Starcity
Adam Broomberg and Oliver ChanarinThu 04 Mar 2004 - Sun 04 Apr 2004
Starcity is the name of a chapter taken from the photographerscc book Ghetto, published by Trolley, which focusses on the community living in a purpose-built town on the edge of Moscow, dedicated in the 1960s to cosmonaut training and space travel. Forty years later, the community is still there. The exhibition showed prints taken from this Starcity chapter.
Starcity is the name of a chapter taken from the photographerscc book Ghetto, published by Trolley, which focusses on the community living in a purpose-built town on the edge of Moscow, dedicated in the 1960s to cosmonaut training and space travel. Forty years later, the community is still there. The exhibition showed prints taken from this Starcity chapter.

For the first three years of its existence, Star City was a secret. Built in 1960 in a birch forest on the outskirts of Moscow, Star City housed the clandestine beginnings of the Soviet Union's cosmonaut training program. Back then, US President John F. Kennedy would have sold his soul for the knowledge Star City housed. It was the early days of the space race and the Soviet Union was winning hands down. In 1961, Star-City-trained Yuri Gagarin was blasted into space - the first human being to leave the planet. Four years later, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov stepped out of his orbiting capsule and became the first person to walk in space. Star City represented the outer limits of human achievement.



The same community exists today. The children attend the same school and the elderly join the same dog-owners' clubs. But their home is now an unwitting and ill-tempered museum to former glory. The Soviet Union is dead, the Russian state on the verge of bankruptcy. It still has a skeletal space program and its cosmonauts are still trained at Star City. But its quaintly dated architecture is crumbling and its cosmonauts, once household names and heroes, earn a paltry US$ 250 a month. Their salaries, and those of the 200-odd technicians who train and support them, are drawn from a combination of American subsidies and the money tourists pay for rides on the establishment's ageing simulators.
Artworks will be added shortly