Wallstein Verlag

Margarete Vöhringer

Avant-garde and Psychotechnology

The Science, Art and Technology of Experiments on Perception in the Early Soviet Union

278 pages, 14 x 22,2 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-0177-1 (2007)


German Version

The 1920s Russian avant-garde movement understands the new revolutionary society as a quasi-artistic command for experimentation. Things could again be perceived for their own sakes, people`s view of life had been »freed »from the chains of automation.

Here, the arts were influenced by those sciences which were rapidly gaining in popularity at that time: psychology, physiology and particularly psychotechnology.
Margarete Vöhringer presents three of her main protagonists - the architect Nikolaj Ladovskij, who builds special perception machines for his »psychotechnical laboratory for architecture«; the filmmaker Vsevolod Pudovkin, who makes a film in Ivan Pavlov`s laboratory with the aim of generating eye reflexes in the cinema; the philosopher Alexander Bogdanov, who carries out collective blood transfusions to heal workers with mental illnesses.
The comparison clearly shows how difficult it is to draw the boundaries between science and art - the various approaches, which appear so different on the surface, are all born of an experimental culture which invents small everyday methods of forging links between people, bringing their thoughts into line with one another and, not least, subtly exerting power over them.
Rights soldRussian: Redakciya zhurnala Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie LTD
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