Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-garde and Cultural Experiment
John E. Bowlt, Olga Matich
Stanford University Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 359 pages
Drawing upon social history, material culture, and the sciences, this is the first interdisciplinary study of the Russian avant-garde, a brilliant constellation of personalities and ideas that changed the course of Russian culture just before and after the First World War. Though different in creative systems and applications, the artists and writers of the Russian avant-garde shared certain fundamental attitudes toward the purpose of culture, believing, for example, that art had the power to change "life", even as defined by science. The essays discuss the many refractions of that common denominator, treating the avant-garde not as a purely artistic and literary movement, but as a multifarious phenomenon that included cultural experimentation normally considered beyond the confines of the avant-garde. In one way or another, all the contributors demonstrate that the artists and writers of the Russian avant-garde attempted to make the word flesh by restructuring human life, for the avant-garde not only generated new configurations of geometries and dissonant phonemes, but also heralded the transformations of the world by seeking to overcome physical, even biological barriers.
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