letatlin

Vladimir Tatlin and his apprentices constructing the model of Tatlin’s Tower, a monument to the Third International.

Tower (400m at height) should be erected in Petrograd as a symbol of the October Revolution’s victory. The framework consist of four geometric structures made of steel and glass that rotate at different speed. Every structure has its own purpose: first contains legislative body, second - executive, third by information centre and its maintenance (radio, telegraph and etc) and the forth - unknown. Tatlin made several projects of it.

As with Letatlin, Tatlin understood that this construction could not  work due to technical development of the age. 

Five Things | Adam Lerner

This week we asked Adam Lerner, author of From Russia with Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde, to share five things that have been on his mind.

1. Letatlin
I often think about the great Russian constructivist artist Vladimir Tatlin spending 1929 to 1932 in the bell tower of a monastery in Moscow, dressed as a medieval craftsman, while trying to build a thing he called Letatlin, an orinthopter, which is a human-powered bird-like flying machine. I don’t know what exactly he thought he was doing making an aircycle years after the invention of the airplane but the fact that he went whole hog on such an utterly ambiguous, let alone impractical, enterprise, makes it feel to me like one of the most profound and moving endeavors in the history of art.

2. Drunk History
I feel a strange kind of hope for the future of American culture when I watch the television series Drunk History, where schnockered historians narrate episodes of history while actors “lip-sync” their slurred lines. Somehow it manages to feel both DIY and sophisticated, like the kind of thing that only the coolest person you know could make. My only hope is that my new book with Princeton Architectural Press will earn me an appearance on the show.

3. Machine Project
As an art museum director, I have strangely never found myself feeling envious of anything happening at another art museum. But I continually find myself wishing that I had thought of any number of ideas that come out of the art space Machine Project, in Los Angeles. Founded by Mark Allen and based in an unassuming storefront space, among its many oddball programs, Machine has organized a museum sleepover for houseplants, a poetry delivery service and an auto theft workshop for children. Who can touch that?

4. Cassoulet
Growing up in an immigrant Jewish household in Queens, virtually every week my father would make a stew called Cholent. With a precise way of placing every piece of potato and meat and a method of spreading lima beans that seemed to be prescribed by rabbinic tradition, my father would prepare this sacred dish on Friday night before sundown and allow it to simmer overnight so that we could eat it for lunch on Saturday. And about a year ago, the thought occurred to me: It’s a cassoulet. I love cassoulet!

5. Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson helped me see that our best self is our child-self. I take the film Moonrise Kingdom, and everything else he made, to boil down to a single imperative: We may never have connected with our child-self as a youth and we are even less likely to tap into it as an adult, but it remains our task to try nonetheless. When we are able to lighten the heaviness of the world, then we are truly artists and the world is ours.

In his interview devoted to Letatlin, Vladimir Tatlin mentions the mythic figure of Icarus and asks: “Why then can we not learn to soar like birds by learning this technique? Moreover I want to give back to the man the sensation of flight. The machine flight of the aeroplane has taken it away from us. We do not know our bodies’ sensation of movement in air”

Vladimir Tatlin, in Vecherniaia Moskva no. 80, April 6, 1932 (source).