Saturday, May 17, 2008

Picture-Thinking Meme

Like IT, I refuse to call this meme 'passion quilt' - but I will certainly participate in it, as an inveterate picture-thinker. The gist is: 'Post a picture or make/take/create your own that captures what YOU are most passionate for students to learn about. Give your picture a short title. Title your blog post 'Meme: Passion Quilt'[no!]. Link back to this blog entry. Include links to 5 (or more) educators.' It took a very long time to decide on an image, I'd considered this, for a bit (too whimsical) this (too dark), a photograph of a model in a Citroen at the Weissenhof Siedlung (too slick), a photograph of the Bauhaus' young theatre troupe in 1930 (couldn't find it online) and this (I don't think any students would see in it what I wanted them to). So I've settled on, to the cries of 'predictable!' from my enemies:

Hammer & Sickle Architectural Fantasy

This is one of the images in the architectural draughtsman Iakov Chernikhov's book Architectural Fantasies, published in Leningrad in 1933. I've chosen it first, because it's gorgeous; second, because of its political symbolism - an emblem of Communism, depicted with a ferocious, ultra high-tech, bright, tasteless supermodernism. We think of the idea of socialism as something Victorian, something dated and grim, workerist and lumpen - well here it is, as blazingly exciting as anything produced by capital. Third, it makes linear history go haywire - it has resemblances to something off the Richard Rogers drawing board from the mid-80s, or from a particularly inspired deconstructivist studio, but is the product of an essentially peasant country in the early 1930s. It looks like the future, but is ineluctably of the past, a vision of a future that never came into being (it doesn't look anything like the similarly grim eclecticism and standardised modernism that characterised most Stalinist architecture). Fourth, the fearless conception of new space it embodies: it mocks the very idea of 'continuity' in culture. Imagine this slotted into a city, how it would clash and conflict with everything around it. Imagine it extending itself to take in a whole city. And finally, I would ask what these phantasmagoric 'students' thought would be going on inside this place.

Not all of these people are 'educators', but I'm tagging them regardless: Douglas, Charles, Esther, Geoff, Emmy, and Oliver.


Blogger Kári said...

Have you ever read William Gibson's short story The Gernsback Continuum? I ask because this picture feels like it's out of the Soviet Gernsback Continuum.

-Kári Tulinius

2:54 pm  
Blogger Charles Holland said...

Awww, man really? I've got to think of something!?

Alright then.....

1:02 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

kari: Thank you for that link. I still love Gibson!

6:49 pm  
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