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Conference: Designing Socialist Modernity, Royal College of Art, London, 22 May 2012‏

Designing Socialist Modernity. A one day symposium at the Royal College of Art, London.

Full details and programme on:

Design and Architectural History / Post War Eastern Europe / Late Modernism.
Registration Deadline: May 8th

East European post-war modernity is the object of increasing interest among cultural historians. Within centrally planned societies, 'designing modernity’ was an attempt to create a material and structural basis upon which communism could be achieved. The social significance of designed objects, works of art, and the urban environment were all contested and re-conceptualized at different points and locations during this period.

This one day Royal College of Art symposium, Designing Socialist Modernity will explore the complex processes of emerging modernity in Central and Eastern Europe, including the GDR and USSR. The event brings together a variety of approaches from design, art and architectural history, anthropology and material culture studies, spanning a wide geographical area. This will provide a basis for discussion on how designers, craftspeople, artists, theorists, engineers and other specialists attempted to create a material basis for modernity in socialist countries after 1945.

The day will be structured around segments of a film created for the 1975 Congress of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, held in Moscow. The film is a recording of a rehearsal of a multi-media display which was created to match the congress theme, Design for Man and Society. Blending images from Renaissance paintings, consumer goods' catalogues, 1895 Lumière Brothers films and live television broadcasts, the show was intended to symbolize the saturation of the material environment with things and commodities as a consequence of modernity. The display was censored by the Soviet authorities shortly before the congress, and will be shown for the first time in its intended form: as a visual counterpoint to speeches relating to the design of modernity. The film brings out many themes that we hope will arise from the papers, questioning the role of the man-made object in post-war socialist societies.

The symposium will also be punctuated by short object-based presentations given by MA and PhD students who are researching related topics at the Royal College of Art.

The event takes place on Tuesday 22nd May in RCA Lecture Theatre 1 (Jay Mews entrance, Darwin building, South Kensington campus) and is followed by a wine reception in the Senior Common Room in the same building.

The symposium is free and open to all.
If you would like to attend, please email before 8th May 2012 in order to confirm your place. Please give your name and, where relevant, institution, company or organisation, and put CONFERENCE REGISTRATION in the title of your email. Please also indicate whether you expect to purchase lunch in the canteen.
We look forward to seeing you.
Organisers: Jessica Jenkins, Tom Cubbin, Rebecca Bell, Anda Boluza, Kasia Jezowska

Jessica Jenkins
Royal College of Art
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