‘Elevate' is a piece from the genesis project ‘The Wild Within’ by Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell. This series brings new life into abandoned buildings from a bygone Soviet era. Based on real-world physical spaces, an animated rebirth into a digital realm has been created.
During the Soviet Union, the Georgian town of Tskaltubo was a popular health destination famed for its therapeutic water and luxurious sanatoriums. Between the 1940’s to 1980’s thousands of people visited, including Stalin and his high-ranking officials from Moscow. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the buildings were deserted and fell into disrepair. Since the early 90's, they have been slowly dismantled and stripped of their valuable materials, leaving empty shells of what were once grandiose classical structures. Koopmans visited this region over several years, exploring the ruins and photographing the spaces. Upon returning, in collaboration with Alice Wexell, they digitally introduced vegetation, manipulated the lighting and structure, added sound by Tobias Hellkvist, and animated the scenes with the intention of reviving the empty spaces, essentially bringing life back into the rooms.
The results are a surreal collision between the past and future, as well as the physical and digital worlds. Some of the buildings depicted in this project have been demolished in recent months, further emphasizing the theme of time passing in the cycle of growth and decay.