Syrian government troops have retaken Palmyra from Islamic State forces, with help from Russian air support, the Syrian army said in a statement on Thursday. Politicians in Russian welcomed the news as a triumph, as widely reported by the state’s media, but few details have emerged about the condition of the ancient site, where Isil has previously wreaked large-scale destruction. [...]
Isil first took Palmyra in May 2015 and the extremist group destroyed a number of important monuments [...]. — theartnewspaper.com
Danila Tkachenko is a Russian photographer whose series Restricted Areas crystallises the tendencies of many artists working on themes of the post-Soviet space. As Calvert 22’s Power and Architecture season demonstrates, there is a healthy interest in the abandoned or neglected buildings that once served as landmarks of Soviet ambition: the rack and ruin of utopia. What sets Tkachenko apart is the unforgiving simplicity of his compositions. — calvertjournal.com
Moscow City Hall has announced the launch of its own version of online game “Pokemon Go.” Russians will be asked to find and "catch" historical figures in the streets of the capital via an app called “Know Moscow.Photo.”
[...] people will be able to catch and take a selfie with [...] Yury Gagarin, Alexander Pushkin, Pyotr Chaikovsky, [founder of the first Russian university] Mikhail Lomonosov, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and the tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich,” [...] — The Moscow Times
The government of Russia has announced a desire to build a 70km Hyperloop line on its Pacific Coast to link the port of Zarubino with China’s Jilin province, but wants China to help fund it. The link would be part of Russia’s plan to develop a series of transport corridors between its Primorye region and northeast China...The project’s cost has been estimated at about $500m...the ministry would try to interest China in co-financing the link as part of its Silk Road grand strategy. — Global Construction Review
If the founders of a new face recognition app get their way, anonymity in public could soon be a thing of the past. FindFace, launched two months ago and currently taking Russia by storm, allows users to photograph people in a crowd and work out their identities, with 70% reliability.
It works by comparing photographs to profile pictures on Vkontakte, a social network popular in Russia and the former Soviet Union, with more than 200 million accounts. — the Guardian
"In future, the designers imagine a world where people walking past you on the street could find your social network profile by sneaking a photograph of you, and shops, advertisers and the police could pick your face out of crowds and track you down via social networks."For related content:France...
The already rapid expansion of the Moscow metro may be picking up steam, if a flurry of announcements in recent days is to be believed.
A brand-new portion of the Butovskaya metro line, which will link the southernmost stations of the orange and gray Lines, may be open to the public by the end of this week, Deputy Mayor Marat Khusnullin said Friday, RIA Novosti reported. — the Moscow Times
From 1917 to 1991 in the former Russian Empire, and from 1945 to 1989 in the countries it dominated after the war, there was no real private ownership. No landowners, no developers, no “placemakers” - in half of Europe. Did this mean public space was done differently, and are attitudes to it different in those countries? [...] observed more closely, public space here is every bit as complex as it is elsewhere in Europe. — theguardian.com
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused reactor number four to explode...
Reuters reports that a huge recently-completed enclosure called the New Safe Confinement—the world's largest land-based moving structure—will be “pulled slowly over the site later this year to create a steel-clad casement to block radiation and allow the remains of the reactor to be dismantled safely.” — The Atlantic
The largest remaining statue of Lenin in Ukraine was removed from its pedestal in Zaporizhia last week, the latest victim of the Ukrainian ban on Soviet symbols. But how do you go about “de-communising” an almost entirely Stalinist city? — calvertjournal.com
The Shukhov Tower, a 1920s broadcast transmission tower in Moscow that is a landmark of modernist structural engineering, has been placed on the 2016 World Monuments Fund Watch list of endangered global cultural heritage sites.
Activists in Moscow organized two days of events over the weekend to observe the tower’s 94th birthday [...]
At a Kremlin meeting last December, Mr. Putin praised activists for rallying to save cultural heritage sites and dressed down officials for not doing enough. — nytimes.com
The rise of international architecture competitions has given western architects an opportunity to make their mark on eastern Europe and Central Asia [...]
Regardless of record-high fees, some of their projects are being cancelled half-way through or take a good decade to build. But the ones that are brought to life often become some of the most recognised works of its authors. For starchitects the miles between eastern Europe and Central Asia is the place where dreams and ambitions come true. — calvertjournal.com
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