Arne Piepke & Ing­mar Björn Nol­ting

Arne Piepke (1991) studies photography at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany focussing on documentary photography. He deals with different aspects of home and his personal relation to it. Recently he worked on social-documentaries in Georgia and Kosovo.In December 2016 he took part at the portfolio walk of DFA in Augsburg and in March 2017 he participated in the Nikon-NOOR Academy workshop at C/O in Berlin.

Ing­mar Björn Nol­ting (1995) stu­dies pho­to­gra­phy at the Uni­ver­sity of App­lied Sci­en­ces and Arts Dort­mund, Ger­many. His work focu­ses on long-term docu­men­tary photo-essays mainly dea­ling with social and socio­lo­gi­cal issues. Dri­ven by curio­sity about how people feel think, and inter­act, he tries to under­stand what it means to be human.

Remains of a Soviet Utopia

Work and Submission by Arne Piepke and Ingmar B. Nolting

Vaziani, an estate of run-down tower blocks surrounded by mountains and broad acres, is situated just a 30-minutes drive off the gates of Georgia's capital, Tbilisi. Vaziani settlement, constructed during the Soviet era, served as accommodation for soldiers, stationed at a nearby military base, living there with their families. In the UdSSR military personnel and politicians were highly privileged. They were provided with adequate housing, received better salaries and were given priority in the distribution of luxury goods and supplies.
Back then, life was celebrated in Vaziani – the population lived in prosperity and the settlement flourished. However, after the downfall of the Soviet Union, the stationed Russian soldiers left the housing estate for home – without them, Vaziani’s good days were numbered. The government sold the apartments for around 50 Lari (abt 20 US-Dollars) to people with deprived backgrounds, homeless, or to refugees from Abkhazia, who had to flee from the Russian arms in the Russo-Georgian War. Today the authorities don't care any longer about the settlement and its inhabitants. The first building collapsed in May 2013 – others are not far from experiencing the very same fate.
Problems with water, gas and electrical supplies are huge – many lines and tubings are demolished. The sewage system is leaking, and thus contaminating drinking water by fecal bacteria. The unemployment rate in Vaziani is a staggering 90 percent – and has stuck there for the last couple of years. There are simply no jobs in Vaziani. Although time shattered concrete to dust, the people stay – because there is no alternative, they hope for a future in their home.

The work 'Remains of a Soviet Utopia' by Arne Piepke and Ingmar Björn Nolting, documents the present conditions in the former military town – it portrays the inhabitants, reflects their daily life and their connection to Vaziani.

To view more of Arne’s work please visit their website.