Zueva, Alexander Kosykh, Irina Kravtsova, Gleb Logvinenko, Michail Lomovtsev, Konstantin Maximov, Alexander Nikolaev, Alexander Pavlov, Olga Rogalyova, Maria Sentsova

Exhibition Architecture:

Lucky Day bureau

Exhibition Manager:

Anastasia Martynova


DA (Andrey Chugunov, Evgeniy Lukuta, Anastasia Lukuta, Olesya llyenok, Marina Muzyka, Ekaterina Belyaeva), Shvabe Design (Sergey Shashmurin, Alexey Bykov), Andrey Olenev