Behind Closed Doors: The Photo Archive of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology

Behind Closed Doors: The Photo Archive of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology

facebook icon twitter icon email icon telegram icon link icon whatsapp icon

4.4.2024, 18:30

Conference Room of the Center for Urban History

For many years, the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (National Science Center "KIPT") functioned as a restricted facility, and the photographs accumulated in its archives throughout nearly a century have not yet been publicly presented.

Over the last year, the Institute's Museum Sector employees initiated the digitization process of the museum's collection of more than five thousand photographs from the late 1920s to 2002. Recently, the website of the Urban Media Archive has made available unique footage of the construction of the Institute and laboratory buildings, of employees at work and during experiments, of equipment and devices, including the Van de Graaff electrostatic generator and various accelerators.

The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology was the first in the USSR to perform the splitting of the lithium atom's nucleus, as well as the first to produce liquid hydrogen and helium and to build the first 3D radar in 1932. The Institute has a unique history of scientific achievements and technological discoveries, a joint history of Ukraine's participation in the development of the Soviet military-industrial complex and industrial power. At the same time, the Institute has a history of repressions against the Institute's scientists in 1937-1938, when employees were arrested, deported, and executed. Therefore, we would like to critically analyze this ambiguous, complex period of "inconvenient heritage."

Iryna Spodenets, the head of the Museum Sector, will showcase the digitized collection at the meeting and provide examples of unlocking the potential of photo sources in the museum field. Anastasiya Kholiavka and Iryna Sklokina, researchers at the Center for Urban History, will delve into the topic of corporate archives (at enterprises and institutions) in the global context. Our dialogue will encompass other collections from the Urban Media Archive, touching on the topics of censorship and ideology, corporate culture, industrial hubris, and photography's role in forming communities and allegiances.

post picture

Iryna Spodenets

Expert in museum studies; PhD in Cultural Studies (2017). Head of the Museum Sector of the National Science Center “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology” and the project “KIPT Photo Archive: Preservation, Dissemination and Reinterpretation”; participant in the project “Revitalization of the Old Site of the National Science Center “KIPT”.


post picture

Iryna Sklokina

Historian, PhD in History, researcher at the Center for Urban History. Her research interests include Soviet and post-Soviet memory politics, historical heritage, museology, and oral history. At the Center for Urban History, she focuses on historical heritage, in particular the industrial and Soviet heritage of Donbas and Lviv.

post picture

Anastasiya Kholyavka

Head of the Urban Media Archive project, coordinator of Café philosophique Lviv, co-founder of the Kontur media. Her research interests include design theory, art theory, and contemporary art practices.

The presentation of the digitized collection and the discussion about it are part of the Center for Urban History's [unarchiving] program.


Cover Image: 1934, famous physicists are pictured on the stairs of the main building of KIPT: top row – B. Finkelstein, O. Trapeznikova, K. Sinelnikov, Y. Ryabinin; bottom row – L. Shubnikov, O. Leipunsky, L. Landau, P. Kapytsia. The photo is kept in the KIPT photo laboratory.

Gallery: Bohdan Yemets