Gorky Park: Park of Culture and Recreations
Moscow's Gorky Park, opened in 1928 as a Park of Culture and Rest. The first of its kind, it offered active forms of recreation in social conditions to shape its users. Its success led to similar parks being established across many Soviet cities on the model of the first Park of Culture and Rest. Since its most recent rebranding in 2011, Gorky Park has once again become a model for imitation, leading a construction boom in parks in and around Moscow.
As both a socialist institution and a branded landscape, Gorky Park has always been an experiment in what a contemporary city park needs to be. Despite the fact that the park seems ‘packaged’ – meaning that it has a strong, stable sense of its programme and visual identity – it has had to perpetually reinvent itself. By taking a longer view of the changing use of pavilions in Gorky Park, this essay shows the park to be always in flux, shaped in ways that demand recognition of both the past and anticipation of the future. At the heart of this critical essay are questions about the way in which public space in Russia is made and by who it is shaped by.
School of Humanities
MA Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2014
The topic of my Major Project was prompted by an essay I wrote at the end of my first year at the RCA, titled 'Sea-Sick', on sanatorium culture and architecture in Sochi, Russia. Since then, I've been interested in how recreation can be controlled by the architectures and spaces designed for it, as well as the difference between pre- and post-Soviet culture. Perhaps the latter comes from the fact that I was born in Russia around the time the Soviet Union collapsed.
The first text I wrote for Critical Writing in Art & Design, on the meaning of the word 'prefab', sealed an interest in purpose-built temporary architecture. This reappears in the discussion of park pavilions in my major project and in 'Unseen and Unceasing' from the publication Ends Meet: Essays on Exchange, in which I trace old and existing telephone exchanges, buildings which are both architecture and infrastructure.
Over the course of the MA, I have also written about works by artist such as Allan Sekula, Amy Sharrocks, Dexter Dalwood, Dominic Hawgood and Stuart Brisley, as well as the photography magazine and collective Camerawork, which included Jo Spence, Paul Trevor and Mike Goldwater as some of its members. I hope to continue writing about both art and design for catalogues, publications and online after graduation.
- BA (Hons) English, Bristol University, 2012
- Volunteer, Calvert 22 Gallery, 2012–2013; Volunteer, The Royal British Society of Sculptors, 2010–2013; FOH, The Mosaic Rooms, 2010; Administrator, The Royal British Society of Sculptors, 2010
- Quirkism II, The China Shop + OVADA, Oxford, 2014; Quirkism, 5th Base Gallery, London, 2013
- 'Sea-Sick', As is the Sea, Royal College of Art, 2014; 'Space made real by its definitions', ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950-1978, Royal College of Art, 2014; 'Unseen yet Unceasing', Ends Meet: Essays on Exchange, Royal College of Art, 2014