Forgotten experiments in sound and electronic music in early 20th century Russia
Organizer: Andrey Smirnov
- Alexei Gastev (1882-1939) Nikolai Bernshtein (1896 - 1966)
- Arseny Avraamov (1886-1944)
- Leon Theremin (1896-1993)
- Michail Tsekhanovsky (1889-1965)
- Nikolai Voinov (1900-1958)
- Evgeny Sholpo (1891-1951)
- Boris Yankovsky (1905-1973)
- GIMN Institute
- Paul Leiberg
- And others
The organizers are grateful to:
Nikolai Izvolov, Lev Bolotsky, Marina Sholpo, Matt Price, Jeremy Deller, Palais de Tokyo (Paris)
Generation Z is an exhibition of audio, visual, textual and documentation material, dedicated to the lost and forgotten history of the Soviet experimental and electronic music. It revolves around the archives of Andrey Smirnov and the Theremin Center of the Moscow State Conservatory, Russian State Documentary Film & Photo Archive, the Museum of Musical Culture, named after Mikhail Glinka. The exhibition has been developed as a part of an ongoing project of the same name by Andrey Smirnov and Lubov Pchelkina that is attempting to restore the history and culture of the artistic Utopia of the 1910s and 1920s.
It is difficult to name another period in Russian history in which the creative energy of so many people was developed to such a high level, leading to innumerable new inventions and artistic concepts. This intense period of activity fostered a self-organizing horizontal network of professional and social interrelations that offered a promising basis for future scientific and cultural development. It was a period that in many respects was cut off in its prime through its collision with the totalitarian state of the 1930s. The title of the exhibition takes its name from the letter Z, which is in many ways emblematic of the period. Z is for zigzag, the spark; it is the symbol of energy, of radio transmissions and communications, of electrical charges and of lightning.
Generation Z offers an introduction to some of the key figures of the period and their areas of research. It is a story that is still relatively unknown in the West and is only now beginning to come to light in Russia itself. Many of the featured documents, sound and footage has not previously been made available in the West and tantalizingly offers just a taste of the material from the period that remains to be explored. Fortunately by a miracle many documents considered lost have survived as well as over one hour of graphical soundtracks produced with the Variophone which were recently discovered
The main section of the Generation Z exhibition is titled the Graphical (Drawn) Sound. It is a unique technology of synthesizing sound from light which was invented in Soviet Russia in 1929 as a consequence of the newly invented sound-on-film technology. This section contains not only documents, but also unique artificial soundtracks, created in 1930-s by Arseny Avraamov, Evgeny Sholpo, Nikolai Voinov, Boris Yankovsky.
The first time the exhibition under the title „Sound in Z“ was held in Paris at the Museum of Modern Art Palais De Tokyo in the framework of the exhibition of the British winner of the Turner Prize - Jeremy Deller, under the title «From One Revolution To Another» during the period 25.09.08 - 22.01.09. The exhibition was produced by Andrey Smirnov with the participation of curators Matthew Price and Christina Steinbrecher, with support by Nikolai Izvolov, Lev Bolotsky, Marina Sholpo.