I would like to tell a fairy tale about the Perm Sea. Almost 300 million years ago the enormous Perm Sea was waving from the cold Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea. A lot of fish lived there, and along the coast dinosaurs wandered. But with time water went away, the sea fell asleep, the inhabitants of the Perm Sea and of its coast died. The sea dried up, and turned into salt. Millions of years later people came for hidden salt as if for treasure trove. They drilled the ground with huge machines in order to take as much salt as they could. To make drilling more comfortable, people built towns close to their salt mines. So my native town Berezniki appeared. People were stealing salt so impudently that woke the sea up. It turned back and started to take revenge on people. Water was filling the salt mines and dissolving salt, so no one could take it again. Houses, cars and people were inundated by the sea. The mines began to collapse leaving enormous holes on the surface. The ground and houses were being covered in cracks. So my town was sinking into the ground and turning into ruins. In some places the sea moved upward to the surface. Now there is wasteland where I used to walk in my childhood, houses and schools are ruined. And I am standing on the edge of this wasteland as if on the sea coast and singing a lullaby to the sea.
Ekaterina Balaban works with the topics of mutual interaction between the natural environment and person, anthropogenic changes in nature, psychogeography and social memory of the natural landscape.
Ekaterina Balaban was born in Berezniki in the Urals.
Since 2016 has begun studying documentary photography. Graduated from the DocDocDoc school and Rodchenko Art School . Studied in the master class led by Antoine d’Agata (member of the “Magnum Photo agency”) at the Independent Publishing House “Void” (Greece, 2017) and in the workshop “Storytelling as a Tool for Social Change”, led by Tanya Habjouqa (member of “VII Photo agency”) at the ISSP Summer School (Latvia, 2019).
As documentary artist and photographer has been published in online magazines and participated in art exhibitions.