Away from all suns!


Samu Szemerey

Film: Away from all suns! (Isabella Willinger, 2013, 77’)
Sunday 9 March – 20:00

The short period of Russian Constructivism was a unique experiment to create a new architecture. The movement, which declined with the rise of Stalin’s cultural propaganda, set out to create the forms and spaces of modern society and the optimistic visions of progress. Its program was as radically new as its uncompromising aesthetics: housing compounds with kindergartens and canteens, public buildings with libraries and theatres showed the changing social roles of women, children and workers.

This unprecedented heritage exists today mostly in ruins. Embedded in Moscow’s urban tissue the living units, printworks, workers clubs and schools shown in Isa Willinger’s documentary still stand as uncanny mementos of a once envisioned, fantastic future. Their modernity is at once heroic, intimate and tragic, evoking Nietzsche’s comments on a world after the death of God, but also mankind’s unquenchable momentum and optimism in its quest for the future.

Today’s occupants may fight against their buildings, or for actually saving them. The film shows the fates of utopias called home, the experiments of domesticity, and the calling out of the forgotten future’s ghosts by rebuilding the futurist opera Victory over the Sun. The manifestos of one of the most significant periods of architecture in the last century seem today just as timely and radical as ever.