Power and Architecture

A season on utopian public space and the quest for new national identities across the post-Soviet world.

10 June – 9 October 2016
Wed – Sun, 12pm – 6pm

Part 1: Utopia and Modernity
12 June – 3 July

Part 2: Dead space and ruins
7 July – 7 August

Part 3: Citizen activated space — Museum of Skateboarding
11 August – 11 September

**On Thursday 8 September and Friday 9 September access to the Museum of Skateboarding will be limited to the upstairs gallery space and the exhibition will close at 5pm. 

Part 4: The afterlives of Modernity — shared values and routines
15 September – 9 October

Free entry (some events may be ticketed)


 

Calvert 22 is delighted to announce its upcoming seasonal programme opening this summer, Power and Architecture. Taking place from 10 June – 9 October 2016, Power and Architecture will comprise four main interlinked elements:

  • — A conference and a number of related talks
  • — An exhibition of new and existing artwork presented in four parts
  • — A series of architectural workshops connecting London and Prague
  • — Curated digital content on The Calvert Journal

For the ideological champions of utopian society, architecture is a clear and potent manifestation of a society’s power, influence and status. From the gothic might of Stalin’s seven Vysotki to Astana’s gleaming Bayterek Tower, giant structures loom over the citizens of the former Soviet Union, signifying the grand ambitions of their rulers, past and present. Power and Architecture is a season that will explore the design of the built environment and its use as a device of influence, both physically characterising the skyline, and psychologically in relation to the people who live in its shadow.

Across the post-Soviet world, there is a common thread running through architectural styles. From grand monuments and high-rise cathedrals of geometric correctness to homogenised concrete blocks, repetitious and standardised landmarks to public art, we see the echoes of space designed with the futuristic ideologies of socialism, transitioned into the globalised hegemony of capitalism.

What effect do these architectural structures, designed by one regime and inherited by another, have on the people who live with their legacy? How is public space re-defined through external forces such as privatisation and capitalism, or re-used through independent culture and recreation? Power and Architecture will seek to answer these questions, looking at the evolution of the relationship between cities, public space and their citizens throughout contrasting eras.

 
Press release (RU)
Image sheet (EN)

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  • Dmitry Lookianov, image from the Instant Tomorrow series (2013-15). Courtesy of the artist

 

I. The Conference: The Centre Cannot Hold?
10 — 11 June 2016

Calvert 22 Foundation launches the Power and Architecture season with a conference bringing together leading minds from the worlds of architecture, politics, economics and contemporary art.

Led by Michał Murawski (SSEES, UCL) and Jonathan Bach (New School, New York), and organised by UCL SSEES’ FRINGE Centre, the two-day conference will look at the aesthetics, politics, economics and effects of centrality and monumentality in 20th century cities. The line-up includes contributions from prominent researchers, architects and artists such as Vladimir Papeny, Vyjayanthi Rao, Owen Hatherley, Clementine Cecil, Hilary Wainwright, Łukasz Stanek and Wendy Pullan, among many others.

The conference will officially launch the 12 week season of events exploring the debates and questions raised by Power and Architecture

  • Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

    Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

  • Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

    Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

  • Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

    Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

  • Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

    Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

  • Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

    Photo courtesy of Robert Almonte

 

II. The Exhibition Programme
Private View: 8 June 2016
12 June — 9 October 2016

New and existing work by artists from across the New East region will be exhibited over four interconnected installments. Multiple facets of architecture’s relationship to power will be presented, from artistic reflections on the modernist vision of the socialist city, to the individual’s participation in the activation of public space and the afterlife of cities built for a utopia that was never realised.

 
  • The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland, Świdnica (Lower Silesian voivodship) image credit: Igor Snopek, from Architecture of the VII Day by Kuba Snopek, Iza Cichonska, Karolina Popera (2015)

    The Church of Our Lady the Queen of Poland, Świdnica (Lower Silesian voivodship) image credit: Igor Snopek, from Architecture of the VII Day by Kuba Snopek, Iza Cichonska, Karolina Popera (2015)

  • Anton Ginzburg, still from Hyperborea (2011), HD Video, 45 minutes

    Anton Ginzburg, still from Hyperborea (2011), HD Video, 45 minutes

Part 1:Utopia and Modernity
12 June — 3 July 2016

In the opening show, six artists will reflect on the modernist vision of the socialist city and consider the real and imagined futures of utopia.

Participating artists: Przemek Pyszczek, Dmitry Lookianov, Anton Ginzburg, Kuba Snopek, Iza Cichońska and Karolina Popera.

  • Danila Tkachenko, Headquarters of Communist Party. Bulgaria, Yugoiztochen region, from the Restricted Areas series (2015)

    Danila Tkachenko, Headquarters of Communist Party. Bulgaria, Yugoiztochen region, from the Restricted Areas series (2015)

  • Eric Lusito, Site 131, 2nd Guards Tank Division, Mongolia, from the Traces of the Soviet Empire series (2009)

    Eric Lusito, Site 131, 2nd Guards Tank Division, Mongolia, from the Traces of the Soviet Empire series (2009)

  • Vahram Aghasian, from the Ghost City series (2005-07)

    Vahram Aghasian, from the Ghost City series (2005-07)

  • Anton Ginzburg, still from Turo (2016), digital video, sound, 35 min. Courtesy of the artist

    Anton Ginzburg, still from Turo (2016), digital video, sound, 35 min. Courtesy of the artist

Part 2: Dead space and ruins
7 July – 7 August 2016

Four artists working with photography and film present the decaying architectural reminiscence of the Soviet vision. With work taking inspiration from across the vast landscape of the former Soviet Union, these artists will explore the ‘dead space’ left in the wake of the quest for progress.

Participating artists: Vahram Aghasyan, Eric Lusito, Danila Tkachenko and Anton Ginzburg.

  • Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

    Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

  • Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

    Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

  • Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

    Kirill Savchenkov, still images from Museum of Skateboarding (2015)

Part 3: Citizen activated space - Museum of Skateboarding
11 August – 11 September 2016

Part three is a new commission by Calvert 22 Foundation that will explore the individual’s participation in the activation of public space with Russian artist Kirill Savchenkov.

Museum of Skateboarding is a mixed media installation that considers skateboarding not just as a form of exercise, but also as a visceral way to explore and reflect on the contemporary city space. The project studies the secret language of the sport, illustrating how certain architectural interventions or objects can be understood through skateboarding.

Participating artist: Kirill Savchenkov

  • Aikaterini Gegisian, still from My Pink City, essay film, HD Video, 48 mins, col & b/w, (2014)

    Aikaterini Gegisian, still from My Pink City, essay film, HD Video, 48 mins, col & b/w, (2014)

  • Aikaterini Gegisian, still from My Pink City, essay film, HD Video, 48 mins, col & b/w, (2014). Courtesy of Kelfayan Galleries

    Aikaterini Gegisian, still from My Pink City, essay film, HD Video, 48 mins, col & b/w, (2014). Courtesy of Kelfayan Galleries

Part 4: The afterlives of Modernity — shared values and routines
15 September – 9 October 2016

The season culminates with four artists considering the afterlives of utopian endeavour and the quest for new national identities. Across the former Soviet Union there are a series of architectural and physical nostalgias connecting citizens who share the same socialist history – part four of the programme reflects on these shared values and routines for citizens today.

Participating artists: Aikaterini Gegisian, Donald Weber, Dmytrij Wulffius, and Ogino Knauss.

  • Anton Ginzburg, still from Walking the Sea (2013), 30 mins. Courtesy of the artist

 

III. Urban Mobility Labs: a series of workshops connecting London and Prague

The Power and Architecture season reaches its conclusion as the Calvert 22 Foundation partners with innovative architecture, design and engineering collectives Assemble (UK), Museum of Architecture (UK) and reSITE (CZ). Workshops will offer fresh perspectives and solutions that will improve the urban experience and highlight civic issues affecting mobility health and well-being.

Further to the season’s focus on exploring the relationship between cities, public space and citizens, this exchange programme connecting the cities of Prague and London will aim to provide solutions to improve the mobility and well-being of citizens in the contemporary urban environment.

How does migration and mobility in cities affect the experience of the urban environment? This is the question Urban Mobility Labs will ask architects, designers and creative technologists from the Czech Republic and the UK.

Further details to be announced.

 

Power and Architecture on The Calvert Journal 

As part of the Power and Architecture season, The Calvert Journal will present a curated online series of reports, essays and photo stories which will further explore the relationship between architecture and power, expanding on a number of the themes and artistic projects included in the seasonal programme.

  • Anton Ginzburg, still from Hyperborea (2011), HD Video, 45 minutes

Partners

   

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