The back and front stages spaces of protest.

Preserving Protest

Preserving Protest is a study on the relationship between social opposition and urban space.  Surveying the history of protest in the complex recent history of Russia, this project challenges the idea that the effectiveness of a protest movement is directly correlated with the scale of its action.  Instead, history has shown that smaller countercultural spheres are the drivers of effective change.  The Russian Avant Garde originated in these spheres, and the disregard for preserving the physical artifacts of this movement (example: Shukhov Tower, currently facing demolition) is symbolic of the loss of an effective scale of protest, and the uncertain future for the spaces which have historical catalyzed political and social change.

A prediction is a statement about the future. A protest is a statement of objection about a perceived future. Protest and prediction exist in a dialect similar to that of modernization and preservation, each has a tenuous relationship with the past and future. Throughout history, forms of protest have been significant agents of social and political change, from underground countercultural movements to mass public demonstrations. These movements push societal progress and leave historical imprints on the city. 

My research centered on Moscow, a city with a unique past and current history of protest. I analyzed forms of opposition and counterculture not by their political ideologies, but the character of the spaces which they inhabit. In Moscow, highly ideological eras produced some of the most significant innovation in art, architecture, literature and science of the 20th century. The Avant-Garde was born at the height of Russian revolutionary fervor. Motivations of protest, be it a rejection of past or future, were incredible stimulus and inspiration for critical innovation which shaped the nation's future.

When we think of protest, we tend to think of massive crowds in demonstration against a political entity. What is less obvious is that these public manifestations of opposition are actually fueled by a deeper, private creative movements. It is the countercultural undercurrent of opposition which has a broader, and more significant impact on society and its progress. Often the private sphere is strengthened by restrictions against the public sphere. However, in an increasingly public society, the essential backstage social spaces of counterculture and productive dissent are missing. 

A new protest model and a new space of counterculture is introduced in the city as a method of physical and social preservation. By occupying the now abandoned spaces of Moscow's Avant Garde buildings, this new typology of urban space will be a catalyst for future protest movements, achieving maximum effect without maximum number of people assembling in crowds. Instead of centralized and confined to a singular event in at one place and time, this model will be distributed throughout the city. Furthermore, it will restore and preserve Moscow's physical and countercultural heritage.

This project was developed as part of the “Foresight in Hindsight” studio led by Reinier De Graaf at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow, 2013.

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  • lucasaiden

    lucasaiden ·  Jul 19, 19 5:50 am

    A prediction is a statement about the future. A protest is a statement of objections to an awareness future. Resistance and prediction exist in a similar dialect of modernization and conservation, each with a difficult relationship with the past and the future. I took help from uk essays last month. Throughout history, forms of protest are an important agent of social and political change, from underground anti-cultural movements.
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