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Make 2017 1917 Again: Imagine Moscow At The Design Museum

April 05, 2017 by in Reviews

5 April 2017, Litro

The centenary of the October Revolution finds us in a strange place: nearly thirty years removed from the crumbling of the short Soviet century, with its neoliberal successor unravelling into the grotesquery and parochialism of nationalist populism. As museums and curators of communist memes try to “make 2017 1917 again,” we react with a conflicted mingling of vindication, nostalgia, and rue. The snide “told you so” retrospection of 100 years but also an envy of that bolshie optimism–ratios depending on your politics and tolerance for wall after wall of propaganda posters in Cyrillic. It’s hard not to be cowed by the scale and abandon of the Bolsheviks’ dreaming, especially from this age of budget ambitions, when all of our skyscrapers are owned by the Qataris, our infrastructure slathered in corporate branding and grandest schemes to improve the world are apps and the sharing economy. At the Royal Academy these lost revolutionaries dream in gliders and Suprematist tableware. Across town in the Design Museum they’re fantasizing about a socialist transfiguration of the city—with horizontal skyscrapers, communal houses, “health factory” resorts, and a cosmically aligned “knowledge centre.”

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