Science art project dedicated the evolution of climate and landscapes of the Earth, their past and future. Petrified pages of memory of the Ural Ocean and the Great Perm Sea, which existed in the Ural Mountains in the Paleozoic era, reemerging in the Anthropocene epoch.


The exposition introduces the viewer to the most ancient period of the Earth’s development – from its formation until the end of the Paleozoic era.

Nowadays, the climate change and the reformation of the continents are worrying more and more people including researchers, scientists and, of course, artists, who have realized themselves as direct participants of these processes. These concerned people have been working on the exhibition for four years.


The exhibition consists of several parts. It is based on black and white images combining photography and graphic art. They were created by photographer Natalia Podunova and artist Anastasia Rostova. The photos were taken with the help of a special lens – a monocle. The graphic images were made using various graphic materials and techniques, such as sepia, coal, paper, cardboard, and computer graphics. Photographs as documentary evidence of facts do not raise any doubt and at first glance, they seem authentic. However, the photos take the viewer into the game. If you look closely, you can notice unfamiliar objects, and the longer you look, the more details and associations will show up.


Photograms by Natalia Podunova – images created on photographic paper without using a camera are displayed on the pedestals in the central part of the exhibition space. They imitate the fossils of objects and material fragments characteristic of modernity. This is a kind of an ‘inverted wormhole’ which goes from the future to the present. The images illustrate the principle of incompleteness of the stratic and paleontological chronicle.


The idea of ​​it was first expressed by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species, and later it was further developed by many scientists. According to this principle, only a small part of the organisms that inhabited the Earth in the past is represented in the geological layers. Besides, we don’t know their color, character, or history of their relationship with each other. The viewers have an opportunity to try themselves as the paleontologists of the future and try to restore the whole picture of the ancient, long-gone era by the fragments of material history that are displayed.


In the documentary part of the exhibition, the viewers get acquainted with material evidence of life during the previous eras: fossils of trilobites, ammonites, bryozoans, brachiopods, sea urchins and other inhabitants of the sea who lived in the Urals 300-500 million years ago. The exhibits displayed here have been provided courtesy of the Krasnoufimsk Museum of Local Lore and are surrounded by photographs of stratigraphic and paleontological chronicles. Besides, here texts printed on silk canvases indicating the important stages of the evolution of the Earth are displayed, which represent the key to understanding not only the past and the present, but also the future of our planet.


On the virtual interactive map by Ian Webster, one can choose a geographical point, time period and see how the Earth looked in different eras, how the continents drifted and changed the surface of our planet.


The sound art of the composition the Ural Ocean by Tatiana Zobnina is based on the self-perception of the geochronological scale by different people. The Cenozoic era began 62 million years ago and continues until today. We are aware of this fact, actually living in the current period, in all details, although in relation to the age of the Earth it is a very small period of time. The Proterozoic era, which lasted for almost two billion years, is described in geography textbooks and represents in your mind.


In the course of its existence on Earth Homo sapiens changed the sound landscape of the planet. The noise of a modern city with its highways, construction sites, and supermarkets determines our audio experience. The sounds of the ocean are kept in our memory – but in our reality we hear the sounds of highways. The sounds of cars oncoming and move away along a distant highways on a quiet night can remind us the sound  of sea waves. The composition was created using two artificial neural networks, randomness and human imagination. Every 15 minutes a new composition is randomly generated according to the algorithm. The starting point for the creation of the Ural Ocean was the geochronological scale of the history of the Earth’s development, the corresponding duration of periods, some personally sound recordings of the Pacific Ocean, and a sequence of coincidences.

The disappearance of the Aral Sea and eventual disappearance of the Dead Sea in the near future concerns people: the usual way of life is changing, familiar economic models are threatened, and the influence of religions encourages dystopian sentiments. We wanted to look much further than the existence of people on Earth and even further than dinosaurs. Our story is about the eras of thalassocracy, the times of sea domination, and geocracy, which comes to replace them – the domination of mountains.


Natalya Podunova


* Even though the texts use certain contemporary scientific knowledge, the author reserves the right to an author's view and subjective opinion.


Information about the participants:


Natalya Podunova

Photographer and artist, member of the Union of Photographers of Russia since 2012. Participated in group exhibitions of contemporary art and documentary photography in various cities in Russia, Europe and Asia. Gold medalist at the 15th International Photography Festival in China. Solo shows were held at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg (2013) and at the Innovation and Cultural Center in Pervouralsk (2017). Natalia is the author of two books The School of Your Name (2018) and the photo book Look Through a Broader Lens (2012) telling about the life of blind people, which are now kept in the collections of Russian centers of science and culture in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Gdansk, Helsinki, Vienna, and Antalya. Lives and works in Yekaterinburg.


Anastasia Rostova

Artist, photographer, graphic designer. In 2007 graduated from the Shadr Sverdlovsk Regional Art College, Design Department with a degree in Graphic Design, and in 2014 obtained a Master’s Degree in Graphic Design from the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Art. Participated in the exhibition of posters dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Nikolai Gogol (2009), finalist of the All-Russian annual open photo project The Best of Russia (2014), finalist of the All-Russian festival of street photography in the nomination Individual Works (2015). Lives and works in Yekaterinburg.


Tatyana Zobnina

Machine Learning Analyst at Naumen company. Graduated from the Ural State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. Participated in the AI Music LAB event in the framework of the contemporary music festivals GAMMA and MUTEK.JP, dedicated to the generation of music in baroque, noise, techno, and soundscape styles. Lives and works in Yekaterinburg.


Ian Webster

3-D artist, co-founder and head of the engineering company Zenysis. Worked at Google, created data visualization for NASA, SETI and other companies. Lives and works in San Mateo, California, USA.


Other participants:

Sergei Naugolnykh – Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


Elena Sizova – Doctor of Biological Sciences, professor of the Kirov State University of Medicine, Kirov.


Also curated and counseled by:

Daria Kostina – Art Director at the Sinara Art Gallery, lecturer at the Department of Art History and Museum Studies at the Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg.

Ilya Shipilovskikh – Curator and Deputy Director for the Exhibition Activities at Yeltsin Center, Yekaterinburg.



From February 11 to March 15, 2020 the exhibition was visited by 5,557 people


video review

Technical information:


Exhibition hall area - 400 m2

Area for exhibiting canvases with texts - 30 m2


Number of photos - 110

Matte photos in aluminum frames without glass

60 × 90 cm, 41 pcs.

40 × 60 cm, 68 pcs.

90 × 90 cm, 1 piece


Silk canvases with texts

90 × 285 cm, 28 pcs.


Number of photograms - 41

White cardboard 25 * 25 cm, 300 pcs

Tables for photograms, quantity: 5

Tabletop size: 150 × 200 cm

Height: 60cm

Material: laminated chipboard, plexiglass



Required equipment to play sound art:


Processor speed: 2.3 GHz

Number of processors: 1

Total core number: 2

L2 cache (per core): 256 KB

L3 cache: 4 MB

Memory: 8 GB

Hard disk capacity: 128GB

Speakers, cables to connect speakers

to laptop


Required equipment for viewing the interactive map:

Touchscreens connected to the Internet

implementation of the project at other exhibition venues