Thursday, April 23, 2009

Red Kerchiefs, Soviet Ambitions, and Cheburaska

I wanted to share some of the ideas from my students. Their final project was to develop a concept for an exhibition about any aspect of Soviet life. They had to come up with a concept, find images or artifacts, express some design ideas, suggest two interactives, consider audience and think about how to evaluate. It was a big challenge that most met admirably. Their ideas and concepts were more creative than the exhibitions at many museums here, and integrated art, history, pop culture and more.

Just a few selections, with a few illustrations. (and thanks to my students for allowing me to share their ideas).

Red Kerchiefs
A small exhibition examining the way in which women were depicted in Soviet posters of the 1920s and '30s, distinguished by the red head scarf. And by the way, the poster above talks about revolutionary women being freed from "kitchen slavery."

Designed to be installed in a long narrow hallway, with interactives including museum staff leaping out of doorways and attempting to jump the line. Real queues, virtual queues, and the reasons for queueing, from vodka to apartments.

The Myth of the All-Around Man: Amateur Soviet Art
This exhibit focused on the many kinds of amateur art encouraged by the Soviet system--from ship-building clubs (above) to crochet, dramatics, and origami. Anna did a great job in sharing her ideas for the exhibit--she brought hand-made objects from home and had us all make a paper boat and sing.

Soviet Ambitions
This took a broad based look at Soviet ambitions: from conquering the world, to conquering space, sports and nature--with an examination of what those ambitions meant for citizens.

The Pioneers
Who's this? If you grew up in the Soviet Union you know--it's Cheburaska, a beloved cartoon character. Ira developed an exhibit that looked at Soviet Youth Groups--the Pioneers and Komosomol, but she took a unique approach, using a cartoon where Cheburaska joins a group to serve as the frame for today's young visitors to explore the group's activities, place in society, and place in current nostalgia.

I'll post more of their concepts in the next couple days.

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