ThermoSibirsk, the global warning


2018 - 2020

It was February 2018 when, at the height of one of the coldest winters in recent decades, Sasha R. Gregor boarded the “Rossiya” train. He started the longest and most legendary railway route in the history of transport: the Trans-Siberian.

A colossal journey awaited him, a feat of engineering and a witness to history, connecting old Europe with the waters of the Pacific by slowly crossing the beauty of the Urals, the silence of the taiga and the immensity of the steppes. Between the minimalism of the snowy landscapes and the brutalism of the industrial cities of the former USSR, the Trans-Siberian refers us to the ancestral struggle between the intelligence of the human being and nature’s power.

Since the invention of the steam engine in the Industrial Revolution, the tension between mankind and the natural world has always favoured the former. But technological evolution has long shown its pernicious side and we are now facing a new phenomenon: the paradox of progress. Equipped with a thermographic camera, Gregor focuses on the visually intangible energies that unfold from the icy Siberian daily life - where any manifestation of life symbolizes an act of achievement - to the new expressions of global warming. If the steam engine converted heat into movement, here the thermographic camera transforms the temperature into an image, acting at once as interpreter and record, both of human action and the mark it leaves on the territory. The visual strength of the images therefore coexists with the empirical information provided by the chromatic gradient, the result of the infrared radiation emitted in the form of heat.

«ThermoSibirsk, the global warning» analyzes -through thermal photography- the correlations between energy (temperature) and knowledge, as well as technological progress and its undeniable links with survival and destruction in a context of global environmental impact. The project has been carried out in Siberia, one of the regions of the planet most affected by climate change.

Indeed, in this series the codes of photography sympathise with those of scientific imaging, revealing expressive silhouettes, illusory colours and pixelated forms. The territory reveals animal sketches in disturbing environments, felled tree trunks that treasure an inner energy, anthropomorphic figures where the living merges with the inert, ancient traces on lifeless objects that seem to come to life, faces or masks that emerge ghostlike...

Climate change in Siberia is reducing the size of permafrost to alarming levels. This thawing continuously releases greenhouse gases such as methane and CO2, accelerating global warming and starting a process of automatic acceleration that could have catastrophic consequences for all of humanity. On the other hand, the thawing of the permafrost is uncovering reserves of ancient viruses that had been frozen and which might be very dangerous. Framed in the new era of the Anthropocene, this work appeals to the transforming capacity of the human being and therefore to the corresponding responsibility towards the planet.

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  • Kremlin, Moscow

  • Stalin bust in Lenin's mausoleum at Red Square, Moscow

  • The «Rossiya» train about to leave from Yaroslavsky station in Moscow for the Trans-Siberian route

  • The Trans-Siberian crossing the taiga between Moscow and Kazan

  • Kazan, main city of Tatarstan

  • Lenin statue in the heart of Ekaterinburg

  • Trans-Siberian wagon crossing the taiga between Omsk and Novosibirsk

  • Interior of a restaurant in Irkutsk

  • Siberian Husky on Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal

  • Street scene in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia

  • Nuclear shelter in Krasnoyarsk, Central Siberia

  • Skater in the center of Novosibirsk

  • Siberian steppe in eastern Siberia

  • Siberian taiga near Ulan Ude

  • Hand of ticket inspector in the Rossiya train

  • Khavarobsk, Eastern Siberia

  • Vladivostok, the last city of the Trans-Siberian route, on the coast of the Japan Sea