Categories DesignPosted on

Review of ‘Imagine Moscow’: Architecture, Propaganda, Revolution

The basement of the new (and still gobsmacking) Design Museum is host to the exciting ‘Imagine Moscow’ exhibition. It brings together a remarkable Soviet-era archive of architecture design and models that originally imagined the Soviet state as a blissful utopia where people, work, economy and political practice would co-exist in harmony. Of course it didn’t happen quite like that which makes this exhibition all the more fascinating to the modern viewer. SEEN particularly liked the architectural drawings, exquisite in their accuracy and precision, that don’t look dated at all: they could be buildings that exist today. The restrained color palette of many of the designs gave the pieces a distinctly Soviet ambience; perhaps the one element that Western design appreciation has truly embraced.

The posters extolling the virtues of happy workers in a proletarian Eden now have a retro kitsch appeal, which is rather a shame, thinking of the poor workers now consigned to a side-note in design history. Interesting to note that the desire to raise children communally (thus releasing mothers into the workforce) never quite took off. The Ladovsky Communal House design is quite beautiful; using a spiral, the design merges individual living units into a united space. There are many sci-fi-style models of factories, communal buildings, silos etc., that have a resolutely modernist appeal, yet belong squarely in the 1920s and 30s. They are certainly bold and visionary.

Film, ever the tool of the propagandist, includes the famous film by Dziga Vertov: Man with a Movie Camera. Rejecting the usual bourgeois story structures, Vertov’s film tries to do something daring and unique in its use of image and cutting to create a narrative. fascinating exhibition, when viewed in light of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. What would Putin make of it I wonder? The spirit of reinvention lives on, perhaps.

Seen this week

Categories ArtPosted on

Drawing Under the Influence: Hayden Kays’ DRINK DRAWINGS

Well, this is refreshing – in every sense of the word. SEEN hears that artist Hayden Kays is feeling hung-over ahead of the opening for his first solo exhibition of 2018. The clue is in the title: “Drink Drawings” – a new show at For.Fuk.Sake on March 29th consisting of a series of intoxicating illustrations, …

Categories MusicPosted on

Port Cities play the Slaughtered Lamb

Canadian band PORT CITIES are still bathing in the afterglow of November’s Nova Scotia Music Week, where they scooped no less than five awards, including album of the year, digital artist of the year and entertainer of the year. SEEN has certainly been enjoying their beautiful vocals. In light of such accolades then, its only …

Categories ArtPosted on

My Furry Lady: the Art of Marion Peck at Dorothy Circus Gallery

SEEN can safely say that there is nowhere quite like Dorothy Circus Gallery in Notting Hill. It is the very antithesis of the white, clinical art gallery that abounds in the capital. From the beautiful yet disquieting pop surrealist art that is the passion of gallery director Alexandra Mazzanti, to the welcoming gallery itself complete …