Historic transition – medieval to Socialist


This photo (my photo of a print of the original..) is currently on display in the town hall of Svidnik, eastern Slovakia (I have my office in this building). It is the same concrete monstrosity as seen in the photo.

I am absolutely amazed by this photo and how deep its unspoken imagery goes. It completely sums up my region. It exemplifies the effect Socialism had on a remote agrarian landscape. The wooden house, of which few now remain in the area, no longer exists. I believe this is where a road passes through. The photo was take in the early 70s, most likely to show the modern advances bestowed by a generous foreign power… The concrete building, I believe, was built in the 60s but the wooden one could have been built at any time in the last several hundred years. It most likely also had a packed dirt floor. The only thing anachronistic about the wooden house is the asbestos tiled roof, which would have been put up in the 50s or 60s (the latter judging by the moss).  Even the house’s fence is constructed merely from sawn sapling lengths.

I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness when I view this photo. It is like having the ancient past almost at our fingertips but still just a little too far to reach out and grasp.

  • avatar image William Broxton 21 Mar 2018

    That’s what I remember enjoying the most on my trip to see you. I guess my fathers love for industrial architecture has rubbed off. Our debates on brutalism are legendary.

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