The Russian Revolution was not only a political revolution but a cultural one. The struggle for a new culture was one that directly animated the workers themselves. They saw “rapid and radical cultural transformation” as “crucial to the survival of the revolution” (Culture of the Future, p.xvii). Rather than simply reflecting the interests of the Communist Party, the Proletkult movement, for example, demanded complete independence from both state institutions and the party. Lynn Mally notes that “The Proletkult’s euphoric promise of a new culture captured this combative, optimistic spirit” (p.xxviii).
Lynn Mally is a fascinating scholar of the Russian Revolutionary Period, whose books Culture of the Future: The Proletkult Movement in Revolutionary Russia (1990) and Revolutionary Acts: Amateur Theatre and the Soviet State (2000) explored the Russian Revolution’s own radical culture. Her current blog on fashion can be viewed here: https://americanagefashion.com/
This session was recorded as part of the Exploding Appendix Avant-garde Art Practice and Research Group on the 18th May 2021. If you would like to be involved in future sessions send me a message at explodingappendix [at] gmail.com.