Clark Fellow Juliet Koss presents, "Model Soviet Time Machines."
This talk addresses a range of representations of architectural construction and urban development in Moscow in the 1930s on the part of the artists Aleksandr Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova and the writers Viktor Shklovsky and Sergei Tret’iakov. From a planned “planetarium in reverse” offering a time machine for architectural tourism to an album showcasing the city’s development in diagrams, foldouts, and varied photographic styles – plus a dozen issues of the journal USSR in Construction along the way – new Soviet buildings and projects were often showcased by means of a dizzying conflation of temporal frameworks. In each case, photography and design not only helped document and promote the process of constructing the nation but also offered visual parallels for the temporal confusion of Soviet urban experience.
Juliet Koss is Associate Professor of Art History at Scripps College in Claremont, California. A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German and Soviet art, architecture, and related fields, she is the author of Modernism after Wagner (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), a finalist for the College Art Association’s Charles Rufus Morey Book Award. She was a Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin in 2009 and, in 2011, the Rudolf Arnheim Visiting Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin; in 2015, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. At the Clark, she will work on “Model Soviets,” a book on the Soviet obsession with construction in the 1920 and 1930s that explores how images of architecture—photographs of models, still and moving images of buildings under scaffolding, and representations of completed works—emblematized the construction of the Soviet state.