This chapter shows that just as VNIITE designers had built a theoretical
basis for action by the late 1960s and started developing new prototypes for
modern household objects, such as vacuum cleaners and refrigerators, they
also started to recognise the inadequacy of the object as a basic unit of
socialist material culture. Following the theorists of the Ulm School of
Design (1953–68, a school critical of American styling and promoting an
interdisciplinary approach to design), VNIITE designers tended to see
environments, and not objects, as the ideal end products of their work.
Without abandoning the avant-garde’s idea of a comradely object, after the
late 1960s Soviet designers and theorists dwelled upon another notion of the
avant-garde: the artist as the organiser of all aspects of society’s life,
including the material environments of work and leisure. After discussing
several projects for home appliances from the early 1970s, the chapter
explains the notion of a design programme – an elaboration including systems
of objects, environments and labour processes. By analysing two cases of
design programmes, one from the early 1970s and another from the 1980s, I
demonstrate that this type of design was flexible: it intended to regulate
broad areas of human activity but also left space for consumer activity and
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.