Russia

10 Terrifying Mythical Creatures You Didn’t Know to Be Afraid Of

Has your lifetime been overwhelmed with terror tales of vampires, witches, werewolves, and zombies to the point that these overly familiar creatures are too boring to give you nightmares? Let’s face it — we’ve fallen into a repetitive freak funk, and we could really use some new ghouls to give us goosebumps. Fetus-licking bat torsos from the Philippines? Sure, why not! Corpse-craving Japanese greed ghosts? Sounds good to us! Gather ’round the campfire and lend us your ears, Halloweenies; we’ve scoured the ponds of Bohemia and the banana trees of Indonesia to bring you some of the globe’s finest frighteners. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, we call this “The Tale of Other Cultures’ Creatures.” Read it after the jump. … Read More

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Made in Russia: Soviet Design Oddities and Masterpieces

If you thought iconic Soviet design stopped at Sputniks, Lomos, and Kalashnikovs, you’re about to get old schooled. The brilliant, essential book Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design travels back to a time when objects were built for function and uniformity — tilting dolls never toppled, drinking glasses fit exactly a third of a standard vodka bottle, and soda pop was available around every corner via communal vending fountains. Edited by Michael Idov and penned by expats, this insightful little tome is brimming with cultural heritage, humor, and pure design porn. Have a good read and a curious gawk in this slide show of some of our favorites. And please, hold the Yakov Smirnoff jokes. … Read More

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100-Year-Old Color Photos from the Russian Empire

No, color film did not exist in 1909, but chemist-turned-photojournalist Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) had pioneered a revolutionary method to document pre-Revolution Russian Empire and its multicultural surroundings. Using color-filtered plates of glass, he captured a red, a blue and a green channel of each of rivers, railroads, villages, churches of olde. Even more fascinatingly, we can look 100 years back in time on the faces of real peasants, factory workers, noblemen, soldiers, sailors and botanists. Peek into the past with these amazing scenes from 1909 through 1912, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The borders give it an extra magical touch, don’t they? … Read More

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Intimate Portraits of Russian and Ukrainian Prisoners

The prisoner’s eyes expressed a “mesmerizing human blend of fear and cruelty.” That was his first encounter, three years ago, photographer Michal Chelbin tells The New Yorker — a passing exchange of eye contact over a high brick wall somewhere in Ukraine. Drawn in, the photographer returned to the prison and began his new series Locked. He shot portraits without asking questions about his subjects’ crimes. Girls slumped side-by-side on a juvenile hall bed. Young men with tattoos, in slippers. Lanky, fur-hatted boys with James Cagney glares clustering in the prison yard. Looking at the portraits is like intercepting the brimming eye-contact between the photographer and the prisoners. What did they do? Is their punishment fair? Are they guilty? Incorrigible? Proud? Innocent? Before Michal Chelbin’s solo show comes to NYC’s Andrea Meislin Gallery in 2012, meet their eyes in our gallery and judge for yourself. … Read More

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Fascinating Photos of 19th Century Russian Peasants

A few weeks back, we gave you a voyeuristic glimpse into the insane world of Russia’s elite children. Today, thanks to our friends at Neatorama, we’re taking you on a time-traveling adventure that looks at inhabitants of the opposite end of the financial spectrum — the peasants of 19th century Russia. From a boy peddling his hand-carved abacuses to a group of women posing outside of their wooden hut, find a collection of William Carrick’s most fascinating portraits of everyday life after the jump. … Read More

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Photo Essay: Children of the Russian Elite

A young gent who plays with Kalashnikov machine guns. A girl posing in her father’s vintage car garage, deliberately and impeccably dressed as Catherine Deneuve. Clearly, there’s something very different about the children of Moscow’s intelligentsia, restaurateurs and diplomats. Photographer Anna Skladmann spent years capturing that “something” and recently shared it Spiegel Online. Trespass into Russia’s exclusive ranks of nouveau riche and see the tiniest masters of those domains in her series Little Adults. … Read More

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Artist Anton Ginzburg Looks for 'Hyperborea' in Woods and Gulags

In the past few years, sensationalist Russian news stories have claimed the discovery of Hyperborea — a land rooted in Greek myth, “a place of pure bliss, perpetual sunlight and eternal springtime,” supposedly located somewhere on the White Sea… right next to the snow-beaten, eerie sites of Soviet Gulag prison camps. Artist Anton Ginzburg has responded to this astonishing fantasy with project At the Back of the North Wind. These photographs document his journey “beyond the Boreas” (the North Wind) to the “primordial, virgin forest” of Portland, Oregon, to the dilapidated palaces and haunted natural history museums of St. Petersburg, Russia and finally, to the stark ruins of the Gulags themselves. Creating a dreamscape on the geographical and metaphorical sites of Hyperborea, the artist released giant clouds of red smoke to represent the collective unconscious.

Exploring “the tension between the actual and the potential,” Anton Ginzburg’s photographs, video installations, and site-specific works will be exhibited as part of the 54th Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Bollani through November 27, 2011. Click through for a preview. … Read More

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Pic of the Day: Wooden Churches in Northern Russia

It must be our lucky day, because we just hit the motherlode of our two favorite topics: abandoned architecture and Russian oddities. Thanks to photographer Richard Davies, who has a solo show at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki through May 30, the wider world can get a taste of the endangered, centuries-old wooden Orthodox churches indigenous to the Russian North. Davies originally stumbled upon a cache of postcards depicting the santuaries by Russian artist Ivan Bilibin, circa 1902–04 when the buildings were already in poor condition. He then took a pilgrimage (ПАЛОМНИЧЕСТВО) in Bilibin’s footsteps in an effort to preserve the area’s architectural and cultural heritage. More amazing photos after the… Read More

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Cat Power Happy Hour #11

Lunch is long gone, it’s 4 p.m, Russia foresees going to arms over energy,  Somalia is kicking up the aggression,  100 million will lose their homes in the water, Craigslist is a “blatent internet brothel”, one of the FBI agents that used “enhance interrogation” says it was ineffective, and work just won’t end. There’s only one way to make it out of this day alive: THE CAT POWER HAPPY HOUR, a new daily pick-me-up from your friends at Flavorpill. After the jump, a picture so cute it’ll turn your cubicle into a den of pure cuddle. (Check back tomorrow, same time, same place for more unhinged adorability). … Read More

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