A Very Big Lake
in the Very Far East

Natalia Mikołajczuk


Artistic care:
Krzysztof Pacholak, Agnieszka Pajączkowska

30 copies

My very big lake

… on the Very Far East

The Siemianówka dam lake is located right near the Polish-Belorussian border. It was created between the 70’s and 80’s. Unfortunately the visionary project turned into a relic of the unhealthy communist ambitions. Until this day, nobody is able to take responsibility for the problems of this “lake”.

I have been photographing the area of the dam for the last few years. I wanted to investigate this seemingly wild, yet in reality completely artificial landscape. The book features photographs and text, statements about Siemianówka, which I found on open Internet forums, in the comments section under articles concerning the dam and often even on tourist information websites. My goal was to let them speak for themselves, in the company of the photo documentation of my own, a subjective journey.

Form of publication

format: 20 x 24 cm
technique: digital printing
cover: soft, riveted

The form of publication refers to several important threads on the project. To the times when the dam was created – that is the times of Polish People’s Republic – thus the cover is made of shopworn, yellow paper from the bindery. Because of that each actual copy is different.

My research of information and statements on the subject of Siemianówka, with many “accusations”, bringing to mind an accusatory trial, inspired the form of the photobook connoting a briefcase, files or court records.

The rivets, instead of traditional binding, somewhat resemble the elements of construction, which we can see on the dam. Two kinds of paper were used in the book, to distinguish two of its parts – the introduction containing the documentation of the dam’s history and the photographic part.