A coloristic image of the modern northern city (the example of Norilsk) 

Sakharova A.S.






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In this paper, mutual influence of the color and image of the city in the perception of the residents is studied with the example of the city of Norilsk located 300 km north of the Arctic Circle. The chronological span is limited to the present moment, however, part of the study concerns the period since the foundation of the city (1935). The aim of the study is to determine how the coloristics supports the image of the city in the minds of its residents. Concerning the methods, the study was divided into several blocks. In the first part (the actual palette of the city), the method of categorization of color carriers and method of generalization of color shades were used. In the second part (hypotheses about the contours of group images), the content-analysis of the social networks and media was used. In the third part (hypotheses testing), the methods of questionnaires and quota sampling were employed. In the fourth block, in-depth interviews with Photo-Voice were conducted. As a result, it was found that coloristics is closely interconnected with the image of the territory. In particular, the use of bright colors in the architecture of the 1950s in Leninsky Prospect accurately identifies the historical events associated with the builders of the city (political prisoners of GULAG). The architecture of other historical periods is less contemptable, thus the events are not integrated into group images. Therefore, the city is associated with the talent and resilience of the prisoners and supports a sense of self-continuity of the exiled intellectuals among the inhabitants. The life in the city is still thought of through the categories of heroism, whereas all subsequent events are perceived as imposed (industrial exploitation of resources, type-design practice in building). Therefore, when the residents contrapose the beauty of Leninsky Prospekt to the rest of the city, actually, the talent, intelligence, and respect to the nature are opposed to the degradation of the territory. The presence of the blue-colored buildings and symbolism of the city-forming company reinforces the image of Norilsk as a center of metallurgy, since the production is present in the city in the form of symbols. The image of Norilsk as an isolated city is enhanced by the difference in color between the back yard and street facades. The city is perceived by the residents as a decoration, its problems are not interesting to external observers. The perception of the city as a larger category of the Far North is reflected in the coloristic image of the city.

Keywords: Arctic, coloristics, image of the city, visual geography, urban studies.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 30.05.2021

Article is published: 15.09.2022


Sakharova A.S., Government of Moscow, Sretenka st., 28, Moscow, 107045, Russian Federation, E-mail: an.sakharova.s@gmail.com, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0813-9280