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PRESERVING PROTEST the future of moscow’s counter cultural heritage By lindsay harkema


PRESERVING PROTEST

the future of moscow’s countercultural heritage

A prediction is a statement about the future. A protest is a statement of objection about a perceived future. Protest and prediction exist in a dialect similar to that of modernization and preservation, each has a tenuous relationship with the past and future. Throughout history, forms of protest have been significant agents of social and political change, from underground countercultural movements to mass public demonstrations. These movements push societal progress and leave historical imprints on the city. The term “Avant Garde”, borrowed from the military term for “front guard” is used to describe creative movements which push boundaries and reject the accepted norms of the current culture. This research centers on Moscow, a city with a unique past and current history of protest. Russia has a difficult relationship with past and future. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the ambition of the nation has flipflopped between an idealization of future and of past. Often the perspective of the government has not aligned with the views of citizens, which has contributed to much of the political turmoil which marked this time period. At the same time, highly ideological eras produced some of the most significant innovation in art, architecture, literature and science of the 20th century. Therefore, motivations of protest, be it a rejection of past or future, were incredible stimulus and inspiration for critical innovation which shaped the nation’s future. When we think of protest, we tend to think of massive crowds in demonstration against a political entity. In its most extreme public form, a protest becomes a revolution. What is less obvious is that these public manifestations of opposition are actually fueled by a deeper, private movement of dissidence. It is this critical undercurrent of opposition which has a broader, and more significant impact on society and its progress. Russia’s history of protest is a testament to this - from the secret societies which built up the opposition to overthrow the Czar to dissident kitchen conversations in the Soviet Union to underground art and literary movements which inhabited private spaces in avoidance of state censorship of public expression. Underground movements such as these are a form of counterculture - the practice of rejection against mainstream societal norms and a private form of protest.

REVOLUTION A revolution begins as an underground private oppositional movement that eventually gains momentum and erupts into the public sphere. In early 19th century Russia, anti-Tsarist sentiments were cultivated in secret societies. They envisioned a socialist future without the autocracy of a Tsar and a society without serfdom. In St. Petersburg, an oppositional group called the Union of Salvation was formed on ambitions for political reform. The Union later divided into the Northern and Southern societies, but their common opposition fueled the Decembrists Revolution of 1825. 3,000 rebels came together in Senate Square with the objective to overthrow the imperial government by force. Although the revolution was unsuccessful, the event marked a shift in the Russian revolutionary movement and a prediction of a more significant revolution to come. The beginning of the pursuit of the future. The public eruptions of opposition in the uprisings of 1825, 1905 and 1917 were the product of deeper, private rebellion which existed in the form of secret societies, oppositional literature and the circulation of underground media spreading messages of protest against the widespread oppression under the tsar. Strict censorship imposed by the government to limit this activity only strengthened its underground existence. Secret assemblies met in private residences, operated cells within factories, universities and even set up printing presses in secluded locations far from the city.1 They published essays, circulated pamphlets and newsletters, and composed manifestos which strengthened their collective opposition, which eventually gained enough strength to erupt in public in the form of the Revolution.

1. Yarmolinsky, Avrahm. Road to Revolution: A Century of Russian Radicalism, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1956.


PRE-REVOLUTION

PRIVATE OPPOSITION SECRET SOCIETIES DISSIDENT LITERATURE

PUBLIC OPPRESSION UNDER CZAR

Forward!

REVOLUTION

Statehood and Anarchy Map of 1905 Uprising centered in the Presnya district of Moscow. Shows the locations and routes of rebels and authorities, as well as barricades constructed by the opposition. Photograph by author, Krasnaya Presnya Museum, February 2013.

“THE SOVIETS IN RUSSIA, THOSE MARVELLOUSLY EFFECTIVE, FLEXIBLE AND REPRESENTATIVE ORGANISATIONS OF THE WORKERS... WERE THE PRODUCT OF THE INVENTIVE GENIUS AND INITIATIVE OF ORDINARY WORKING MEN AND WOMEN.” - Alan Woods The Russian translation of Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto was published in 1882, 35 years after it was originally written. The text described a utopian, classless society, without private property and with a statecontrolled economy, which would be created out of a workers’ revolution against the owner’s of the means of production.2 In some ways, these predictions aligned closely with the ambitions of the oppressed proletariate and revolutionary movement in imperial Russia. Marxist theory inspired the

1818 Union of Welfare 1816 The Society of the True and Faithful Sons

formation of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which would eventually split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik oppositional groups. By the end of the 19th century, amidst industrial decline and mass unemployment, workers’ unrest, strikes and uprisings were gaining widespread prevalence. By 1905, anti-imperialist sentiments were widespread throughout Russia. A grassroots movement of workers’ strikes spread through Moscow. The seminal uprising in December 1905 erupted somewhat spontaneously from a common spirit of protest. “The Moscow uprising did not take place according to a definite plan. There was no direct order from the Central Committee. The initiative came from below—from the workers themselves,” 3. Organizing themselves in factories, the workers voted for an uprising, which began as a mass strike of more than 150,000 workers. The strike gave way to an armed

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Long Live World October [revolution]! Workers conquered power in Russia. Workers will conquer power in the entire world. 1918-1922

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uprising, centered around the Presnya district of Moscow, where the rebels clashed with the authorities for days and constructed massive barricades in the streets. The 1905 revolt was unsuccessful, but the events were exemplary of the growing insurgence, and an incredible vision for the future liberation of the working class. In the following years, many factions continued to assemble in opposition to the imperial regime. In 1917, the October revolution led by the Bolsheviks ultimately led to the overthrow of the government and the establishment of the communist state. Underground movements like the secret societies which fueled the Russian

2. Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, (1848). Public Domain. ibook. >

Revolution are a form of counterculture - the practice of rejection against mainstream societal norms, which is another form of protest. From artistic movements to political factions, countercultural communities are platforms for social experimentation and critique. The secret societies and underground literary movements of the 19th century were also a precedent for later countercultural movements which would emerge in the Soviet Union.

>

1917

1905 MOSCOW REVOLUTION UPRISING

1903 Bolsheviks 1901 Chto Delat? 1883 Social-Democratic 1903 Mesheviks Labour Party 1879 Peopleʼs Will 1876 Society of Land and Liberty 1879 Black Repartition 1874 South Russian Union of Workers 1875 Moscow 1895 Moscow 1871 Chaikovsky Circle Circle Workers League 1870 Nichayev: Russian Revolutionary Committee 1869 Nichayev: Catechism of a Revolutionary DECEMBRIST 1862 Student ʻSunday Schoolsʼ / Central Revolutionary Committee REVOLT 1857 Kolokol (The Bell) Russakoe Slovo 1853 Free Russian Press The Polar Star Young Russia 1845 The Contemporary Emancipation Manifesto 1840s Slavophils/Westernists Fatherland Notes 1821 Northern Society 1821 Southern Society Russkaya Pravda 3. Woods, Alan. Bolshevism: the Road to Revolution. London: Wellred Books, 1999.

Sources: Avrahm Yarmolinsky, Road to Revolution: A Century of Russian Radicalism, 1956., Alan Woods, Bolshevism: Road to Revoution.

1800

1820

1840

1860

1880

1900


Born from the earlier countercultural art movements of Futurism and Dadaism, the artistic Avant Garde had emerged at the height of Russian revolutionary fervor. In the early years of the new Soviet republic, a young generation of designers were commissioned to design the graphic propaganda and built structures which would demonstrate the emancipation of the workers’ state. Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, architecture became the means of transformation of society towards a future collectivized life. As the newly established Soviet state was rethinking the future of society, the Avant-Garde was reinventing the everyday.

FUTURE The Avant-Garde was born at the height of Russian revolutionary fervor, when the future communal utopia seemed attainable if only society could transform quickly enough. By the means of radical experimentation, artists, poets, and architects were striving to foresee, and to realize this utopia. As the newly established Soviet state was rethinking the future of society, the Avant-Garde was reinventing the everyday. By transforming daily life (“byt”), society would also transform from individuals to communal, social beings. These ambitions were reflected in Constructivist architecture during the 1920s and 30s. New ideas, new spaces for the new life of the new man. After the revolution, an extensive propaganda initiative was instituted by the new Soviet state. From political propaganda to cultural experimentation, the ambition was to display the incredible transformation of Communist life as the utopia of an enlightened future. Agitprop trains crossed the country disseminating socialist ideology through performance and printed material. The Bolshevik party seized control of the socialist newspaper Pravda and by censoring all other printed media, made it the only voice heard by the masses.

“...OUR WORLD OF ART HAS BECOME NEW, NONOBJECTIVE, PURE. EVERYTHING HAS VANISHED, THERE REMAINS A MASS OF MATERIAL, FROM WHICH THE NEW FORMS WILL BE BUILT...”

The ambitions of the state ideology were reflected in architecture as new building typologies were necessary to accommodate and facilitate the new socialist life. Many commissions were given to young, innovative architects that had previously been marginalized in the prerevolutionary academia. In 1920, the Vkhutemas school was established in Moscow as the state art and technical university under a state decree for the high quality of technical training and innovation. A new generation of designers imagined architecture as a means to create the new life. “They took every aspect of traditional architecture and tried to change it. For example, historical architecture until the beginning of the 20th century was according to gravity, and it showed this sense of gravity. Avant Garde architects experimented with the ideas of architecture which is against gravitation.”4

these buildings for the everyday where designed with an ambitious idea of collectivized life which could be enabled by the buildings. Communal houses were designed to minimize private life and promote communal life, with minimal apartment spaces and communal service facilities. Workers’ clubs were built as places for social and cultural production. Citizens were intended to visit the clubs for physical and mental exercise, as part of the constant pursuit of personal improvement and aspiration to become the “New Man”. From 1917 to 1932, Moscow was an laboratory of Constructivist architectural experimentation. Hundreds

< Revolution propaganda poster, circa 1920

“AVANT GARDE ARCHITECTS EXPERIMENTED WITH THE IDEA OF ARCHITECTURE AGAINST GRAVITATION.” > 4. Khrustaleva, Marina. discussion on the Avant Garde, Strelka Institute 29 April 2013.

— Marina Khrustaleva of buildings were constructed under the influence of the Avant Garde. Today, many of the most iconic Avant Garde buildings stand as shells of a former utopia, many are dilapidated, caught a web of legal battles and ownership disputes, some facing demolition. They are edifices of a past future rooted in a rejection of history, and a determination to enable a critical social discourse through the design of its space.

“City of the Future”, George Krutik, 1928 Graduation Project, Vkhutemas.

New building typologies emerged as ‘new spaces for the new life of the new man’. Considered ‘social condensers’,

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“Monument to the Third International” Vladimir Tatlin, 1919 unbuilt.

“Communal House”, Nikolai Ladovski, 1924


“The important thing about a club is that the mass of the members must be directly involved. They must not approach it or be channeled into it from the outside as mere entertainment. They themselves must find in it the maximum self expression.”

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PERFORMING

Plan diagram of Pravda Workers” Club, K. Melnikov, 1928

SOCIALIZING CULTURING

SLEEPING < Map of Avant Garde architecture in Moscow by building type. Source of information: MosKonstruct

ANTI-FUTURE Residential The pursuit of the future existed in Russia from 1825 to Institutional 1932. It began in the revolt of the Decembrists, ‘Russia’s Communal first political dissidents’ and ended with the selection Commercial of Boris Iofan’s neoclassical design for the Palace of the Residential Soviets in Moscow and a departure from human scale of architecture. Institutional

Communal

The 1932 Palace of the Soviets competition marked the Commercial end of the Revolutionary period in Russia as ambitious Avant Garde proposals were denied in preference of a

Human scale >

REV OL U

RE TU

REV OL U

RE TU

< Avant Garde architecture, building scale of the community

NO FU

Garages

NO FU

Garages

Department Stores

5. Cohen, Jean-Louis, The Future of Architecture since 1889, London: Phaidon. 2012.

A N T I-F U

Factories

Factories Department Stores

ANT I-F U

Dormitories

Dormitories

<

RE TU

Educational Facilities Educational Facilities

RE TU

Institutions

Clubs Clubs

RE TU

Apartment Buildings Institutions

FU

RE TU

Apartment Buildings

N monumental, neoclassical design representing TIO power and stability. From thisF point on, N U TIO was transformed Soviet architecture into a demonstration of power and excess, the decadence of the present rather than the pursuit of the future. A representation of deeper ideological shifts. The selected design, chosen by a jury led by Stalin, was massive neoclassical tower, enraging members of the Avant Garde around the world. Sigfried Gideon, leader of CIAM, declared the decision “a direct insult to the spirit of Revolution and the Five-year plan - a tragic betrayal.”5 Today, Moscow’s Avant Garde buildings are largely forgotten and facing destruction from neglect, dilapidation and poor management. It seems as though the current state of these icons of Constructivism is a mirror of the decay of a visionary pursuit of future progress.

Soviet Imperial architecture, departure from human and community scale

SANITIZING

— Eli Lis s its ky

EXERCIZING STUDYING EATING SOCIALIZING

“CULTURE ONE AND CULTURE TWO EXIST IN OPPOSITION: ONE REACHES FOR THE FUTURE..THE OTHER TRANSFORMS THE FUTURE INTO ETERNITY WHILE TURNING ITS GAZE BACK ON THE PAST.” - Vladimir Paperny 6 In his book, Architecture in the Age of Stalin, Vladimir Paperny describes the period of the Avant Garde as Culture One and the era of Stalin’s rule as Culture Two. These two cultures are opposed to each other in that Culture One is defined by the pursuit of future while Culture Two declares the present as eternity, ‘the future postponed indefinitely’. “Culture One declares itself the beginning of history. Culture Two declares itself the end of history.”6 This notion was reflected in the shift of architectural design, from the Avant Garde movement based on modernism and experimentation to the neoclassical tradition of Soviet Imperial Style. A protest of the future. In 1932 the Central Committee of the Communist Party declared that all artistic and literary groups would be eliminated and replaced by official state unions for creative professions. From this point on, art, architecture,

literature, music and theatre had to conform to official standards. The revolutionary experimentation and radicalism of the early Soviet era was replaced by an ideology of power and control. The state aesthetic shifted from the Avant Garde to monumental and domineering. By imposing sweeping restrictions against intellectualism, innovation and imagination, the state rejected the future it had been building since the Revolution. At the same time, the Soviet regime also rejected the nation’s history. The state anti-religious campaign escalated its prohibition of religious activity. Traditions, mythologies and folklores of the past were lost as the state enacted a widespread rewriting of history. The built environment was a visible victim to this rejection of history. In total, more than 7000 buildings and 368 churches were demolished between 1917 and 1953.7 This architectural era came to an end with Khrushchev’s 1954 speech calling for more efficient building methods, industrial production, and the ‘elimination of superfluity’ in building design. Later, Moscow Mayor Luzkhov would make the reconstruction of historical buildings including several cathedrals a major priority during his time in office in the 1990s. Public Display, Private Dissent

< Plan diagram of the Communal House of the Textile Institute, I. Nikolaev, 1932. a “machine for creating urban peopole”

6. Paperny, Vladimir. Architecture in the Age of Stalin, Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

7.Harris, Edmund. “Ecclesastical Architecture.” Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point II, 2009, pp. 35-47.


1825 Decembrist Revolt

1905 Moscow Uprising

1917 October Revolution

1931 Palace of the Soviets Competition

1955 Khruschevʼs Speech “On the elimination of superfluity in design and construction”

1989 USSR Break Up

SOVIET MAY 1 PARADES AGIT PROP

1800

ANTI-WEST

ANTI-FUTURE

1900 SECRET SOCIETIES

1925

BOLSHEVIKS

2010 State Restitution of Church Property

MAY 1 PARADES ANTI-WAR

AVANTGARDE SOVIET EMPIRICAL STYLE

FUTURE

2000 Christ the Savior Church reconstruction completed

MASS PRODUCTION

1950

RECONSTRUCTION

NO FUTURE 1975

2000

KITCHEN TALKS WORKERS OPP NEPMEN

PROTEST SAMIZDAT

CHRONICLE OF C.E. STRATEGY 31

POETRY READINGS SOTS ART

VOINA

APT ART

2012 Pussy Riot Punk Prayer

MOSCOW CONCEPTUALISM PAPER ARCHITECTURE

1958 1974 Monument to Vladimir Bulldozer Mayakovsky built Exhibition

“THE KITCHEN TABLE BECAME A BACK STAGE SOCIAL SPACE FOR SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS OF THE INTELLIGENTSIA” 8

1993 Constitutional Crisis 1991 Anti-Soviet Protests

2005 Left Front

2009 ArchNadzor

2004 Moscow Architectural Preservation Society

An integral part of maintaining the state ideology was state-mandated public demonstrations which protested conditions of the world outside the Soviet Union. After the revolution, Communist ideology was forcefully spread by State propaganda. In cities, public space became the State-controlled platform for demonstrations of loyalty. May 1, or the Day of International Solidarity of the Working Class, was celebrated with compulsory parades glorifying the Soviet Union. Flags and banners displayed provocative text and imagery to inspire enthusiasm and a collectivized spirit. During the mid 20th century, similar tactics were used as a means to portray the Soviet Union as idyllic compared to the injustice and obscenity of the outside world. Antiwar and anti-nuclear weapon messages rejected projected behavior of the West. Pro-workers’ and womens’ rights slogans emphasized the progressive nature of the Soviet Union. By mobilizing Soviet citizens against an external enemy, the State could perpetuate its own ideology. In this way, public space became the space of State manipulation and control. It was active with demonstrations, but the criticism targeted the outside -- the Other that was not the Soviet Union. Therefore, opposition to the Soviet regime was unexpressed in public. Amidst strong state propaganda and increasing restrictions against artistic experimentation, private opposition emerged in the underground. Communal kitchens became venues of political discussions, often

fostering an Anti-Soviet sentiment. Artist communities operated unofficially against the restrictions of the Soviet government. The artwork incorporated trash, political propaganda, kitsch, and political messages in opposition to the Soviet regime. As free expression was made obsolete in public space, dissent was fostered behind closed doors, in private spaces. The informal practice of kitchen conversations was a common outlet for citizens to express their opposition. “The private sphere was in many cases strengthened as a result of the swelling and oppressive encroachments of the public sphere.”6 Samizdat, the practice of ‘self-publishing’ or making and distributing literature that was banned by the State became an important method of rebellion against government censorship in the 1960s. The texts were both historical and contemporary assemblages, some politically oriented and some not. Produced by hand or on privately owned typewriters, samizdat was a physical representation of the private space of dissent in the Post-Stalin Soviet Union. Its inherently rough and imperfect material form was a testament to the process of its making and the rejection of official publication. “Highly circulated typescripts became brittle and worn from handling, the physical page seemed as embattled and fragile as the Soviet author himself ”.9 It also represented an unfinished or in process state - the ongoing discourse of dissent. Not unlike aging and wear of use of a building.

8. Viola, Lynne. Contending with Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance in the 1930s. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002.

9. Komaromi, Ann. “The Material Existence of Soviet Samizdat”, Slavic Review, Vol. 63, No. 3. (Autumn, 2004), pp. 597618.

Below: Examples of worn Samizdat publications vs. the worn facade of the Narkomfin building today


SOVIET ERA

PRIVATE OPPOSITION KITCHEN TALKS, SAMIZDAT/ LITERATURE AND POETRY UNDERGROUND

ART

PUBLIC LOYALTY PROPAGANDA: AGITPROP, PRO-SOVIET RALLIES STATE MANDATED PROTEST

PRE-REVOLUTION

POST-SOVIE

PRIVATE


A related unofficial movement took place in the art community, also under strict censorship by the State. Under the government restrictions, the only official artistic style allowed was Soviet Realism. A group of conceptual artists began to self-organize exhibitions and events around their work in the private sphere. Moscow Conceptualism, though it rejected the official doctrine, was not intentionally political. Rather, “The Moscow Conceptualists looked for spaces of exception - it was about installing inside society...not to fight against the censorship, but to avoid the space where censorship was a problem.” 10 Collective Actions, a performance art group, took their work far outside the city, often to the country or woods, as an attempt to fully escape the city and its control. In 1974, artists staged an exhibition of their work on the grounds of the Belayevo residential district, which was physically bulldozed by the state authorities. Amidst severe restrictions of expression under the Brezhnev administration, the dissident movement arose in the intellectual community during this time. Respected academic figures such as historian Roy Medvedev and physicist Andrea Sakharov published their opinions in the form of essays for which they were prosecuted by the Soviet authorities. Many dissident writers of the time were incarcerated in mental institutions or exiled from the country. During this time, a quiet opposition amongst many of the population looked outside of Russia to the West, and even outside of the present to the past in search for inspiration. “The past was used to protest against the present and therefore to affect somehow the future.” An interest in rediscovering the past arose, as a means of restoring a cultural heritage that had been lost in the Soviet Union. The practices of kitchen conversations, samizdat, and underground art in the Soviet Union were significant in that they gave expression to the private dissent that was difficult to be shared or cultivated under the government’s extreme control. They also demonstrated a current of grassroots protest which reflected not an oppositional ideology, but a space of exception for a progressive discourse, despite the harsh political context.

APARTMENT AS SPACE OF EXCEPTION “The fictitious hero of this 1984 installation is a lonely dreamer who develops an impossible project: to fly alone in cosmic space. But this dream is also an individual appropriation of a collective Soviet project and the official Soviet propaganda connected to it. Having built a makeshift slingshot, the hero apparently flies through the ceiling of his shabby room and vanishes into space. The miserable room and the primitive slingshot suggest the reality behind the Soviet utopia, in which where cosmic vision and the political project of the Communist revolution are seen as indissoluble.” - Boris Groys, Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment. Boston: MIT Press. 2006.

< Andrei Sakharov and his wife, prominent members of the dissident movement of the 1970s 10. Groys, Boris. discussion about Moscow, Berlin. 21 March 2013..

< Exhibition at the Treknyprudny Lane artist squat, 1991 NO FUTURE The Soviet Union ended with public demonstrations not oriented toward the future, but in protest of the Soviet past. The artistic community, suddenly liberated in public, demonstrated a new form of protest against the institution. Rejecting official museums and galleries, groups like the Moscow Conceptualists and Actionism took their art to the public space in and outside the city. Artists squatted illegally in apartments and held informal exhibitions as a way of maintaining the underground art space despite its permission in the public realm. During this time, perhaps as an extension of the interest in restoring cultural heritage at the governmental level, the city of Moscow under Mayor Luzhkov was undergoing a period of reconstruction. Pre-revolutionary architectural icons that had been destroyed during the Soviet Union were rebuilt in protest of the recent past, but also in protest of the future. These gestures are the physical evidence of a focus on healing the city of the past, but without a vision for the future.

11. Smirnova, Anastassia. discussion about the dissident movement of the 1970s-80s. Moscow/ Rotterdam. 2 April 2013.

Collective Actions group, 1976 - 1990


BACk AND FRONT STAGE SPACES OF PROTEST

MOSCOW PROTEST OVER THE YEARS

Rebel Barricade in Presnya, Moscow Uprising, 1905

Trekhprudny Lane Art Squat, 1991

Occupy Abai camp, Chistye Prudy 2012

Kitchen Talks

Apartment Art

Camp/Barricade

Constitutional Crisis, White House, Presnya, 1993

Moscow Trials play honoring Pussy Riot (raided by police), Sakharov Center, 2013

Performance Literary Meeting Public rally

In 2012, Moscow witnessed the largest public demonstrations since the end of the Soviet Union, when citizens gathered in public space to protest against the government’s manipulation of the presidential election. Since that time, several new laws and restrictions against public expression and increasingly severe punishments for violations have been enacted, signaling a general decline of freedom in public space. It seems that this declining freedom is ambiguous, it is no longer clear what is and is not allowed in public. The Pussy Riot incarcerations after their ‘punk prayer’ performance in Christ the Savior

Cathedral in February 2012 and the ongoing trials for protesters prosecuted for violence which erupted during the May 6 2012 rally are harsh examples of authority crackdown on public expression. Because of this people are less and less actively taking ownership of public space. After the wave of public protests of 2012, the attendance at opposition events are decreasing, the movement appears to be fading. What does this weak public activity imply about private space and private criticism? The essential backstage social spaces of counterculture and productive dissent are missing.

NEPmen, 1924

Bulldozer Art Exhibition, Belayevo, 1974

Art Against Commerce, Exhibition/Action, 1986

Russia for Fair Elections rally, Bolotnaya Square, 2012


IET ERA

PUBLIC LOYALTY PROPAGANDA: AGITPROP, PRO-SOVIET RALLIES STATE MANDATED PROTEST

REVOLUTION

POST-SOVIET ERA

PRIVATE

PUBLIC

PRESE

PRIVATE

OPPOSITION PROTESTS

OPPOSITION PROTEST

ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

INSULAR INITIATIVES / EXHIBITIONS

REJECTION OF INSTITUTIONS

LOYALTY


Do you support the mass protest movement?

160,000

55% support the opposition

Do you support the opposition?

re nsu

YES

NO

NO e sur ure un uns

NO

NO

YES

NO NO Open criticism is good for the country?

Does the opposition have a sound plan for the future?

50,000

2011-2013 Public Protests Freedom Index, Freedom House Annual World Report 2012

22% believe protest movement has a sound Does Russia need an opposition? objective

Open criticism is good for the country?

13. The Levada Center, Do you support the mass protest movem Annual Public Opinion Survey, Moscow, 2012.

NO ?

NO

YES YES

YES

NO

Open criticism is good for the country?

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

support for open criticism of authority

Does the opposition have a sound plan for the future?

FREE

POLICE FORCEFULLY DISPERSE RALLIES TO ASSERT RIGHT TO FREE ASSEMBLY

MAY 6-8 PROTESTS AGAINST PUTIN’S RE-INAUGURATION, 1000+ DETAINED

INCREASE OF FINES FOR VIOLATING RULES OF PUBLIC EVENTS, CRIMINAL OFFENSE

<

‘EXTREMIST’ INTERNET CENSORSHIP LAST INDEPENDENT NATIONAL TV STATION SHUT DOWN

EXTENSION OF PRESIDENTIAL TERM FROM 4 TO 6 YEARS

STATE MEDIA ATTACKS HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS

NEW LAW EXPANDING DEFINITION OF CRIMINAL TREASON

PARTIALLY FREE R CONCENTRATION OF REGIONAL CONTROL TO PUTIN

US SI A

2000

NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR NGOs

FEDERAL LAW 54 RESTRICTIONS FOR PUBLIC PROTESTS

PUTIN ANNOUNCES HE WILL REMAIN IN POWER AS PRIME MINISTER

US ADOPTION BAN BAN ON LGBT EXPRESSION

RUSSIA FOR FREE ELECTIONS, WITHOUT PUTIN PROTESTS

PROTESTERS AGAINST SOCIAL REFORMS ARRESTED

FOREIGN AID TO POLITICAL CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS BAN

PUSSY RIOT PUNK PRAYER: 2 GIRLS SENTENCED TO 2 YEARS IN PRISON

SEVERE REGISTRATION LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS OPPOSITION LEADERS SILENCED

DEC 5-7 PROTESTS AFTER ELECTIONS, HUNDREDS ARRESTED, LEADERS JAILED

AUTHORITIES PROHIBIT OR DISPERSE MOST PUBLIC PROTESTS IN 2007

NGO RAIDS

NOT FREE 2005

2010

2013

sur e

6 MAY 13

42% support mass protests

un

Therefore, a new protest model and a new space of counterculture should be introduced in the city. This new typology will be a catalyst for future protest movements, sure YES n achieving maximum effect without maximum number u of people assembling in crowds. Instead of centralized and confined to a singular event in at one place and NO time, this model will be distributed throughout the city. Furthermore, it should restore and preserve the physical heritage of revolution in Moscow.

re

10 DEC 11 50,000

NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR POLITCAL PARTIES

sur

un

12. Alexei Levinson, “City Built and City Virtual: What is Moscow?” Strelka Institute, 5 March 2013.

YES YES YES

unsu

30,000

1995

Open criticism is good for the country?

Does the opposition have a sound plan for the future?

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

4 FEB 12 6 MAY 12 BOLOTNAYA SQUARE

1991

75% believe open criticism is good for the country

?

YES

sur e

NO

YES u Moscow’s history of protest has shown that opposition manifests in two spheres - the front-stage and backstage social spaces. The most significant public events are fueledNO by the underground countercultures which critically engage with ideas about alternative futures. It is most critical now to enable the backstage spaces in order to restore the visionary social collaboration which fuels society change and progress.

10 MAR12 25,000

YES

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Does Russia need an opposition?

NO

YES

re

50,000

NO

re

15 DEC 12 2,000 7 MAY12 OCCUPY 3,000

13 JAN 13

sur e

re

YES NO

Does the opposition have a sound plan for the future?

17 MAY12 1,000

un

?

e sur

un

YES

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

120,000

YES

Do you support the oppos

unsu

26 FEB12 30,000

24 DEC 11

NO

unsu

50,000

Do you support the mass protest movement?

YES NO

YES

sur e

3 MAY 12 25,000 12 JUN 12

unsu

?

16 SEP 12

100,000

Do you support the opposition?

Does Russia need an opposition?

NO

un

Alexei Levinson of the Levada Center believes that there is a growing level of private dissent in the population e sur YESnumber un today, and that this and the declining of protesters reveals a shift in the mindset of Russian citizens.12 According to public polls, the majorityNO believes that open criticism of authority is good, and most support the opposition movement. However, only a minority supports the mass protest movement and even fewer believe it has a sound objective.13 The recent wave of public protests have been largely mostly - demonstrations of opposition without a clear idea of an alternative future.

Do you support the mass protest movement?

un

Does Russia need an opposition?

YES

Artist-led ‘Control Walk’ e sur police crackdown after n u against public rallies, Chistye Prudy, May 2012.

NO


ZUEV WORKERS’ CLUB I. Golosov, 1927-1929 Status: Public cultural center, Children’s center

OGONYOK PRINTING PLANT El Lissitzky, 1930-1934 Status: abandoned and unused, removed from protected cultural landmarks list RUSAKOV WORKERS’ CLUB K. Melnikov, 1929 Status: undergoing restoration

BREAD FACTORY NO. 5 G. Marsakov, 1927-1931 Status: mostly vacant, intended to be restored and converted into apartments NARKOMFIN COMMUNAL HOUSE M. Ginzburg, 1928-1932 Status: partially inhabited, severe decay of the exterior, restoration intended

public/private

APARTMENT 80 m2

ROOM 9 m2

private enclaves

new semi-private typology

urban distribution

MELNIKOV HOUSE K. Melnikov, 1929 Status: At Risk due to nearby construction, intended to become a museum

KAUCHUCK FACTORY CLUB K. Melnikov, 1927-1929 Status: under threat of demolition, unclear ownership

MISSING SCALE:

SHUKHOV TOWER V. Shukhov, 1922 Status: under threat of demolition, UNESCO Endangered Building

typ. apt. Belayeavo

SHARED PERSONAL THOUGHT COMMUNAL STAGE THOUGHT

KITCHEN 20 m2 typ. workersʼ housing

170 m2 Zuev Workers Club

RATIONAL CHARGED CONVERSABUILDING SMALL SQUARE ASSEMBLY TION 1160 m2 3685 m2

Rusakov Workersʼ Club

Chistye Prudy

POLITICAL STREET MARCH 11,700 m2 Pushkinskaya

OUTBURST OF ANGER LARGE SQUARE 36,000 m2

100m

PRIVATE DISTRIBUTED

PERFORMANCE

CAMP/ BARRICADE

LITERARY MEETING

APARTMENT ART

KITCHEN TALK

CENTRALIZED

The decay of Moscow’s Constructivist architecture is a mirror of the decay of a vision for the future. Buildings like the Melnikov House, Shukhov Tower, Ognuk Printing Plant and Narkomfin Communal Building face uncertain futures threatened by dilapidation, ownership disputes, and a lack of action for their preservation. The prevalence of these buildings in need of rethinking offers a readymade collection of existing sites throughout the city which can become the new network of backstage social spaces for future countercultural movements. Like the worn pages of well-circulated samizdat texts, the physical wear of the buildings represents an continual process of developing the future which is also rooted in the past. Distributed through the city, the buildings will also be catalysts for a new urban community. Community is a product of protesting against society, a form of bonding through a rejection of a mainstream thing.14 This community will be unique in that it is based not on a set system of beliefs, but on the perpetual pursuit of progress and freedom. My proposal has two parts: restoration and preservation.

MISSING SCALE:

typ. apt. Belayeavo

COMMUNAL STAGE KITCHEN 20 m2 170 m2 Zuev typ. Workers workersʼ Club housing

RALLY

PUBLIC

DISTRIBUTED

APARTMENT 80 m2

STUDENT COMMUNE OF THE TEXTILE INSTITUTE I. Nikolaev, 1928-1931 Status: partially leased, partially gutted

Bolotnaya Square

PRIVATE

ROOM 9 m2

COMMUNAL HOUSE FOR KURSK WORKERS G. Marsakov, 1928 Status:

BUILDING 1160 m2

SMALL SQUARE 3685 m2

STREET 11,700 m2

LARGE SQUARE 36,000 m2

Rusakov Workersʼ Club

Chistye Prudy

Pushkinskaya

Bolotnaya Square

100m

PUBLIC CENTRALIZED

Moscow’s social heritage of counterculture and private dissent is in need of restoration, while its physical architectural heritage of the Avant Garde should be preserved. I propose that these buildings become venues to be occupied by future countercultures and protest movements, as catalysts for social awareness and engagement. These buildings should be preserved not based on political ideology, but the ambition for social progress with which they were designed. As signifiers of an era of revolutionary thinking and communal production, the buildings of the Avant Garde are appropriate facilities for new types of social engagement and alternative use. Departing from the ideologies they were designed to impose, the buildings will become places for flexible and adaptable use. By inhabiting the spaces of the once forgotten Avant Garde, future countercultural movements will revitalize the physical and intellectual heritage of the city. They will become enablers of social progress and the [back]stages for future historic events. In this way, the architecture of the past will enable the revolutions of the future.

14. Reinier De Graaf, “Architecture and Community”, Strelka Talks Series, 16 May 2013.


REFERENCES Experts

Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, 2012.

http://www.avangard-ru.org/

Alexei Levinson Anastassia Smirnova Boris Groys Kirill Rogov Marian Khrustaleva

Havel, Vaclav, “The Power of the Powerless” / The Power of the Powerless: Citizens against the State in CentralEastern Europe (orig. 1979, 1985), edited by John Keane and translated by Paul Wilson. Armonk, NY: ME Sharpe.

Moscow Conceptualism, http://www.conceptualismmoscow.org/

Levinson, Alexei, “Spaces of Protest: Moscow Rallies and Community Residents” Moscow: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, 2012.

Russian Utopia: A Depository, http://www.utopia.ru/

Books Vasilev, Nikolai, Marianna Evstratova, Elena Ovyannikova, Oleg Panin. Справочник-Путеводитель Архитектура Авангарда. (Directory-Guidebook of Avant-garde Architecture). Moskva: S.E. Gordeev, 2011. Cohen, Jean-Louis, The Future of Architecture since 1889, London: Phaidon. 2012. Groys, Boris. Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Outer Space from His Apartment. London: Afterall Books. 2006 Harvey, David. Rebel Cities. New York: Brooklyn: Verso Books, 2012. Lefebvre, Henri. The Urban Revolution. Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, (1848). Public Domain. ibook. Nawratek, Krzysztof. Holes in the Whole: Introduction to the Urban Revolutions, Croydon: Zero Books, 2012. Paperny, Vladimir. Architecture in the Age of Stalin, Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Viola, Lynne. Contending with Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance in the 1930s. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002

Mull, Robert, and Xenia Adjoubei. “Ruins of Utopia”, The Architectural Review, 29 March 2013. http://www. architectural-review.com/essays/ruins-of-utopia/8644716. article. Komaromi, Ann. “The Material Existence of Soviet Samizdat”, Slavic Review, Vol. 63, No. 3. (Autumn, 2004), pp. 597-618. Kuran, Timur. (1995) “The Inevitability of Future Revolutionary Surprises.” American Journal of Sociology 100.6: 1528-551. Rowley, Tom. “All dissidents now: Russia’s protests and the mirror of history”, Open Democracy Russia, 29 Mar 2013. http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-rowley/alldissidents-now-russias-protests-and-mirror-of-history. Reports Freedom House, “Freedom in the World 2013”, Available Online: http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/ FIW%202013%20Booklet%20-%20for%20Web_1.pdf. Levada Center, “Russian Public Opinion Survey”, Moscow: 2012. Moscow Architectural Preservation Society, ed. Edmund Harris, “Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point II”, 2009.

Woods, Alan. Bolshevism: the Road to Revolution. London: Wellred Books, 1999. Available online: http:// www.marxist.com/bolshevism-old/index.html.

Websites

Articles & Essays

DOCOMOMO - The International Working Group on Documentation and Conservation of buildings, places and objects of modern town planning movement. Russian Branch, http://docomomo.ru/ru.

Groys, Boris, “Public Space: The Paradox of Emptiness.” Moscow: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, 2012. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri, “Declaration.” Argo Navis Author Services. 2012 Harris, Edmund. “Ecclesastical Architecture.” Moscow Heritage at Crisis Point II, 2009, pp. 35-47. Hatherley, Owen, “Across the Plaza.” Moscow: Strelka

Archnadzor, http://www.archnadzor.ru/

International Marxist Tendency, http://www.marxist.com/ Moscow Architecture Preservation Society, http://www. maps-moscow.com/ Moscow Avant Garde Heritage Preservation Foundation,

Moskonstruct, http://www.moskonstruct.eu/

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, http://www. soviethistory.org/ The Constructivist Project, http://theconstructivistproject. com/

PRESERVING PROTEST  

The Future of Moscow's Countercultural Heritage. A research report on the space of protest in the city, focusing on the city of Moscow. A...

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