Joshua Simon

Curatorial Talk: The Great Soviet Encyclopedia: Communism and The Dividual

Postgraduate Programme in Curating CAS/ MAS ZHdK
30. April 2017

The entry point for this talk is the Russian Exhibition which took place at the Museum of Applied Arts in Zurich (Marc-April 1929), and especially its poster, designed by Eliezer Lissitzky (1890-1941). The unique design of this poster by Lissitzky stands between avant garde montage and socialist realism with its inflated portraits and staged enthusiasm. These aesthetic attributes correlate with the shifting economic realities of the time with the move from the NEP to shockwork methods of the Soviet five year plan. This poster comes from a specific moment in Soviet industrialization which was accompanied by a new subjectivity as well. That moment seems to inform our moment as well.Considering this poster opens up a discussion on contemporary forms of subjectivity under current modes of production and distribution of computerized networks. In his talk, Joshua Simon will present The Kids Want Communism, a yearlong program of exhibitions marking 99 years since the October Revolution, which he initiated in collaboration with State of Concept Athens, Free/Slow University of Warsaw, Tranzit Prague, Skuc gallery in Ljubljana, the Visual Culture Research Center in Kiev, Westspace Melbourne, and MoBY-Museums of Bat Yam. The talk will outline how the communist horizon and real existing socialism can inform our understanding of the current social and cultural, political, and economic realities as we are facing the implosion of the neoliberal order.

The talk is a cooperation of Onamut and Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK and Corner College.