]The Artist as Producer – Maria Gough ( 2005) Extract Introduction
Upon his return from the Soviet Union in early 1927, Walter Benjamin draws a portrait of Moscow for Martin Buber’s Berlin Journal Die Kreature. In this portrayal, the dominant feature of the city’s physiognomy is not a particular building or place but rather a passion – a ruling passion – for experimentation: Each though, each day, each life lies here as on a laboratory table. And as if it were a metal form which an unknown substance is by every means to be extracted, it must endure experimentation to the point of exhaustion. No organism, no organization, can escape this process. An immediate consequence of this unrelenting desire to extract the unknown. Benjamin explains, is a vastly accelerated pace of topographical and administrative metamorphosis. ‘Employees in their factories, offices in buildings, pieces of furniture are rearranged, transferred and shoved about…Regulations are changed from day to day, but streetcar stops migrate too. Shops turn into restaurants and a few weeks later into offices. Experimentation is not process sequestered in a laboratory, but rather pervaded every aspect of daily life in Soviet Moscow.
Woven into – and by – this laboratory of a city is a Constructivism, the most ground-breaking development in the visual arts in the Soviet Union in the decade or so following the October Revolution of 1917. Like the ever-shifting terrain in which it develops, Constructivism is similarly driven by a ruling passion for experimentation. Over the course of the early 1920s, it puts on the laboratory table one problem after another – composition, construction, excess, faktuma, tectonics, economy, modularity, purpose, structure, function, production, process, the object, and most fundamentally of all, the artists right to exist…
Discuss this in relation to ‘The nature of Interdiscplinarity in Art & Design’