an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 15-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Polina Yamshchikov. Location: New York, United States Copyright Wondereur 2020.

MEET with artist Michael Kukla curated by respected New York-based art critic Jill Conner.

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WATER IS A TOOL IN ITSELF. IT CAN CARVE MOUNTAINS AND CREATE CANYONS.
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As a child, my family and I lived on the 20th floor of a high-rise in Havana, Cuba. I remember a massive hurricane hit us and the place got flooded. It’s now a dilapidated ruin.
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WATER IS A VERY TRANSFORMATIVE FORCE.
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When we first moved to the U.S., my family went on a cross-country roadtrip. We helped my father collect samples of soil deposits where the old glaciers used to be.
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We were quite involved in my father’s work. I actually followed his footsteps and studied geology for two years before switching majors and taking art.
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Up in Vermont where I studied, there are lots of abandoned quarries that I often visited. I used to go down into them with ropes, and my friends and I would photograph these spaces. At a certain point, I started collecting rocks and carving small pieces of stone.
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I WAS FASCINATED BY QUARRIES, THESE HOLES IN THE ROCK SOMETIMES 700 FEET DEEP.
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At the beach you see this carved-out stone; it’s very similar to my work but on a grander scale, and more nicely done.
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FOR ME, EARTH IS REALLY QUITE FLUID. IT’S NOT STATIC.
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Rocks are usually considered a non-moving entity.
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I see them as these very fluid, transformative things.
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GIVEN THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME, EARTH IS LIKE WATER. IN A GEOLOGICAL SENSE OF TIME.