Superstudio: Supersurface: An Alternative Model for Life on Earth (1972)

14 February 2021, dusan

“Produced for the 1972 Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Italy: The New Domestic Lanscape, Supersurface was the first of five films planned by Superstudio as a ‘critical reappraisal of the possibility of life without objects’. Superstudio envisioned a ‘network of energy and information extending to every properly inhabitable area’. According to the artists, this network would bring about the destruction of objects as status symbols, the elimination of the city as an accumulation of formal structures of power, and the end of specialized and repetitive work as an alienating activity. ‘The logical consequence,’ they write, ‘will be a new, revolutionary society in which everyone should find the full development of his possibilities’. Although only two of the films were ever completed, Superstudio published storyboards and texts for the entire project, entitled Five Fundamental Acts: Life, Education, Ceremony, Love and Death. Addressing the first of these five acts, Supersurface presents ‘an alternative model for life on earth’ in which the ‘network of energy and information’ is represented by grids and images of technology superimposed on a collage of natural and inhabited landscapes peopled by families engaged in domestic and leisure activities.”

9:30 minutes
via Radical Architecture, HT joost rekveld

Commentary: Superstudio (MoMA catalogue, 1972), Cristiano Toraldo di Francia (n.d.), Ross K. Elfline (Footprint, 2011).

WorldCat

WEBM

El Lissitzky: Russia: An Architecture for World Revolution (1930–) [German, English]

7 February 2021, dusan

El Lissitzky ‘s book is a classic in architectural and planning theory, as well as an important document in social and intellectual history. It contains an appendix of excerpted writings by his contemporaries – M. J. Ginzburg, P. Martell, Bruno Taut, Ernst May, M. Ilyin, Wilm Stein, Martin Wagner, Hannes Meyer, Hans Schmidt, and others – all of whom illuminate the architecture and planning of Europe and Russia during the 1920s. There are over 100 plates and drawings.”

First published as Russland. Die Rekonstruktion der Architektur in der Sowjetunion, Anton Schroll, Vienna, 1930.

New edition
Edited by Ulrich Conrads with Dietrich Helms
Ullstein, Berlin, 1965
Ullstein Bauwelt Fundamente series, 14
206 pages

English edition
Translated by Eric Dluhosch
Publisher MIT Press, November 1970
ISBN 0262120348
239 pages

Reviews: Albert J. Schmidt (Slavic Review, 1971), E.B. (J European Studies, 1971).

Publisher (EN)
WorldCat (EN)

Russland. Die Rekonstruktion der Architektur in der Sowjetunion (German, 1930/1965, 12 MB)
Russia: An Architecture for World Revolution (English, 1970, 24 MB)

Łukasz Stanek: Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War (2020)

28 September 2020, dusan

“In the course of the Cold War, architects, planners, and construction companies from socialist Eastern Europe engaged in a vibrant collaboration with those in West Africa and the Middle East in order to bring modernization to the developing world. Architecture in Global Socialism shows how their collaboration reshaped five cities in the Global South: Accra, Lagos, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait City.

Łukasz Stanek describes how local authorities and professionals in these cities drew on Soviet prefabrication systems, Hungarian and Polish planning methods, Yugoslav and Bulgarian construction materials, Romanian and East German standard designs, and manual laborers from across Eastern Europe. He explores how the socialist development path was adapted to tropical conditions in Ghana in the 1960s, and how Eastern European architectural traditions were given new life in 1970s Nigeria. He looks at how the differences between socialist foreign trade and the emerging global construction market were exploited in the Middle East in the closing decades of the Cold War. Stanek demonstrates how these and other practices of global cooperation by socialist countries—what he calls socialist worldmaking—left their enduring mark on urban landscapes in the postcolonial world.

Featuring an extensive collection of previously unpublished images, Architecture in Global Socialism draws on original archival research on four continents and a wealth of in-depth interviews. This incisive book presents a new understanding of global urbanization and its architecture through the lens of socialist internationalism, challenging long-held notions about modernization and development in the Global South.”

Publisher Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2020
ISBN 0691168709, 9780691168708
368 pages

Reviews: Gregor Harbusch (BauNetz, 2020), Alexander Adams (The Critic, 2020), Owen Hatherley (The Guardian, 2020).

Interview with author (Hilde Heynen & Sebastiaan Loosen, Architectural Histories, 2019)

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (55 MB, updated on 2021-4-13)