"Barbed wire of memory: pain and silence in the history of the WWII occupa-tion
of Soviet territories," Aleksei Golubev
discusses barbed wire as a material object which organizes practices of memorization
and historical representation of the WWII-era occupation of Soviet Karelia, a
region in northwestern
"Toys as ‘objects in quotes’: translation vs. transposition," an article by Viktor Vakhshtayn, offers an example of micro-sociological analysis of a social phenome-non which we encounter all the time in everyday life, but which remains outside the purview of global sociological theories on account of its not being considered fully legitimate. Those scholars of Culture and Psyche who do discuss toys in their work tend to replace the toys’ materiality and concreteness with their "values," "significance," "long-term psychological effects," "behavioral patterns" and "socia-lizing functions." Meanwhile, they leave out the function of toys as concrete ma-terial objects in concrete situations of social interaction. How does a toy "work"? How does it direct the actions of children and adults? Which forms of interaction does it support and which does it block? What happens when toys break? How do toys command our attention and imagination? Or, to employ another discourse: how are material objects incorporated into interactions of play? How do they par-ticipate in the constitution of social worlds? How is the social world assembled, fabricated, framed and transformed by our emotional relationships with material objects? This article presents toys as concrete material objects built into the architecture of interaction here and now.
elements of the semiotics of Charles Sanders Peirce (his concept of qualisigns), Krisztina Fehervery
in "From Socialist Modern to Supernatural Organicism:
Political affect and Materialities of the Home in
Hungary," suggests a des-criptive model for a socialist society (here — Hungarian)
through the prism of its material environment: the architectural style of
buildings that house its members, the interior design of their homes, everyday
household objects, etc. This material environment, which initially depends on
the existing political and ideological regime, in turn affects individuals’
ideas about the world, and through this process again
affects ideology — ultimately this is reflected in the socio-political
structure of the society. Feherevary highlights four
ideological-material transformations in
ARCHITECTURE AND UTOPIA
"Architecture and Utopia: a missed encounter," from Luisa Lorenza Corna, addresses the dialectical relationship between architecture and politics, through a comparison of Russian Constructivists with Italian architects — Aldo Rossi and members of the Archizoom group. Having placed their work in a political and eco-nomic context, she examines the possibility for architecture to embody a political ideal or, on the contrary, opposition to the surrounding reality. Corna examines three options for the cooperation between architecture and utopia. In the first, Soviet, option, the attempt to work against the preceding "imperfection" led to the imposition of a specific idea of the future onto the present, and the predomi-nance of monolithic over incipient experimental forms. Rossi’s ideas about the pro-duction of architecture as a single product opposed to the capitalist paradigm turned out to be an attempt to oppose (at least metaphorically) the grand-scale capitalist city planning of 1970s Italy. "Archizoom," on the other hand, responded to the very same political impulses with the idea of a future in which architecture disappears and is replaced by a modular network, to be appropriated and organized by city residents themselves. Archizoom’s rejection of any and all city planning in favor of a self-regulated structure essentially supported the entropic urbanism of the post-capitalist city. At the same time, Rossi was unable to create an extra-his-torical or anti-historical space that would be excluded from a system of practical coordinates.
Alan Smart presents "Sex and the Social
city: How the Party ends up in the Kitchen": in the mid
architects from Germany came to the Soviet Union to work as technical experts
in the massive campaign of rapid industriali-zation, urbanization and social
transformation taking place under the auspices of the first five-year plan.
They would bring with them concepts and ideals from both modernist
architectural discourse and from Marxist and nascent Marxist-feminist thinking
about how the relations of production and the structure of society are manifest
in and choreographed by architecture. In the
A study by Viktor Vakhshtayn, "The sociology of the architectural object
between formal and practical rationality," presents micro-sociological
analysis in the framing theory, wherein the primary interest is directed toward
the routine everyday interactions between people and a given object, rather
than focusing on the formal structure of the object in and of itself. In other
words, this approach takes as its object of analysis the specific methods for
incorporating the subjects of investigation into the world of social
interactions. As we know, the urban envi-ronment is studied by psychologists,
cultural theorists and economists, as well as by specialists in urban planning
and geography. For the sociologist, however, the city is most interesting in
its social organization and the social construction of various (public and private)
spaces. In this article, Vakhshtayn takes the central
as labor, laughter as a commodity" by Ilya
gnomes, or, The epistemology of the Soviet wit"
by Natalia Skradol explores
proverbs and sayings that were popularized in Stalin’s
"Fighting horror with laughter: On refined weapons of the proletariat’s jesters" by Serguei Oushakine traces, using materials of public debates about the nature and content of "red laughter" of the 1920s— 1930s, the ways through which early Soviet culture was negotiating "the problem" of political and aesthetic acceptabi-lity of the comic under socialism in such areas as Soviet agit-hall or Soviet satire. In particular, the article demonstrates how the militant laughter of the 1920s— 1930s evolved into a "positive satire" and "lyrical grin" by the 1950s.
"Gogols and Shchedrins: Lessons of positive satire" by Evgeny Dobrenko reminds us that in 1952, "Pravda" declared new beginning for the Soviet satire proclaiming that "we do need Gogols and Shchedrins". The Party call was imme-diately picked up by the Soviet playwrights, and in a few years’ time satirical drama went through the period of a real boom. This satire was a simulation of satire as it was a part of a campaign aimed at preparing the country for a new wave of terror. The article focuses on the plot patterns and characters of Stalin’s comedy of manners, on the ways to neutralize criticism of various dramatic genres from the Soviet satirical vaudeville and nomenclature-production plays to the farce and the Soviet morality play.
UNDER THE BADGE OF UTOPIA: PROSPECTS FOR SURREALISM
NLO’s publication of the "Ode to Charles Fourier" fills an important gap on the poetic map of the 20th century — among the best works of Andre Breton, this work is central to an understanding of surrealism and its post-war transformations (including Breton’s strained relationship with the Lettristes and the Situationists), as well as of world poetry as a whole.
Breton wrote the "Ode" in the 1940s, after the lyrical prose collection Mad Love (1937), which itself already demonstrates a promising fusion — the free form allowed Breton to shift easily from visionary experiments to an investigation of romantic passion, from the "convulsive beauty" of random rendezvous and illumi-nations to a philosophy of art, from excursions into world mythology to a "psychogeography" of his own works and those of his friends.
"Ode" presents the next logical step, but uses completely different
material. The borders of poetic language are dramatically pushed apart: the
panoramic con-cept, grandiose in its scope, includes free verse that frequently
violates norms of grammar, prose sections, quotations from Fourier with
Breton’s commentary, as well as visual elements. Soon after, William Carlos
Williams would undertake a similar synthesis of lyric and epic in the poem
"Patterson," as would Charles Olson (somewhat differently) in the
cycle "The Maximus Poems" (both poets proceeded from Pound’s Cantos). Nevertheless, even in this company,
Breton’s "Ode" is distinct in its utopian scope and architecture. He
reads Fourier first and foremost as a great psychic and critic of industrial
civilization, a poet of "perma-nent social revelation." This
dimension is unpacked in the afterword to the poem, written by translator Kirill Adibekov (
TROFIMOVICH DRAGOMOSHCHENKO (03.02.1946,
This section is devoted to the memory of Arkady Dragomoshchenko — poet, prose writer, essayist, one of the central figures of the Leningrad unofficial culture, the first (with Viktor Krivulin and Boris Groys) laureate of the Andrey Bely Prize for prose (1978). The following individuals here offer their thoughts on Dragomoshchenko’s poetry and its place in global context (of philosophy as well as poetry): Lyn Hejinian (University of California, Berkley), Shamshad Abdullaev (Ferghana), Alexander Skidan (New Literary Observer, Saint-Petersburg), Vladimir Aristov (Moscow), Mikhail Yampolsky (NYU), Anna Glazova (Hamburg), Elena Petrovskaya (RAS Institute of Philosophy, Moscow) and Sergei Fokin (SPSU Department of Liberal Arts & Sciences). The section closes with the piece "Answers" — the poet’s unique version of an intellectual autobiography — and with the recently written poems "Neutral utterances" (a publication of Zinaida Dragomoschenko).