It can be hard to imagine a bygone era, especially when the buildings of that era are abandoned shells of their former selves.
Ryan Koopmans, a Canadian-Dutch digital artist and photographer, and Alice Wexell, a Swedish digital artist and photographer, have given these old spaces new life with a project called "The Wild Within." The work captures abandoned buildings in and around the Georgian town of Tskaltubo, but it's not just a photography series. The duo digitally added vegetation to create animated images that brought the buildings to life too.
The stately columns, large rooms, high ceilings, and intricate decoration hint at the region's past as a popular health spa destination, known for its luxe accommodations during the Soviet era. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the buildings have been abandoned, and the lack of upkeep has taken a toll. Koopmans and Wexell vividly capture the interplay between architectural grandeur and natural overgrowth.
Soviet heyday . They then digitally added vegetation and modeled the spaces to create animated images that look like short videos of the plant life in a faint breeze.
Koopmans says they hope the viewer feels a "surreal collision between the past and future" and between the digital and physical worlds. He says he wanted to "create a sense of surreal tranquility while referencing the themes of urban exploration, architectural history, and the resurgence of nature." Koopmans also noted that some of the building have been demolished in the past few months—a sad real-life confirmation of this project's emphasis on renewal and decay. You can buy the works as NFTs here.
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