The research project Travertina explores applied arts in the Soviet Union and the special relationship between style, ideology, and value under communism by comparing the histories of Soviet and Western design.
Artists Lucy McKenzie and Markus Proschek and fashion designer Beca Lipscombe are studying Soviet fashion and interior and museum design from the 1930s through the 1980s, starting with the Moscow and St. Petersburg metro systems, GUM department store, and museum technologies used in the Russian Museum of Ethnography and the Russian State Arctic and Antarctic Museum in St. Petersburg, the Orlov Museum of Paleontology, and VDNKh (the Exhibition National Economic Achievements).
In the twentieth-century, applied arts and store design were important tools in the development of Western retail, tourism, and the entertainment industry. They contributed to the development of the economy of planned obsolescence. In the Soviet Union, stores and advertisements were part of the public space controlled by the government. In the absence of competition, Soviet outdoor advertising had a very different economic meaning. This paradigmatic difference between capitalist and socialist trade is the semantic center of the project.
Deadline: in process
Researchers: Lucy McKenzie, Markus Proschek, Beca Lipscombe