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ORGANIZATION

SOVIET

EARLY AS

CULTURE

Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult

THOUGHT

IN

in Tangential Points Publication Series (Crucible Studio, Aalto University, 2016)

103204787103ABC

Published

ISBN

2 0 1 6 ) 103204787103ABC P u b l i s h e d ISBN

SPHERICAL

BOOK

GENERAL

EDITOR:

Pia Tikka

EDITORIAL

BOARD:

John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen,

Giulia Rispoli,

Maja Soboleva

BOOK GENERAL EDITOR: Pia Tikka EDITORIAL BOARD: John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen, Giulia Rispoli, Maja Soboleva

CULTURE AS ORGANIZATION IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT

Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult

CULTURE AS ORGANIZATION IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult SPHERICAL BOOK

SPHERICAL

BOOK

COPYRIGHTS

Spherical Book Platform Crucible Studio’s Tangential Points Series

http://crucible.org.aalto.fi/spherical/

Aalto University School of Arts Design and Architecture books.aalto.fi

© Authors

ISBN 978-952-60-0076-3

Helsinki, Finland

2016

Outline-generating algorithm, Perspicamus Oy

The concept of interactive online publication platfrom “Spherical Book”

© Mauri Kaipainen, Eduard Shagal, and Pia Tikka

Spherical Book platform software and graphic design © Eduard Shagal

EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION

This anthology “Culture as Organization in Early Soviet Thought” brings together a group of film researchers, historians, political scientists and systems scientists to discuss historical and contemporary tangential points between the sciences and the arts in Russia during the first decades of the twentieth century. All chapters provide new insights into linkages between the arts, philosophy and other disciplines during this period. Tangential points between early Russian systems thinking and approaches to montage that were being developed within the film community are examined in detail. The contributing authors focus on two thinkers: the filmmaker, Sergei M. Eisenstein and the systems theorist, Aleksandr A. Bogdanov. In the early years of his career as a theatre and film director, Eisenstein worked within the Proletkult, a cross-disciplinary move- ment the objective of which was to create a new ‘proletarian culture’ by fostering the values of ‘collectivism’ through tuition on literature, theatre, the graphic arts and the sciences. Bogdanov, an economist, culturologist and physician was the principal founder of this move- ment. Bogdanov delivered regular lectures in the Proletkult and in other educational institutions in which he expounded his tektologi- cal ideas of organization as universal mechanisms in nature, society and thought. At one time the closest collaborator of Vladimir I. Lenin, Bogdanov soon became his most feared rival, and his systemic ideas were fated to vanish from Soviet history until their re-discovery in the 1980s. Most of the papers in this anthology were delivered to an international art and science conference “Tangential Points” organ- ized at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2014. This scholarly meeting was convened to reflect upon appar- ent similarities between the systemic thinking of Eisenstein and Bogdanov, as hypothesized in the book Enactive Cinema: Simulato- rium Eisensteinense (Tikka 2008). This work, in turn, was grounded in publications that had introduced Bogdanov’s systemic thinking to the English speaking world in the 1980s and later. These works are listed in the references of many of the chapters.

The principal inspiration for the conference, however, came from the work of the author of The Origins and Development of Sys- tems Thinking in the Soviet Union (1982), the Finnish scholar Ilmari Susiluoto (1947 – 2016), to whom this anthology is dedicated. By taking the work of Eisenstein and Bogdanov as case studies we were able to search for tangential points between early systems thinking and the creative arts at a level beyond mere generalization. Oksana Bulgakowa invites the reader to follow her on an expedition into Eisenstein’s systems thinking: Eisenstein rejected linear logic and seeked for forms of a hypertext that in his eyes were closer to the associative, spherical, and labyrinthine thought structures, ideas that to date have only found expression in modernist art experiments. In John Biggart’s “Sociology of Arts” one learns how Bogdanov inte- grated the arts into his general theory of the evolution of social formations. Jutta Scherrer analyzes the historical genesis of Bogdanov’s conception of proletarian culture. The concern of Maja Soboleva is Bogdanov’s theoretical understanding of culture and its tektological foundations. The chapter by Vesa Oittinen opens a window upon the theoretical dispute between Bogdanov and Lenin, between the ‘Machian’ and the ‘orthodox Marxist’ and highlights the centrality of Kantian ‘things-in-themselves’ (Ding an sich) to this dispute. Peter Dudley discusses the Proletkult as an adaptive systemic environment, created for supporting the self-organization of the proletariat for radical social change. Giulia Rispoli joins the cohort of systemic thinkers in the anthology: referring to biological, ecological and cognitive levels of cybernetic organization, she highlights the contemporary relevance of Bogdanov’s tektological polymorphic idea of the environment and of knowledge creation. According to Simona Poustilnik, Bogdanov’s tektological conceptions of ‘personality-organization’ and ‘assembling’ provided Soviet Con- structivists with a scientific rationale for their ‘production art’. Fabian Tompsett describes the impact of Bogdanov and Otto Neur- ath upon the German Figurative Constructivists and points to the relevance of his tektological ideas to political-art movements in the age of digitized information. Among the specific issues addressed is the extent to which Eisenstein’s theoretical work on montage systems was influenced by the systemic thinking of Bogdanov. Daniela Steila applies metaphors of photography and cinema to explain the difference between the views of human perception repre- sented by Lenin and Bogdanov, enabling us to detect traces of Bogdanov’s systemic ideas in the thinking of Eisenstein. Lyubov Bugaeva identifies further potential linkages between the two main subjects of this anthology, in a chapter which investigates the rela- tions between Bogdanov’s notions of the affectional, Eisenstein’s theory of expressiveness, and the emotional script as conceived by Eisenstein and realized by Rzheshevskiy. Some answers are offered to those who might ask what role the Proletkult movement played in the careers of the two. John Biggart and Oksana Bulgakowa examine aspects of how both Bogdanov and

Eisenstein challenged traditional modes of thought, integrating modern thinking into their respective disciplines. In different ways this brought about the expulsion of both from the Proletkult move- ment.

As a feature of the anthology, we offer original translations of texts by Eisenstein and Bogdanov. Bogdanov’s “Science and the working class” (1918), translated by Fabian Tompsett comprises fourteen ‘Theses’ for a lecture delivered by Bogdanov to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult in 1918. “An open letter to A. Bogdanov” by Franz Siewert (1921), translated by Fabian Tompsett, brings to life one critical response to Bogdanov’s concept of ‘Proletarian art’, as expressed by a contemporary. Two texts by Eisenstein enable the reader to grasp Eisenstein’s original writing style, a style that resembles a line of thought cap- tured on the fly and passed down to us in textual form. Introduced by Oksana Bulgakowa and John Biggart, Eisenstein’s “Cinema of the masses” (1927), translated by Richard Abraham, offers a comprehen- sive and popular explanation of what Eisenstein understood to be his original contribution to the art of film. A few months before his death, Eisenstein recapitulated in “The Magic of Art” (1947) trans- lated by Julia Vassilieva, several of the key themes that recur through- out his theoretical output. Bogdanov, like Eisenstein, was aware of the power of art to influence the thinking of the proletariat. James D. White examines the philosophical dimension of Bogdanov’s utopian novel Red Star, drawing attention to themes that appear in his more avowedly theoretical works. Red Star was written in order to famil- iarize workers with Bogdanov’s understanding of the ‘culture of the future’: it is made clear that this culture would entail an assimilation and mastery of Bogdanov’s ‘organization science’. Indeed, Bogdanov’s thinking in the field of organization science evolved and matured at the very time that he articulated his utopian vision in the form of a novel. The reader might ask, how far are these early systemic ideas present in the media art theories of the present day? Clea von Chamier-Waite’s practice-based chapter leads the reader from the rhythmic montage pioneered by Eisenstein and the Soviet avant- garde cinema of the 1920s, to the present day and to her conception of somatic montage for immersive cinema, experienced through the navigation of a four-dimensional cinematic space - a Sphere. The “Spherical Book” was a visionary invention by Eisenstein of a new book form that anticipated hypertext. Whereas in the tradi- tional book form articles were read sequentially, following a linear narrative, the content of the “Spherical Book”, as Eisenstein called it, was to be perceived as a whole, instantaneously, with essays arranged in clusters, each oriented in different direction but circling around a common theme. Our implementation of this idea enables the readers make their own book-montages by emphasizing the themes that are, for them, most important. In response, the Spherical Book algorithm will organize all chapters into a cluster around the chosen themes.

The interactive “Spherical Book” platform provides readers and authors with a platform for creating, sharing, and cultivating a multiplicity of perspectives around a variety of themes. By prioritiz- ing amongst a multitude of themes, readers may download and print a “Spherical Book” that is in accordance with their thematic prefer- ences. With open access online, the “Spherical Book” platform ena- bles the reader to adopt a unique point-of-view, and to reorganize the material of the Book whenever preferences change.

Pia Tikka (Editor-in-Chief) John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen, Giulia Rispoli, and Maja Soboleva (Editorial Board)

The work has been supported by The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki, and NeuroCine research project at the Department of Film, Television and Scenography and the Department of Media at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland.

THEMATICAL OUTLINE

Some emphasis on TaylorismTHEMATICAL OUTLINE Some emphasis on Tektology Clea von Chamier-Waite SOMATIC MONTAGE FOR IMMERSIVE CINEMA John Biggart

THEMATICAL OUTLINE Some emphasis on Taylorism Some emphasis on Tektology Clea von Chamier-Waite SOMATIC MONTAGE FOR

Some emphasis on Tektology Clea von Chamier-Waite SOMATIC MONTAGE FOR IMMERSIVE CINEMA

Clea von Chamier-Waite SOMATIC MONTAGE FOR IMMERSIVE CINEMA John Biggart and Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN IN THE

John Biggart and Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN IN THE PROLETKULT John Biggart BOGDANOV’S SOCIOLOGY OF THE ARTS

No emphasis on TaylorismPROLETKULT John Biggart BOGDANOV’S SOCIOLOGY OF THE ARTS Without emphasis on Tektology Aleksandr Bogdanov;

BOGDANOV’S SOCIOLOGY OF THE ARTS No emphasis on Taylorism Without emphasis on Tektology Aleksandr Bogdanov;

Without emphasis on Tektology Aleksandr Bogdanov; Introduction and translation Fabian Tompsett SCIENCE AND THE WORKING CLASS 1918 Lyubov Bugaeva BOGDANOV AND EISENSTEIN ON EMOTIONS: THE AFFECTIONAL, THEORY OF EXPRESSIVENESS, AND EMOTIONAL SCRIPT Peter Dudley BOGDANOV’S PODBOR AND PROLETKULT: AN ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE Sergei M. Eisenstein; Introduction and translation Julia Vassilieva THE MAGIC OF ART 1947 Sergei M. Eisenstein; Introduction Oksana Bulgakowa & John Biggart; Translation Richard Abraham CINEMA OF THE MASSES 1927 Vesa Oittinen BOGDANOV AND LENIN ON ‘THINGS-IN-THEMSELVES’ Simona Poustilnik BOGDANOV'S TEKTOLOGY: A SCIENCE OF CONSTRUCTION Giulia Rispoli SHARING IN ACTION: BOGDANOV, THE LIVING EXPERIENCE AND THE SYSTEMIC CONCEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT Jutta Scherrer BOGDANOV'S CONCEPT OF CULTURE: FROM WORKERS’ CIRCLES TO THE PROLETKULT MOVEMENT Franz Seiwert; Introduction and translation Fabian Tompsett OPEN LETTER TO COMRADE A. BOGDANOV 1921 Fabian Tompsett TOWARDS A TEKTOLOGY OF TEKTOLOGY James D. White PARADISE ORGANIZED. THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSION OF ALEXANDER BOGDANOV’S UTOPIAN NOVEL, RED STAR Maja Soboleva THE CULTURE AS SYSTEM, THE SYSTEM OF CULTURE Daniela Steila KNOWLEDGE AS FILM VS. KNOWLEDGE AS PHOTO: ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS

ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
ALTERNATIVE MODELS IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT Oksana Bulgakowa EISENSTEIN’S SYSTEM THINKING: INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS

Articles with

Some emphasis on Taylorism Some emphasis on Tektology

Spherical Book

SOMATIC MONTAGE FOR IMMERSIVE CINEMA

Clea von Chamier-Waite

This chapter is peer-reviewed and edited for

Spherical Book titled

CULTURE AS ORGANIZATION IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT

Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult

Editor-in-Chief: Pia Tikka Editorial Board: John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen, Giulia Rispoli, Maja Soboleva Tangential Points Publications Aalto University 2016 ISBN 103204787103ABC

This paper investigates a new notion of cinematic montage for immersive cinema while examining historical precedents in the arts and cinema of the twentieth century. Immersive film creation is in its early stages of development towards a modern, cinematic language, comparable to the invention of rhythmic montage pioneered by Eisenstein and Soviet cinema and followed by the avant-garde cinema of the 1920’s. Immersive cinema makes possible a proprioceptive interaction of form and content, allowing the extension of the signification structure of a film from its internal narrative out into the geometry of the projection space. The concept of somatic montage addresses new forms of montage techniques that marry chronological with spatial sequencing into an embodied, participatory creation of narrative. Somatic montage is presented here as a broader, supra-dimensional notion of what Eisenstein called the ‘disjunctive method of narration’. The expanded architectural expanse occupied by the immersive film affords a spatialized, non-linear juxtaposition of the film’s elements or ‘cells’. The projection architectonics become an ordering element in the compositional flow of the film, allowing the spectator space to build their own field of associations and meaning toward construction of a poetic narrative by navigating a four-dimensional, cinematic space.

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New concepts of space in the arts grew out of the discovery of new geometries and physical laws at the turn of the last century. The invention of non-Euclidean geometry at the end of the nineteenth century and the discovery of Relativity Theory and Minkowski space- time at the beginning of the twentieth century had profound repercussions in the arts, ranging from the traditional avant-garde of the early century to Minimalism in the 1960s and 70s. Hyperspace presents a useful representation for addressing the artistic concepts of space-time – the fourth dimension, motion, and the faceting of perspective that evolved out of this period. The tesseract provides a model-metaphor for forms of composition that derive from the deconstruction of linear sources, allowing for a multi-dimensional re-composition of the parts that actively engages the viewer in constructing associative flow structures. The twentieth century avant-garde movements can be seen as the forbearers of somatic montage in contemporary cinema. Somatic montage 1 explores the concept of montage in the visual arts, poetry, and literature, but especially in cine-installation and immersive cinema as a formal construct rooted in the notions of juxtaposition, cells, and collision developed by Sergei Eisenstein and the Soviet cinema. A somatic approach to cinema montage engages a supra-dimensional interaction between the film’s content and the viewer with the immersive space in a unity of form, participation, and content. In a somatic montage the film is physically distributed throughout an architectural or virtual theater. The scenes occupy different spatial as well as temporal locations as an added dimension of montage. Immersive cinema affords expanding the signification structure of a film from its internal narrative out into a navigable projection space. Immersive film creation is in the early stages of development towards a modern, cinematic language. The notion of somatic montage proposed here is presented as a broader, multi-dimensional interpretation of what Eisenstein called the “disjunctive method of narration” (Eisenstein 1949a), made applicable to immersive cinema. The external architecture of the projection space is utilized as an ordering element in the compositional flow of the film, providing the viewer a conceptual and navigable space to build their own field of associations and meaning in the construction of a poetic narrative. Using this construct, the body, with

1 The nomenclature ‘somatic montage’ was first introduced by this author in “The Cine-poetics of Fulldome Cinema” (Chamier-Waite 2013).

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its movements, memory, and sensations, participates in the reading of the immersive cine-poem.

Immersive cinema 2

Immersive cinema is an architectonically enveloping, embodied, cinematic experience that encompasses presentation modes ranging from large-scale, multi-projection installations and panoramas, the frameless hemispherical projections of OmniMAX and planetarium fulldome

cinemas, to the full, spherical image space of virtual reality. Fulldome refers to an immersive motion picture medium that is a dome-based, digital video projection environment using a hemispherical projection surface – typically a planetarium dome. The environment extends over

360

degrees in azimuth and down to the dome horizon, approximately

180

degrees and the audience looks upwards at the image space. The

images are accompanied by a three-dimensional listening experience using a multi-speaker, spatial sound system. The OmniMAX theaters, also known as IMAX Dome, use the same principal as fulldome cinemas with the exception that the viewers are seated in an amphitheater arrangement, viewing a steeply tilted, frontally oriented dome screen. Virtual reality is a single-viewer system that uses a head-mounted display and an interactive spatial tracking system to create the impression of a fully stereoscopic, spherical image space surrounding the viewer in all dimensions. In all three systems, viewers experience an immersive film space that occupies their entire visual and acoustic space, focal and peripheral, which unfolds itself based on the directed attention of the viewer.

Immersive cinema has its roots in the planetarium star show with its illusion of boundless space. The earliest planetarium shows made use of star projectors built by Carl Zeiss in the 1920s (fig. 1). These machines were designed specifically and solely for projecting the fixed stars and nebulae, as well as the Sun, Moon, and planets, into the dome of a planetarium cupola. Larger models included constellations, comets, and other astral apparitions. These superb contrivances of mechanics and optics simulate the progression of the stars across the night sky as the earth rotates. Points of light, static images within them selves, are animated around the dome using a complex set of geared mechanisms.

2 Part of this paper has previously appeared in “The Cine-poetics of Fulldome Cinema”, Animation Practice, Production & Process, 2013 (Chamier-Waite 2013).

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Because the only light reaching the dome is that from the ‘stars’, the negative image space is deep black, creating a convincing, immersive experience. In the 1960s, many planetaria began to combine the star projector shows with multimedia slide shows that used arrays of slide projectors and cross-dissolve techniques. The advantage here was the new ability to add photographic and graphic imagery to their presentations. However, these shows also presented certain drawbacks. First, the slide imagery was static. Second, many of these slide shows were created using conventional optics and projectors. In order to project naturalistically onto a dome, however, the images must be photographed and projected using special curved optics, the ‘fisheye lens’, to pre-distort the planar image so that it matches the curved surface. The visible, rectangular frame of the conventional photographs and the ambient spill light from these projections destroyed the immersive illusion of deep darkness that is the planetarium’s main attraction.

deep darkness that is the planetarium’s main attraction. Fig. 1. The Zeiss Model II Star Projector

Fig. 1. The Zeiss Model II Star Projector 3

3 http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/exhibits/zeiss/

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In the 1970s, laser-light shows became a popular addition to the star projector shows. The laser has the advantage of being a highly focused and intense beam of light. Its quality is comparable to the intense points of light projected by the star projector and it does not generate any ‘spill’ light. The laser beam can be animated using a small, mechanized mirror, scanning quickly. With the laser show, the immersive darkness of the planetarium was restored, but with the new addition of colored motion graphics interspersed across the dome. Optical image distortion is also not an issue with laser projection since there is no lens involved. The laser drawing can be designed to accommodate the curvature of the dome although abstract imagery is often used to circumvent the need for geometric accuracy on the dome surface. Combined and synchronized with music, the laser shows became a popular multimedia event in the 1970s. However, they were limited as to content, only able to create ephemeral line drawings (fig. 2).

only able to create ephemeral line drawings (fig. 2). Fig. 2. Combined laser, star machine, and

Fig. 2. Combined laser, star machine, and slide projections in the planetarium. Photo Frank-Michael Arndt, Zeiss-Großplanetarium, Berlin

In the 1980s, a few planetaria installed arrays of conventional video projectors to add patches of photographic, motion-picture elements to their multimedia shows. These attempts were far less successful than

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the slide and laser shows, despite the addition of motion, due to the poor image quality and high expense of early video projectors. Most significantly, the standard quadratic image projection and luminous grey ‘black’ of video projection destroyed the illusion of limitless space created by the dome. These were, however, early attempts at incorporating live- action content using a form of spatial montage, or collage, of the video projection cells with the other light sources. The first immersive film which used moving, photographic imagery seamlessly covering the entire hemispherical space was shown in 1973 in a specially built theater, the new OmniMAX format. OmniMAX films were shot using a fisheye lens and an exceptionally large film format 4 to create live-action images for the dome. OmniMAX remained the dominant immersive format until the rapid development of computer animation techniques and high-definition video in the 1990’s contributed to the beginning of fulldome video projection in a standard planetarium. With the innovations of OmniMax and fulldome, the hemispherical projection became truly cinematic and immersive cinema was born. Figure 3 shows a still image from the experimental immersive film Moonwalk (Waite 2010) where the entire, sixty-foot diameter planetarium dome is projected with a photographic image of the full Moon.

Temporal montage

During the silent film era at the beginning of the twentieth century, films were often accompanied by a storyteller who narrated the films, particularly in Russia and Japan. The Japanese narrator, the benshi, not only narrated the films, but also directed the audience’s attention within a continuous wide shot to accentuate certain details on the screen such as a doorway or a window. In a planetarium, the star projector sky is also comparable to a continuous ‘wide shot’ and is traditionally accompanied by a live presenter. Still popular in planetarium shows today, the presenter explains the map of the stars and points out the details of constellations to the audience, drawing their attention to a particular location on the dome screen. The Japanese silent film and the star projector show with their long, wide shots can both be considered ‘proto-montage’ cinema.

4 OmniMAX and IMAX used what is known as a ‘15-perf’, or ‘15/70’, a fifteen sprocket hole, horizontal piece of 70mm film as opposed to the vertical ‘5-perf’, 65mm area of standard large format film, providing three times the image area per frame.

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Earliest cinematography mimicked the conventions of theater and vaudeville, relying on a stationary camera taking up the position of the audience while viewing a complete stage – the original wide shot. The accomplished stage magician turned film pioneer Georges Méliès invented film editing to facilitate his optical tricks in films such as Voyage dans la Lune of 1902. Méliès made figures magically appear and disappear, the first film cuts, but he maintained a continuous space in his films. The attention directing of the Japanese benshi conceives a conceptual precursor to montage, guiding the eyes’ point of focus within a continuous space, but it is not until the innovations of the cut to a close- up by D.W. Griffith 5 and parallel editing, the intercutting of two simultaneous events in The Great Train Robbery from 1903 by Edwin S. Porter, do we have the beginnings of true film montage.

S. Porter, do we have the beginnings of true film montage. Fig. 3. Moonwalk (2010) by

Fig. 3. Moonwalk (2010) by Clea T. Waite: fulldome projection at the Adler Planetarium. Photo Mark Webb.

5 Film historians maintain an open debate as to who first used the close-up in film, but especially Eisenstein acknowledges Griffiths as the first director to develop it into an element of modern cinematic language. See (Eisenstein 1949a).

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The concept of montage is essential to modern cinematic language. Like the benshi, the editor, by creating the montage, visually directs our attention through the space and time of a film’s narrative. Art and film theorist Rudolf Arnheim described montage as the formation of the viewer’s interest within the film: “In montage the film artist has a first-class formative instrument, which helps him to emphasize and give greater significance to the actual events that he portrays. From the time continuum of a scene he takes only the parts that interest him, and of the spatial totality of objects and events he picks out only what is relevant.

Some details he stresses, others he omits altogether.” (Arnheim 1957) The emphasis in conventional, temporal montage is on producing the impression of a continuous space and time. The narrative continuity edit reinforces spatial orientation through a non-disruptive, invisible style of cutting. An alternative, avant-garde concept of montage that uses a deeply structural and entirely different impetus than ‘continuity editing’ developed in the Soviet Union in the 1920s with filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein as this movement’s most prolific theorist. Eisenstein declared “montage as the chief means of effect.”(Eisenstein 1949b) for the creation of cinema. Eisenstein’s core concept for montage rests in the notion of juxtaposition, of placing two shots next to each other in sequence that are disparate in order to create a new meaning beyond their individual contents through association: “The montage method is obvious: the play of juxtaposed detail-shots, which in themselves are immutable and even unrelated, but from which is created the desired image of the whole.

shots that are depictive, single in meaning, neutral in

content – into intellectual contexts and series

present, as to signify, give meaning, to designate.” (Eisenstein 1949b) Eisenstein’s notion of juxtaposition occurs between non- continuous elements, what he refers to as ‘cells’, single shots of a film sequence. Eisenstein borrows the notion from biology, explaining his concept of the cell as an organic building block of the film’s totality. The cell is a core theme in Eisenstein’s theory. “The shot is by no means an element of montage. The shot is a montage cell. Just as the cells in their division form a phenomenon on another order, the organism or embryo, so, on the other side of the dialectical leap from the shot, there is montage.” (Eisenstein 1949a) Though composed of moving pictures, the cell represents a graphical (or acoustic or textual) unit that functions less due to its internal development in time than due to the associations that arise when one cell progresses to the next in a temporal, linear

so much to show or to

combining

not

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juxtaposition, displacing the viewer abruptly in the space-time continuum of the film and the resulting conceptual leap that this demands. Film theorist and historian David Bordwell summarizes Einsenstein’s approach as “constructivist montage” (Bordwell 1998), suggesting interactions between characters and objects while never including all in the same frame. The joining of two shots yielded an effect or meaning not evident in either shot alone. Jean-Luc Godard, the French Nouvelle Vague filmmaker, has similarly equated this recipe for montage with the dynamic compositions

of Constructivist photography, like the portraits of Helmar Lerski (fig. 4), that appeared in contemporary art at the same time as Eisenstein developed his theories in the Soviet Union: “what made possible the

was the angled shot: the look sharply up,

down, or at a tilt so characteristic of Russian avant-garde cinema….

did not simply energize the

frame with dynamic composition, it also announced it as a partial image, just one choice among many.”(Campany 2008)

kinds of montage {Russians}

Renouncing the supposedly 'straight' shot

{Russians} Renouncing the supposedly 'straight' shot Fig. 4. Helmar Lerski, Verwandlungen durch Licht . Gelatin

Fig. 4. Helmar Lerski, Verwandlungen durch Licht. Gelatin silver print, 1936. (Eskildsen 1982)

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Eisenstein was interested in an aggressive notion of montage, his disjunctive method of narration, using collision and conflict as his theoretical vocabulary. In Eisenstein’s framework, the desired concept to be communicated is constructed in the mind of the viewer, arising from the collision of two different factors. While conflict and collision in Eisenstein’s sense serve to direct the audience’s perception of the narrative through association, these concepts also play a role in the notion of disruptive narrative, non-linearity, simultaneity, and ambiguity that are key themes arising in the arts – in the cinema, literature, painting, sculpture, and music of the European avant-garde of the same period.

In “The Ontology of the Photographic Image” from 1960, film theorist and critic André Bazin argued counter to the significance of Soviet montage, defending the long, continous take and emphasizing composition and action within the depth and time of the image, the mise- en-scène. Bazin, like Eisenstein, argued for interpretation by the spectator, but in his notion this occurred by representing a total and complete representation of reality, total cinema (Bazin 2004), rather than through the associations created by the montage of selected details. Bazin was opposed to the manipulation of reality represented by avant-garde montage theory. An example of the mise-en-scène approach can be found in the director Raoul Walsh who relished his long, highly detailed, wide- screen shots of the American West in The Big Trail from 1930, taking a painterly approach to image complexity and duration. Jacques Tati’s Playtime from 1967, with its elaborate sets, intricate action, and long takes, consciously conforms to Bazin’s total cinema approach in its extreme, letting layers of action unfold before the camera in very long, single takes. Notably, both directors also worked with the largest and most immersive format of film available to them, 70mm. The ensuing generation Soviet filmmaker and theorist Andrei Tarkovski’s approach to cinema also owes more to Bazin than Eisenstein, exemplified by the long takes and slow moving camera in Stalker (1979). Tarkovski argues for the precedence of the time within the frame over the successive juxtaposition of shots over time: “Nor can I accept the notion that editing is the main formative element of a film, as the protagonists of 'montage cinema', following Kuleshov and Eisenstein, maintained in the 'twenties, as if a film was made on the editing table… The idea of 'montage cinema'—that editing brings together two concepts and thus engenders a new, third one—again seems to me to be

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incompatible with the nature of cinema. Art can never have the interplay of concepts as its ultimate goal.”(Tarkovski ĭ 1987) For Tarkovski, Walsh, or Tati, montage takes place within the deep time, the extended and highly detailed image, of the shot. Conventional, immersive cinema style principally adheres to Bazin’s concepts of the mise-en-scène and a total cinema. Immersive experiences are composed of wide, visually detailed, temporally long shots, chrono-spatial continuity, linear narrative, and an ongoing fascination with the realistic image. Often there are no edits at all. Video art, in contrast, often explores disjunctive space, visual fragmentation, and narrative ambiguity while using architectonic, immersive constructions of multiple screens. Whereas conventional narratives rooted in literature tend towards closure, video art tends towards dispersal, disrupting linearity and moving meaning outwards by placing cells across multiple screens. By departing from the impulse towards literary realism, the poetry of a more avant-garde approach to cinema emerges through the associations created by spatialized juxtaposition. What is missing from the cinematic language of most immersive films is exactly this notion of evocative, associative montage. Bordwell talks about the use of film montage as the fragmentation of space to build an emotional impact. Poetry and montage are manifestations of the same idiom of fragmentation and juxtaposition, only in different media. As forms of expression, fragmented structures compel the mind to fill in the gaps, opening up an interaction between the recipient and the work by communicating within a conceptual negative space. This is Eisenstein’s notion of the disjunctive method of montage by association. Like the early film avant-garde of the 1920s, a few creators in spherical cinema are exploring the unique, truly media-specific potential of this young medium that emphasizes the inherent spatiality over temporality of the immersive cinema experience. It is important to note that the effectiveness of certain montage techniques, such as rapid temporal cutting in conventional, framed cinema, do not necessarily translate well into the immersive, frameless formats. The visceral effects of immersive media have a heavy impact on the sensory apparatus that can make disrupting the space of the film through fast edits physically unsettling. In spite of this, a rhythmic, associative montage can be achieved in immersive cinema by employing the plane of the image, a spatialized collage structure of cells rather than linear temporality as the axis of composition. Immersion is chiefly about

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space. The metric aspect of creating rhythm through the temporal succession of images can be comparably evoked through the translational time of the eye across the surface of the dome in a spatial montage as it can through rhythmic editing within the time axis.

Somatic montage

At the end of the nineteenth century, a great deal of interest sprang up around the concept of n-dimensional geometry, hyperspace, and the fourth dimension – from serious scientific inquiry to esoteric claims. Within this range there developed two strands of interpreting the fourth dimension. One of these defined the fourth dimension as an additional dimension of space perpendicular to our own three, unimaginable to us yet encompassing our three-dimensional scope as the cube encompasses the square. The other defined the fourth dimension as time, imagining space-time as a continuous, four-dimensional volume of past and future spread along a linear axis of time, all moments existing simultaneously with the present constituting a continually shifting, three- dimension slice of this hyper solid through our lower-dimensional space. “Now the characteristic of time is succession; in time alone one thing follows another in endless sequence. The unique characteristic of space is simultaneity, for in space alone everything exists at once.” (Bragdon 1914). In hyperspace the simultaneity of space is conjoined with the succession of time. Architect and designer Claude Fayette Bragdon, known for his creation of a new, geometrically based, ornamental vocabulary that he called ‘projective ornament’, based on sections of the four-dimensional hypercube, played a key role in popularizing the fourth dimension at the turn of the twentieth century. Bragdon was intrigued by the notion of a supra-dimensional object that is only perceivable in time and then only partially; an object which contains time within its own volume – the four-dimensional hypercube or tesseract. When one does perceive the tesseract, inside and outside become interchangeable – they are simultaneous. The dawn of the twentieth century brought with it, in addition to the invisible dimensions of four-space and beyond, a curved universe in which the familiar rules of Euclidean geometry no-longer applied and a relativistic, space-time continuum that contradicted the notion of single- point perspective. Further developments in physics added the concept of multiple, simultaneous realities in the Heisenbergian realm of quantum

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mechanical cats, and the vast void of nothingness, empty silence, that occupies the majority of matter and space at every scale. These are ‘advanced’ notions implying an ambiguity to reality that we are still learning to understand over one hundred years later, far removed from our every day experience of the world. These profound concepts discovered in mathematics and physics have resonated with creative artists and intellectuals since their inception at the turn of the last century. The cultural impact of these ideas instigated a Modernist series of artistic and philosophical movements. Painting, sculpture, music, literature, cinema, and architecture – influences from the new mathematics and physics can be found in all these forms. Starting with Cubism, Futurism, Dada, and avant-garde cinema, we can follow these influences through the Modernist literature of Joyce, the twelve-tone music of Schoenberg, to the Minimalism of the 1960s, up until the beginning of post-modernism in the 1980s. These avant-garde movements share a formal engagement with breaking the singular point-of-view through the disruption of linear narrative, single- point perspective, and spatio-temporal continuity. Motion, fragmentation, simultaneity, ambiguity, and participation with the work of art are constructs that are indicative of the Modernist approach. The Cubists, for example, aspired to portraying a perceived representation over an observed one. The historian of architecture Sigfried Giedion, in Space, Time, and Architecture, analyzes the Cubist rejection of single point perspective: “Cubism breaks with Renaissance perspective. It views objects relatively: that is from many points of view, no one of which has exclusive authority. And in so dissecting objects it sees them simultaneously from all sides – from above and below, from inside and outside” (Giedion 2009). Giedion’s analysis brings into focus the implication of observer motion and simultaneous interiority/exteriority in Cubism that also features in Bragdon’s description of the tesseract. The Cubist rejection of Renaissance perspective in favor of a multi-point, faceted perspective embraced a notion of spatial unfolding. In cinema, the notion of unfolding can be realized in the concept of spatial montage, the presentation of multiple, time-based cells distributed across a plane to form a three-dimensional, space-time network of associations through simultaneous presentation. With the tesseract model, this unfolding occurs in the fourth dimension in which time-based cells are faceted within a three-dimensional space; a Cubistic, immersive cinema space,

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that extends beyond the plane, allowing a view simultaneously within and without a film, presenting it continuously in space and time. The historical development of these concepts: disjunctive montage, faceted perspective, the curvature of space-time, n-dimensional spaces, spatial montage, and disrupted narrative that arose in the twentieth century culminated in a Modernist Zeitgeist that embraces spatial and temporal ambiguity, simultaneity, fragmentation, peripatetic perception, and a heightened personal involvement with a work of art. The notion of somatic montage gathers these impulses into a formal construct for creating a cinema that occupies three-dimensional space and time; an immersive, somatic, proprioceptive form that extends the notions of temporal and spatial montage, alternative narrative, simultaneity, and multiple viewpoints into an immersive, formal structure for cinematic art-making. The tesseract, with its embodiment of three-space and time, provides a model-metaphor for constructing a spatio-temporal flow structure in an immersive cinema. The observer must navigate through the cinema space using the motion of their body in time to experience all the facets of the tesseract space. In doing so, she experiences the information contained within the space as simultaneous cells occupying its individual faces – faces which can never be seen all at once. She assembles these cells into a unique narrative through engaging her memory to fill in the voids between the spatialized elements as she makes her own peripatetic juxtapositions of this physical and conceptual space. The early twentieth century phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty examined the role of motion, the body, and a peripatetic experience in the perception of objects in space, a perception, which he noted, is always partial and must be assembled into a whole through experience. He uses the cube as an example of how we construct meaning through our bodies, assembling fragments of perception together into our memory:

From the point of view of my body I never see as equal the six sides of the cube, even if it is made of glass, and yet the word 'cube' has a meaning; the cube itself, the cube in reality, beyond its sensible appearances, has its six equal sides. As I move round it, I see the front face, hitherto a square, change its shape, then disappear, while the other sides come into view and one by one become squares. But the successive stages of this experience are for me merely the opportunity of conceiving the whole cube with its six equal and simultaneous faces, the intelligible structure which provides the explanation of it. … the experience of my own movement conditions the position of an object,

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it is, on the contrary, by conceiving my body itself as a mobile object that I am able to interpret perceptual appearance and construct the cube as it truly is. …In order to be able to conceive the cube, we take up a position in space, now on its surface, now in it, now outside it, and from that moment we see it in perspective. The cube with six equal sides is not only invisible, but inconceivable; it is the cube as it would be for itself; but the cube is not for itself, since it is an object. (Merleau-Ponty and Landes 2013)

Somatic montage builds upon a structural foundation rooted in these notions of twentieth century geometric principles that serve as a formal, objective counterpoint to poetic content constructed through associative collisions. In a somatic montage, form and content, geometry and motion, are inextricably interdependent. The immersive architecture that the film projection occupies serves as a constructive factor of its narrative flow. Cinematic elements, cells, are distributed in space as on the facets of a cube. Movement in time by the viewer, through the fourth dimension, provides the connection between these cells which are then assembled in memory to create meaning. This formal approach to composition derives from the deconstruction of linear narrative and the hyper-expansion of the two-dimensional image space, allowing for a multi-dimensional, oneiric re-composition of the parts that actively engage the viewer through movement and memory. Assembling these elements, somatic montage motivates the viewer’s focus, affording the formation of relationships between signifiers in which it is the viewer’s attention that composes the flow of information in a cinematic tesseract. Multi-dimensional, simultaneous information precludes a passive viewing of the somatic film. The experimental fulldome film Moonwalk provides an example of the somatic montage approach. An immersive film about the Moon, Moonwalk is projected into the dome of the planetarium so that the images of the Moon occupy the round volume of the dome’s hemispherical shape. The film and format intertwine form and content. In the film, time-based cells are distributed in a three-dimensional collage across the extent of the image, displaying them simultaneously as well as sequentially in time (fig. 5) and surrounding the viewer on all sides. Spatialized sound and peripheral vision guide the eyes around the dome screen. A peripatetic rhythm is created between the viewer’s own roving attention and the film’s progression. The result is a narrative within a narrative that is lyrical, non-linear, and individual to each viewer, creating what Eisenstein called the dialectical relationship between form and content in a film, the ‘dual unity’: “The dialect of works of art is built

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upon a most curious ‘dual unity’. The effect generated by a work of art is due to the fact that there takes place within it a dual process: an impetuous progressive rise along the lines of the highest conceptual steps of consciousness and a simultaneous penetration by means of the structure of the form into layers of profoundest sensuous thinking. The polar separation of these two lines of aspiration creates that remarkable tension of unity of form and content characteristic of true artworks.” (Leyda 1986)

and content characteristic of true artworks.” (Leyda 1986) Fig. 5. Still from Moonwalk, fulldome digital film.

Fig. 5. Still from Moonwalk, fulldome digital film. (© 2010 Clea T. Waite)

The concept of somatic montage is not restricted to cinema. Or, cinema has become a contemporary metaphor for most artistic manifestations that involve framing space and moving through time. In 1997, Catherine David curated the exhibition DocumentaX in Kassel, Germany. For David, the city was her tesseract and the vistors’ movements through it the time axis, the fourth dimension of her ‘film’. David placed artworks throughout the city, especially along the routes

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between the exhibition locations. Art critic and theorist Rosalind Krauss analyzes David’s cinematic metaphor in Under Blue Cup: “Catherine David,… planned this procession from train station to exhibition park as a kind of filmic sequence carefully edited with one display juxtaposed to another: a series of jump cuts and dissolves. As she explains it: ’Like a film, Documenta is a long and patient process of montage. Working from a more or less coherent script, sequences are isolated and thought out; when their internal structure is established, they are spliced into the whole. 6 ’” (Krauss 2011) For Krauss, David’s curatorial flow is cinematic. Filmmaker and artist Peter Greenaway used a similar structure in his public installation The Stairs-Munich-Projection (1995). Greenaway placed one hundred movie screens throughout the city of Munich, one for each year in the history of cinema. Greenaway, master of indexicality, presented a spatialized database of films which the viewers assembled into individual narratives as they strolled through town, a somatic montage. They could enjoy the rhythms internal to the works on screen or make their own rhythms by standing or moving, waiting or leaving. Somatic montage addresses a growing theoretical concern as immersive cinema gains in status and expands from the highly specialized environments of the planetarium dome and the OmniMAX theater into the increasingly widespread domains of video installation and virtual reality. It addresses the basic principles of cinematic montage in relation to a three-dimensional, architectonic screen as a spatio-temporal experience. The early twentieth century was a time of exceptional creative experimentation in cinema and the arts, part of the Zeitgeist of the new discoveries being made in geometry and physics at that time. Montage theory and contemporary cinematic language are the legacies of this experimentation. Comparable formal experiments in montage are now emerging in immersive cinema media, diverging from the mis-en-scène approach reminiscent of the earliest films and Bazin’s total cinema, to a more disjunctive method of montage as developed by Eisenstein and the proponents of Soviet cinema. The tesseract, the geometric embodiment of three-dimensional space in combination with the fourth dimension of time, provides a model metaphor for a new approach to disjunctive montage in immersive cinema. This strategy promises a rich practice of immersive, somatic cinema that formally engages a supra-dimensional

6 Krauss is quoting David from "A la rencontre de l'art contemporaine, Catherine David et la Documenta X," a television program broadcast on Arte August 10,1997 (Krauss 2011: 55-58)

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approach to participatory interaction between film and viewer in forming meaning. The engaged body, memory, and the expansion of the cinematic experience into a navigable space of simultaneous presentations and ambiguous interpretations unlocks the potential for a more associative, proprioceptive sensibility towards creating a poetic, immersive, cinematic experience.

References

Arnheim, Rudolf. 1957. Film as Art. University of California Press. Bazin, Andre. 2004. What Is Cinema? Vol. 1. Translated by Hugh Gray. Rev Ed. Berkeley CA.: University of California Press. Bordwell, David. 1998. On the History of Film Style. Harvard University Press. Bragdon, Claude. 1914. Projective Ornament. Kindle Edition. Cosimo Classics. Campany, David. 2008. “Stillness.” In Photography and Cinema, 22–59. London: Reaktion Books Ltd. Chamier-Waite, Clea von. 2013. “The Cine-Poetics of Fulldome Cinema.” In Animation Practice, Production & Process, 3:219–33. Bristol, UK: Intellect Journals. Eisenstein, Sergei. 1949a. “Dickens, Griffith and the Film Today.” In Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, 195–256. New York: Harcourt Brace. ———. 1949b. “Statement on Sound.” In Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, translated by Jay Leyda, 234–35. Harcourt. Eskildsen, Ute. 1982. Helmar Lerski: Metamorphosis Through Light. Luca Verlag. Giedion, Sigfried. 2009. Space, Time and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition, Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition. Revised edition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Krauss, Rosalind E. 2011. Under Blue Cup. The MIT Press. Leyda, Jay, ed. 1986. Eisenstein On Disney - A Classic Book. Translated by Alan Y. Upchurch. 1St Edition edition. Seagull Books. Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, and Donald A Landes. 2013. Phenomenology of Perception. Tarkovski ĭ , Andre ĭ Arsen ʹ evich. 1987. Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Waite, Clea T. 2010. Moonwalk. Fulldome. Experimental. Carl Zeiss AG, Planetarium Section, Jena Germany.

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EISENSTEIN IN THE PROLETKULT

John Biggart and Oksana Bulgakowa

This chapter is peer-reviewed and edited for

Spherical Book titled

CULTURE AS ORGANIZATION IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT

Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult

Editor-in-Chief: Pia Tikka Editorial Board: John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen, Giulia Rispoli, Maja Soboleva Tangential Points Publications Aalto University 2016 ISBN 103204787103ABC

In their respective fields, Aleksandr Bogdanov and Sergey Eisenstein made a radical break with traditional modes of thought. Both sought to bring the findings of modern science into their respective disciplines. We examine some of the theoretical issues that exercised Sergey Eisenstein during the years 1920- 1924 when he worked in the Russian Proletarian Cultural- Educational Organization, of which Bogdanov was one of the founders. We ask how far Eisenstein was influenced by Marxism and by the ideas of Bogdanov. We explain the departure of Eisenstein from the Proletkult in terms of the unacceptability of Eisenstein’s theory and practice in theatre and film and of his political orientation to the Chairman of the Proletkult, Valeriyan Pletnëv, at a time when the Agitprop Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, at Lenin’s behest, was taking steps to reduce the scope of activities of the Proletkult, discredit Bogdanov as a thinker, and exclude him from politics.

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“There are two specific trends that I physically cannot stand:

first, art prolétaire quand-même and second, the ‘Stanislavskiy system’

1

“A polemic. An unequal combat between an individual and an organization (it was yet to be dethroned for its claims to have a monopoly on proletarian culture). At any moment, the matter could turn into ‘persecution’… I was threatened with unpleasant things by the Proletkult.” 2

Science in the service of ideology 3

The years during which Eisenstein worked under the aegis of the Proletkult were years during which he formulated his first theory of theatre and film art - the theory of attractions. 4 In “Montage of attractions” (1923) he described his understanding of the theatrical

programme of the Proletkult as follows: “the moulding of the audience in a desired direction (or mood) is the task of every utilitarian theatre (agitation, advertising, health education, etc.” An “attraction” was:

“ an aggressive moment in theatre, i.e., any element of it that

subjects the audience to emotional or psychological influence, verified

by experience and mathematically calculated to produce specific emotional shocks in the spectator in their proper order within the whole. These shocks provide the only opportunity of perceiving the ideological aspect of what is being shown, the final ideological ”

conclusion

In “Montage of Film Attractions” (1924), Eisenstein argued that this theory was also applicable to film, which, he claimed, shared with the theatre the purpose of “influencing the audience in a desired direction through a series of calculated pressures on its psyché” (Taylor 2010: 39).

Indeed, “

cinema. The method of agitation through spectacle consists in the creation of a new chain of conditioned reflexes by associating selected

(Taylor 2010: 34). 5

there is, or rather should be, no cinema other than agit-

1 Eisenstein, letter to his mother, 4 January 1921. Bulgakowa 2001a: 24.

2 Eisenstein 1997: 111–113; Taylor and Powell 1995: 147–148.

3 In this paper, individual terms used by Eisenstein or other writers, as well as quotations from their works, are indicated by double inverted commas. 4 On the evolution of Eisenstein’s theories, see Bulgakowa 2001c: 38–51; and Bulgakowa 2014: 423–448.

5 Yurenev, citing S.Yutkevich, notes that Eisenstein seized upon the term attraktion at a time when he had a special interest in pantomime. The term can also refer to a circus act or carnival amusement. In 1925 Eisenstein spoke of the “role of circus and sport in the renewal of acting skills”. See “The problem of the materialist approach to form” in Taylor 2010: 60, and, on the affinities between circus and theatre in the early 1920s. Yurenev 1985: 51, 58–59.

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phenomena with the unconditioned reflexes they produce (through the appropriate methods)” (Taylor 2010: 45). The sources that Eisenstein drew upon for his understanding of reflexology were Vladimir Bekhterev (1857-1927) 6 and Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936). 7 He had recourse to other science in seeking to ensure that the movements of his “model actor” (naturshchik) would achieve the necessary “affect”: the “whole process of the actor’s movement [should be] organized with the aim of facilitating the imitative capacities of the audience” (Taylor 2010: 50). Movements should be

selected “from the versions that are most characteristic of real circumstances”. This selection was not to be made from the standard repertoire for associating gestures with emotions (as in mime); nor was the actor to ‘enter into’ the state of mind of a character (Taylor 2010:

50). 8 Rather, movement should be broken down into its “pseudo- primitive primary component elements for the audience”. These “neutral elements” would then be assembled and coordinated into a temporal schema by the actor and the director. The objective should be to achieve not the superficial imitation of a real action but an “organic representation that emerges through the appropriate mechanical schema and a real achievement of the motor process of the phenomenon being depicted” (Taylor 2010: 50). Such a “montage

(assembly) of movements that are purely organic in themselves

involve the audience to the maximum degree in imitation and,

through the emotional effect of this, in the corresponding ideological

treatment

differ in the mechanics of their realization from other forms of work ”

movement

In 1921, at a time when he was working within the Proletkult, Eisenstein was also attending the “theatrical technical school” of

Vsevolod Meyerhold where lectures on biomechanics were delivered by Nikolay Bernstein, and it seems likely that his interest in the physiology and psychology of human movement originated or further developed at this time (Bulgakowa 2001a: 26; Bulgakowa 2014: 427;

will

We

see that the methods of processing the audience do not

(Taylor 2010: 56.)

6 For Eisenstein’s reference to Bekhterev, see “Montage of Film Attractions”, in Taylor 2010: 49 and for his use of the term ‘reflexology’, “The method of making a workers’ film” (August 1925), in Taylor 2010: 68.

7 Pavlov is mentioned in “Through the Revolution to Art: Through Art to the Revolution” (1933) in Taylor 2010,:243. Here, Eisenstein also mentions the influence of Freud.

8 In 1926 Eisenstein declared that “My artistic principle was, therefore, and still is, not intuitive creativity, but the rational constructive composition of effective elements; the most important thing is that the effect must be calculated and analysed in advance”. Battleship Potemkin “had nothing to do with Stanislavskiy and the [Moscow] Art Theatre”. See the translation of “Sergej Eisenstein uber Sergej Eisenstein – den Potemkin regisseur”, Berliner Tageblatt, 7 June 1926, in Taylor 2010:

75–76.

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Braun 1995: 172–177). In “Montage of film attractions” (1924) he claimed to be making his own contribution in this field: “The norms of

organicism

French and German theoreticians of movements (investigating kinetics

in order to establish motor primitives) and partly by me (kinetics in its application to complex expressive movements and the dynamics of

both)

51). 9 He goes on to mention the work of specialists in pathology (Hermann Nothnagel, 1841–1905); neurology and physiology (Guillaume-Benjamin-Armand Duchenne de Boulogne, 1806–1875); eurythmics (Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, 1865–1950); rhythmic gymnastics (Rudolphe Bode, 1881–1970); hygiene and physical exercize (Ferdinand Hueppe, 1852–1938); and expressive movement (Hermann Krukenberg, 1863–1895; Ludwig Klages, 1872–1956) (Taylor 2010: 52–53). 10 He also mentions Charles Darwin’s The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872), and, in what was in all probability a reference to his studies of 1921, a “collection of essays by the Central Labour Institute in their application to work movement”. 11 Eisenstein’s selective elaboration in the First Workers’ Theatre of the Proletkult of the methods and techniques he had learned in the school of Meyerhold has been well described by Robert Leach (Leach 1994). Here, we shall focus upon what Eisenstein described as being his main purpose in applying scientific and aesthetic techniques on the stage and in film, namely to achieve the desired propaganda effect, or, as one scholar has put it, to “organize the cognition of the spectators” (Tikka 2009: 229). Indeed, we learn from an interview of 1928 that one of the modules of his Teaching and Research Workshop was devoted to “Ideological Expressiveness” – “the problem of the transition of film language from cinema figurativeness to the cinematic materialization of ideas, i.e., with the problems of the direct translation of an ideological thesis into a chain of visual stimulants” (Taylor 2010:

127–129). 12 The film Strike, completed in 1924, Eisenstein’s last year in

for

motor processes have been established partly by

in

my laboratory work in the Proletkult Theatre” (Taylor 2010:

9 On the theoretical and practical work of the First Workers’ Theatre see Leach 1994: 151–161. 10 For a fuller account of Eisenstein’s adaptation of the ideas of these thinkers, see Bulgakowa 2001b: 175–178; and Bulgakowa 2014: 428–429. 11 The Central Labour Institute was headed by Aleksey Kapitonovich Gastev (1882–1939), a former ‘proletarian poet’ and a disciple of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the pioneer of the “scientific organization of labour. In 1921, Bernstein had founded a biomechanics laboratory in the Central Institute of Labour. See Bulgakowa 2001a: 26. According to Edward Braun, the programme of Meyerhold’s ‘theatrical-technical school’ drew upon the ideas of William James, Bekhterev, Pavlov, Taylor and Gastev (Braun 1995: 172–177). 12 The other two modules were devoted to “Human Expressiveness” and “Montage Expressiveness”. For the range of connotations acquired by ‘attraction’

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the Proletkult, provides an insight into the kind of ideological messages that he was seeking to convey at this time.

The ambivalent messages of Strike

There is no ‘programmatic’ Marxism in Strike. The film had originally been conceived as the fifth of a series that would outline the history of the Russian workers’ movement from the first underground printing press to the October Revolution, but the Communist Party had not yet come round to formulating an official version of the history of the revolution. Besides, as Mark D. Steinberg has pointed out, very few writers and artists working within proletarian cultural institutions during the 1920s considered themselves to be Marxists, and not only Marxist instructors taught within the Proletkult (Steinberg 2002: 52, 61). This doctrinal pluralism made possible a

cross-fertilization of Marxist and non-Marxist ideas in the arts and this eclecticism is evident in Strike. 13

A key message of Strike is that workers can prevail against

adversity if they accept the need for ‘organization’ (the film opens with

a lengthy quotation on this subject from Lenin, dated 1907).

Surprisingly, however, in the end, such ‘organization’ as is achieved is not effective, and the strike ends in defeat. The concluding message is not the standard rallying call of Social Democratic and, later, Communist Parties: – “Workers of the world unite!”, but a more sombre exhortation to “remember these things”; not the inevitable triumph of proletarian revolution, but a kind of radical ouvrierisme.

In Strike, rank and file Bolshevik leaders are shown mobilizing

worker activists in ‘circles’, but there is no over-bearing emphasis upon the leading role of the Party. Throughout the film the workers,

whether in the factory, in a family setting, or as a crowd or ‘collective’ are represented as a force capable of moving of its own volition. 14 This representation was consistent with Eisenstein’s view of the importance

of

“mass material in establishing the ideological principle”, as opposed

to

“the individual plot material of bourgeois cinema” 15 and also with

the founding philosophy of the Proletkult, which had originally conceived of itself as the ‘third’ wing of the labour movement, on a par

and ‘montage’ in the later theoretical writings of Eisenstein, see Bulgakowa 2001c:

41 and passim.

13 The relatively open membership policy of the Proletkult and the eclecticism of its activity in the arts are well described in Fitzpatrick 1970 and Mally 1990.

14 Eisenstein described the ideas expressed by him in Strike as “themes of the social mass”. See “Beseda s rezh. S.M. Eyzenshteynom”. Kino-nedalya 1925 (4): 17.

15 See “The problem of the materialist approach to form” (1925) in Taylor 2010:

59–61; and Bulgakowa 2001a: 47–48.

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with the party-political and trade union wings. 16 It is significant that Eisenstein himself never became a party member.

The intellectual and the proletarian

The completion of Strike marked the point where Eisenstein’s conception of revolutionary art could no longer co-exist with the traditionalist approach to theatre and film and the schematic Marxism of the Chairman of the Proletkult, Valeriyan Pletnëv. Differences in their social backgrounds may also have been a source of friction. Whereas Eisenstein was the son of a court councillor and engineer, Pletnëv (born in 1886, he was 12 years older than Eisenstein) had been born into a working class family and had earned his living for 19 years as a carpenter. A member of the RSDRP since 1904, Pletnëv had endured two periods of exile, in the Vologda Governorship and the Lena region of Siberia. He had begun writing in 1918 and by the early 1920s was considered to be a ‘proletarian writer’. 17 A preoccupation of his dramatic works was that of popular uprisings and a Proletkult production The Avenger (Mstitel’), based on Revanche! Episode de la commune by Léon Cladel (Cladel 1878), had been enthusiastically reviewed by Bukharin in Pravda on 16 December 1919. 18 The Paris Commune was also the theme of Flengo (Pletnëv 1922b), his stage adaptation of a story, Flingot (Paris, 1907) of Lucien Alexandre Descaves (1861– 1949). 19 Pletnëv’s principal theatrical work was, however, Lena, a five- act play devoted to the massacre of gold mining workers in Siberia on 4 April 1912. In his introduction to the first edition of 1921, he had called upon “Poets, artists and actors” to take the struggles of the proletariat as their subject matter (Pletnëv 1921b). In 1923, he published a lengthy history of events leading up to the massacre, and included his play as an appendix. 20 Pletnëv’s status as an authority, at

16 On the aspirations of the Proletkult to an independent role in workers’ education, inside Soviet Russia and internationally, see Biggart 2001.

17 His works included Na tikhom plëse (1919), a short story on the life of political exiles; his play Lena (1921); Andreykino Gore (1921) on the everyday life of the proletariat and the life of children before the revolution. In Bolotnye ogni (1921) he provides one of first post-revolutionary portraits of the kulak. See Literaturnaya Entsiklopediya 1934 and Kratkaya Literaturnaya Entsiklopediya 1968: 5.

18 Mstitel’ was published in Ekaterinburg in 1920 and, to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Paris Commune, in Petersburg in 1921. In the edition of 1921 Pletnëv’s name is omitted from the title page and there is an introductory dedication to the Paris Commune by A. Piotrovskiy. On Bukharin’s review, see Fitzpatrick 1970: 147–149.

19 According to a “Repertoire of the Workers’ Theatre of the Proletkult” published in Pletnëv 1921b, it would appear that Flengo had first been published in 1921.

20 Pletnëv 1923. In 103 pages, Pletnëv outlines the history of the gold industry in Russia and of the company Lenskoe zolotopromyshlennoe tovarishchestvo (“Lenzoto”). He includes information on wages, working conditions, technology, the legal and

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least within the Proletkult, in matters relating to strikes, rested also upon his dramatization of a short story by Aleksey Gastev, entitled Strikes (Stachki), the text of which appeared under his own name in two editions in 1921 (Pletnëv 1921c, 1921d) and the following year under that of Gastev (Gastev 1922). In December 1920, Pletnëv had succeeded Pavel Lebedev- Polyanskiy as Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Proletkult, 21 having acquiesced in the policy of the Communist Party that the Proletkult should concern itself with improving the productivity of labour. 22 In November 1921 he was appointed Head of the Arts Section of the State Agency for Political Education, Glavpolitprosvet. (Fitzpatrick 1970: 238–242). By the time, therefore, that Eisenstein began working on Pletnëv’s plays as a set-designer, Pletnëv was already a senior official of the cultural superstructure. It boded ill for Eisenstein that, whereas Lebedev-Polyanskiy had denounced as “demagogy” the idea that intellectuals could not create proletarian culture, 23 Pletnëv was of the opinion that only a proletarian could give adequate expression to the proletarian mentality. 24

material situation of the workers and photographs of the site of the massacre. The following year, a shorter version was published as a supplement to Kurskaya Pravda (Pletnëv 1924a).

21 Lebedev-Polyanskiy had helped found the Proletarian University and had been Secretary of the International Bureau of the Proletkult. He claimed to have been a “dedicated defender of the idea of proletarian culture, proletarian science,

proletarian art, proletarian literature.” See his autobiography in Deyateli

489–491.

22 See the minutes of the Plenum of the Central Committee of 16–20 December 1920 and 15–20 May 1921 in Proletarskaya Kul’tura, 1921 (20/21). Pletnëv’s initial attempt to find a middle way between Bogdanovism and Lenin’s conception of socialism as “the Soviets plus electrification of the countryside” is well illustrated in his article, “Na ideologicheskom fronte”, Pravda, 27 September 1922.

23 Proceedings of the Second Conference of the Moscow Proletkult (March 1919), RGALI, f.1230, l. 140. A year earlier, Lebedev-Polyanskiy had expressed the more nuanced view that socialist intellectuals could be “temporary helpers”, but the cultural influence they brought to bear should be carefully scrutinized. In the final analysis, only the proletariat could “resolve” (razreshit’) the question of proletarian

culture”. See his speech of 16 September 1918, in Protokoly Pervoy Vserossiyskoy Konferentsii Proletarskikh kul’turno-prosvetitel’nykh organizatsii 15–20 sentyabria 1918.g. Moscow: 1918. On the relationship between workers and intellectuals in the Proletkult, see Mally 1990: 115–121.

24 In 1922 he wrote that the class consciousness of the proletariat was “alien to the peasant, the bourgeois, the intellectual (intelligent) – the doctor, lawyer, engineer –

who were reared in the spirit of capitalist competition

ideologicheskom fronte” in V.I. Lenin o literature i iskusstve 1967: 460.

1989:

” See Pletnëv, “Na

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The “reactionary tendency”

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In March 1921, in the Second Central Studio of the Proletkult, 25 Eisenstein and Leonid Nikitin had designed the sets and costumes for Valentin Smyshlyaev’s production of The Mexican, a play based on a story by Jack London. 26 The two subsequently designed sets and costumes for a production by Smyshlyaev and Vasiliy Ignatov of Pletnëv’s Lena, which had its première in October 1921. 27 However, the incompatibility of Eisenstein’s vision with that of his Proletkult seniors soon became apparent: his stage effects for a production by Smyshlyaev of Pletnëv’s On the Abyss (Nad obryvom) were rejected by Pletnëv (Yurenev 1985: 49). 28 Eisenstein and Smyshlyaev “had a complete disagreement in principle that led to a split and subsequently to our working separately” (Taylor 2010: 33). 29 Following the première in April 1923 in the First Workers’ Theatre of The Wise Man (Eisenstein’s debut as a director and the first implementation on stage of his ‘theory of attractions’), 30 Eisenstein and Pletnëv planned a production of the latter’s detective play, Patatras, but preparations ground to a halt (Bulgakowa 2001a: 39). 31 By this time, Eisenstein and the neo-Futurist playwright and critic, Sergey Tret’yakov, saw themselves as the principal source of theatrical innovation in the Proletkult. After The Wise Man, Eisenstein in November 1923 directed Tret’yakov’s Are You Listening Moscow? (Slyshish’, Moskva?) and then, in February 1924, Tret’yakov’s Gas Masks (Protovogazy). But “the group came under unrelenting attack from Bolshevik critics and less adventurous artists alike” (Leach 1994: 151).

25 On the network of Proletkult theatre studios, 1920–1923, see Leach 1994: 71.

26 According to both Yurenev and Leach, whilst Smyshlyaev was formally the director of The Mexican, Eisenstein was “the true begetter” and directed the play when it was revived in August 1923. The posters for the play in 1921 attributed it to “Smyshlyaev, Arvatov and Eisenstein”. For photographs of the stage and costume designs of Eisenstein and Nikitin, see Yurenev 1985: 44–45, 47; and Leach 1994: 72, 74–75. See also Bulgakowa 2001a: 21–23.

27 The production of Lena in 1921 was the work of both Ignatov and Smyshlyaev. Eisenstein assisted Leonid Nikitin with the set designs. See Nikitina 1996 which has an introduction and commentary by Andrei L. Nikitin, the son of Leonid Nikitin. For a photograph of one scene, see Leach 1994: 78–81.

28 Yurenev reproduces one of Eisenstein’s graphics for this play. See also Leach 1994: 162 & 199; and Bulgakowa 2001a: 31.

29 Smyshlyaev had been a pupil of Konstantin Stanislavskiy in the Moscow Arts Theatre. See Yurenev 1985: 42; and Bulgakowa 2001a: 31. 30 On this adaptation by Sergey Tret’yakov of Aleksandr Ostrovskiy’s Enough stupidity for every wise man (Na vsyakogo mudretsa dovol’no prostoty), see Yurenev 1985:

62–67; Leach 1994: 142–150, with a photograph of one scene on page 148; and Bulgakowa 2001a: 36–38.

31 According to a report in Gorn 1923 (9), Eisenstein and Pletnëv were at his time collaborating in the production of a three-act detective play and over a play entitled Naslednik Garlanda, but it is not known whether the latter was ever performed or even written. See Yurenev 1985: 68.

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In “Montage of attractions” (1923), Eisenstein attributed these difficulties to differing understandings of what constituted revolutionary theatre: there had been a reactionary tendency within the Proletkult – “The figurative-narrative theatre (static, domestic – the right wing: The Dawns of Proletkult, 32 Lena, and a series of unfinished productions of a similar type. It was the line taken by the former Workers’ Theatre of the Proletkult Central Committee.” (Taylor 2010:

33). In 1926, he provided further detail: “In 1922 I became the sole director of the First Workers’ Theatre and I got involved in the most violent differences of opinion with the leaders of the Proletkult. The Proletkult people shared Lunacharskiy’s view: they favoured making use of the old traditions and were not afraid of compromise when it came to the question of the relevance of the pre-revolutionary arts. 33 I was one of the most uncompromising champions of LEF, the left front, which wanted a new art that corresponded to the new social relationships. All the younger generation and all the innovators were on our side at that time, including Meyerhold and Mayakovskiy; ranged against us were Stanislavskiy, the traditionalist, and Tairov, 34 the opportunist” (Taylor 2010: 74). In 1924, in his unpublished ‘Montage of film attractions’, without naming either Lunacharskiy or Pletnëv, Eisenstein made no effort to conceal his contempt for their conception of theatre and in particular for Pletnëv’s commitment to a linear-thematic script. It was the merit of ‘montage’ that it “liberated film from the plot-based script” (Taylor 2010: 40–41). A script, “whether plot-based or not”, should be “a prescription (or list) of montage sequences”. The approach of “our scriptwriters” to the construction of a script was “utterly feeble”, and this task should fall entirely to the director (Taylor 2010: 46).

The anti-Proletkult campaign

Not only artistic, but also party-political factors were involved in Eisenstein’s departure from the Proletkult. By 1924, both Pletnëv and the Proletkult were coming under increasing pressure from the

32 The Dawns of the Proletkult, an anthology by Vasiliy Ignatov of the verse of several proletarian poets and adapted for the stage by Smyshlyaev, was performed in the Central Arena of the Proletkult in 1920. One of Eisenstein’s first tasks in the Proletkult was to assist Leonid Nikitin with the visual effects. See Yurenev 1985:

42, 44; and Leach 1994: 76–77.

33 On Lunacharskiy’s conservative policies regarding the theatre and Platon Kerzhentsev’s ‘leftist’ critique of Lunacharskiy’s plays, see Fitzpatrick 1970: 139–

161.

34 Aleksandr Tairov was the founder and producer-director of the Kamernyy Theater, “famous for its highly stylized productions of exotic decadent plays and multi-level decorative scenery” (Bulgakowa 2001a: 283).

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Agitprop Department of the Central Committee of the RK (b) and this may help to explain why Pletnëv felt he could no longer take the risk of harbouring within the Proletkult such a maverick as Eisenstein. In September 1922, Pletnëv had felt able, in an article in Pravda entitled “On the ideological front”, publicly to defend the mission of the Proletkult to develop proletarian culture. 35 However, one month later he had been subjected to a humiliating rebuff by Yakov Yakovlev, the Deputy Head of Agitprop, in an article that had been prepared in consultation with Lenin and which coincided with the anniversary of the October Revolution. 36 In one section of this article, ‘On Proletkult theatre’, Yakovlev had articulated what was, in fact, Lenin’s position, namely that during a period of transition it was more important to assimilate the achievements of bourgeois culture than to attempt “artificially” to create a proletarian culture. 37 Yakovlev had apparently attended performances of The Mexican and of Lena. The representation of the revolution in The Mexican, he complained, in no way corresponded to the Russian worker’s experience of class struggle. The production was “dynamic and entertaining” enough, but an American audience would struggle to find anything “proletarian” in it. 38 Lena had some revolutionary content, but the first act was spoiled by quasi-Futuristic effects, and there was “a transition to somewhat hackneyed crowd scenes in the style of the Bolshoy Theatre”. Representation of the proletarian masses was deficient – “five actors emitting a friendly ‘u-u-u’ in unison will never transform a crowd into the hero of the action.” 39 Yakovlev was unhappy that the Proletkult repertoire included a number of “individualistic”, “counter- revolutionary”, foreign plays that had come to Russia after the Revolution of 1905, notably Flengo 40 and The Avenger. Audiences who

35 See Pletnëv, “Na ideologicheskom fronte”, Pravda, 27 September 1922.

36 Yakovlev, “O ‘proletarskoi kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”, Pravda, 24 & 25 October 1922, The discussions between Lenin and Yakovlev are described in V.I. Lenin o literature i iskusstve 1967 and in Gorbunov 1974: 192–193.

37 For Lenin’s sarcastic annotation of the article by Pletnëv, see V.I. Lenin o literature i iskusstve 1967, 457–466.

38 Yakovlev, “O ‘proletarskoi kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”, Pravda, 24 & 25 October 1922, in Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925: 39.

39 Yakovlev, “O ‘proletarskoi kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”, Pravda, 24 & 25 October 1922, in Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925: 39–40. Pletnëv had earlier hailed the 1921 production of his own play as being, “for all its weakness…the first shaft of light of a proletarian theatre”. See ‘Na ideologicheskom fronte’, Pravda, 27 September 1922, in V.I. Lenin o literature i iskusstve 1967: 465.

40 Judging by Yakovlev’s article, Flengo must have been performed before 24–25 October of 1922. For a résumé of the plot and a photograph of the production of Flengo by Vladimir Tatarinov, see Leach 1994: 78–79. On 1 February 1925 Flengo was performed in the Bolshoy Theatre as a “musical dramatization of an episode of the time of the Paris Commune”, with music by Vladimir Tsybin and a libretto by “V.Pletnëv and Tyshko”. See http://www.bilet-bolshoy.ru/old- repertoire/flengo

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needed representations of the proletariat, were instead being served up with the fine flowers of decadent art and an imitation of Futurism. No matter how many carpenters and stage-hands (montëry) laboured on these agit-plays (agitki) they would never be transformed into “artistic productions”. 41 However, Yakovlev’s target was not so much the Proletkult’s conception of theatre but its conviction that a proletarian

culture could be constructed: the Proletkult, in its theses “On the tasks of the proletariat in physical culture”, had proclaimed that “the new physical culture of the proletariat consists of the psycho-physiological education of the qualified individual.” This ignored the fact that the bourgeoisie was already organizing sport for the masses, and organizations like Sokol were inculcating nationalist ideas into the younger generation, using the very same methods that the Proletkult considered to be essentially “proletarian”. 42 By contrast, on 12 June 1922, Meyerhold (a “representative of the left-Futurist persuasion”), had delivered a lecture in the Concert Hall (Malyy Zal) of the Conservatoire on the subject of “The actor of the future”. Meyerhold had argued that “Physical training (fizkul’tura) acrobatics, dance,

were useful subjects, and would bring

rhythmics, boxing, fencing

benefit if they were taught in conjunction with ‘biomechanics’ – an essential subject for every actor.” Meyerhold, had done much to bring the theatre into line with the “crazy tempo” of modern life; and he had not been so foolish as to employ the term “proletarian culture”. Yakovlev’s diatribe was not aimed solely at Pletnëv; indirectly it was aimed at Aleksandr Bogdanov and at one of the leading theorists of the Communist Party, Nikolay Bukharin, who had in some respects been influenced by him. 43 Notwithstanding the fact that in December 1920 Bogdanov had stepped down from his leading role in the Proletkult, and by November 1921 had completely withdrawn from the institution, Lenin had come to the conclusion that, as in the past, Bogdanov was a political, as well as an intellectual threat. 44 On 4

41 Yakovlev, “O ‘proletarskoi kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”, Pravda, 24 & 25 October 1922, in Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925: 40.

42 Yakovlev, “O ‘proletarskoi kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”, Pravda, 24 & 25 October 1922, in Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925, 42–43. Yakovlev quotes Meyerhold from the journal Ermitazh (6): 41.

43 Bukharin, whose ideas on culture owed something to Bogdanov, asserted at a conference convened by the Central Committee in February 1925, that Lenin, through the article of Yakovlev, had been criticizing not only the Proletkult but also himself. See Bukharin 1925 (4): 265; and Biggart 1992: 131–158.

44 Bogdanov was not re-elected to the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Proletkult in December 1920, but remained a member of the Central Committee. See the minutes of the Central Committee of the Proletkult and of its Presidium for the period December 1920 to May 1920 in RGALI, f.1230 and in Proletarskaia kul’tura 1921 (20/21): 32–37. In an autobiographical sketch of 1925 Bogdanov wrote that “In the autumn of 1921 my work in the Proletkult came to an end and I

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January 1923, in an article, entitled “Menshevism in Proletkult attire”, Yakovlev returned to the attack and denounced Bogdanov’s views as being inherently oppositional and conducive to the formation of a new political “group or party”; the Proletkult was merely a first step in this direction. 45 Then, some time before August 1923, an anthology was published, Against A. Bogdanov, 46 which contained works not only by Lenin but also by G.V. Plekhanov, whose understanding of Marx had since the turn of the century been the butt of Bogdanov’s criticism. Finally, the suspicion that Bogdanov had encouraged the formation of the oppositional Workers’ Truth group led to his detention, between 8 September and 13 October 1923, by the GPU. 47 Given that the public campaign against Bogdanov coincided with Eisenstein’s period of activity within the Proletkult, and given the closeness of Eisenstein’s working relationship with Pletnëv, Eisenstein could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that Bogdanov was now an outcast. 48 This seems to be the most likely explanation for the absence of any mention of Bogdanov in Eisenstein’s works of this period and of later years. 49 Pletnëv, for his part, had by May 1924 fallen completely into line with the policy of Agitprop and was calling for “not several, but a single revolutionary Marxist criticism”. 50 In the same year he went out of his way publicly to dissociate himself from “Bogdanovism”. 51

devoted myself exclusively to scientific work.”. See Bogdanov, A.A. (Malinovskiy) 1995: 19 and 60, fn.20.

45 Yakovlev, “Men’shevizm v Proletkul’tovskoy odezhde”, Pravda 4 January 1923.

46 V. I. Lenin & G. V. Plekhanov 1923.

47 This episode is dealt with in Biggart 1990 (3): 265–282.

48 Not all leading party officials ostracized Bogdanov. He continued to be highly regarded by Bukharin, Krasin and others. In December 1925, the Commissar for Health, Nikolay Semashko, supported the founding of Bogdanov’s Institute for Blood Transfusion. Stalin was well disposed towards Bogdanov during his lifetime.

49 Lenin’s anathematization of Bogdanov was taken up by Stalin after Bogdanov’s death in 1928, which is doubtless one explanation why, even in his memoirs of 1946, Eisenstein makes no mention of Bogdanov.

50 “ne raznaya, a odinakovaya revoyiutsionnaya Marksistskaya kritika”. See the contribution of Pletnëv to a conference convened by the Press Department of the Central Committee of the RKP(b) on 9 May 1924 and chaired by Yakovlev, in K voprosu o politike RKP(b) v khudozhestvennoy literature 1924: 48. In the introduction to this volume, Yakovlev notes that it had originally been intended to hold the conference “a year earlier”.

51 Pletnëv now claimed that whereas he, Pletnëv, was engaged in “practical work”, Bogdanov was an abstract theorist. Bogdanov’s theory that proletarian culture was “socialist culture in the process of development” was identical to that of Trotskiy (Pletnëv 1924b: 37).

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Eisenstein’s departure from the Proletkult

Relations between Eisenstein and Pletnëv approached their nadir when, in mid-November 1924, Eisenstein refused to participate in that part of the planned programme of the Workers’ Theatre that included two plays by Pletnëv. His departure from the Proletkult soon followed. In January 1925 he gave his reasons in separate interviews published in Novyy zritel’ and Kino-nedelya, shortly after Strike had been completed and while the film was awaiting approval by the censor. He had turned his back on Pletnëv’s plays “because of their formal and theatrical qualities” (Eisenstein 1925b: 22). In Eisenstein’s vocabulary “theatrical” was, of course, a term of contempt, but his criticism of the Proletkult ranged more widely: in Novyy zritel’ in 1925 he deplored the absence of any direction (formal or in terms of content) in the repertoire of the Proletkult theatre. The repertoire had been constructed in haphazard fashion and since The Wise Man, only the two plays of Tret’yakov had conveyed any consistent political message. In the forthcoming repertoire there was not a single play with any clear line. Priority was being given to performances for the urban districts, for which the Proletkult theatre was not suited: during his four years with the Workers’ Theatre its policy had been to concentrate on practical exercises for the actors, putting on shows (spektakli) and on working out formats for agit-bouffe and agit-guignol, so that this experience could in due course be passed on to the districts and the provinces. He complained of “harassment” (gonenie) that had begun as early as his staging of The Wise Man, which had been removed from the repertoire after the general rehearsal in 1922 and then re-instated. In the current season, interference had assumed unacceptable forms: the Artistic Council of the Theatre, without informing him, had removed a number of “tricks” from The Wise Man and introduced verbal components of their own. A number of elements had been removed from the last “fight” scene in Are you listening Moscow? Grigoriy Roshal, whose approach to theatre was diametrically opposed to his own, had been brought in. Arbitrary appointments of this nature made it impossible to create a theatre with its own identity. In general, the Proletkult had adopted the role of a ‘censor’: ninety percent of its concerns were with ideological conformity and the fidelity of a production to the details of everyday life. Its approach to both theatre and film was one of “petty-bourgeois realism” (Eisenstein 1925c: 13–14). In Kino-nedelya in 1925 Eisenstein outlined the circumstances of his departure from the Proletkult during the first week of December 1924. The occasion had been the “failure of the Proletkult Executive

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Bureau to recognize my rights as co-author of the script of Strike”. However, there had been a more deep-seated struggle between his own, revolutionary, conception of the theatre and that of the Proletkult leadership: “over the past year my work could not conform with the manifestly reactionary direction (theatrically, formally) taken by the ruling circles of the Proletkult, from the moment that influence passed to people who had always opposed my approach and who stubbornly defended the ‘rightist’ point of view in the theatre… The subsequent direction of work in the Proletkult marked a complete break with the ‘left front’ and, therefore, a strengthening of the position of our enemies in the theatre” (Eisenstein 1925a: 17). Two issues later, in the same journal, Pletnëv dismissed Eisenstein’s claim to represent the cultural avant-garde: Eisenstein possessed only a “formally revolutionary tendency”, that amounted to mere “leftism”. This tendency “manifested itself in a striving for superfluous, self- directed formalism and gimmickry in working out the director’s plan for the film; and in the introduction into the plan of a number of incidents of dubious Freudian purport” (Pletnëv 1925: 9).

Eisenstein, Marxism and ‘Bogdanovism’

Varieties of organization theory

In 1933, Eisenstein wrote that his “personal research and creative work” had from the outset been accompanied by a “study of the founders of Marxism” (Taylor 2010: 244), but in his writings of the 1920s there are only passing and, it sometimes seems, dutiful references to ‘materialism’, ‘collectivism’, ‘organization’ and the ‘dialectic’. Neither in his memoirs, nor in any of his theoretical works, does he give any indication that he was influenced by Bogdanov. 52 Can we nevertheless discern conceptual affinities between the two? Charlotte Douglas has noted that the revolutions of 1917 made possible a wide dissemination of Bogdanov’s ideas within the literary and artistic community: the head of the Petrograd Visual Arts Section of the Commissariat for Education, Nikolay Punin, in lectures read to teachers in 1919 “followed Bogdanov’s ideas and terminology closely.” Artists such as Lyubov Popova (an associate of Eisenstein) and Solomon Nikritin, employed the language of ‘organization’. According to Douglas “the organizational order and high level of abstraction in Bogdanov’s Tektologiya lent scientific authority to the artistic structures of constructivism and projectionism”, and there was a “common

52 Sergey Mikhailovich Eisenstein (1898–1948) wrote his memoirs in 1946. The complete text was published in Russia only in 1997.

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conceptual basis”, even if this “did not result in an identifiable style of abstraction” (Douglas 2002: 81–82, 92). Mikhail Yampolskiy, citing V. Zabrodin, has referred to a debate in the Proletkult during which Eisenstein called for a struggle for “1) the organized society…2) the organized human being”, and has detected “behind these formulae…the Proletkultist-Bogdanovist ‘Tektology’, the science of organization” (Yampolskiy 2005). 53 However, whilst Tektology might well have influenced Eisenstein’s thinking, ideas on organization during his Proletkult years could just as well have come from other sources. The theatre critic, Platon Kerzhentsev, who spoke at the First Conference of the Proletkult in September 1918 and became a member of the editorial board of Proletarskaya kul’tura, had written a book on organization and was one of the founders of the journal The Time League (Liga Vremeni – Liga NOT). Kerzhentsev was a fierce critic of Bogdanov’s organization theory. 54 Such prominent leaders as Lenin, Trotskiy and Krasin were all, at this time, advocates of the “scientific organization of labour”. 55 Krasin had always been close to Bogdanov, but Lenin and Trotskiy can hardly be described as his disciples.

Art as cognition and art as propaganda

Did Bogdanov’s theory of the social function of art influence Eisenstein’s ‘theory of attractions’? For Eisenstein, “the theatre’s basic material derives from the audience: the moulding of the audience in a ”

desired direction (or mood)

the function of art was both cognitive and educational: “firstly, to organize a particular sum of the elements of life, of ‘experience’; and, secondly, to ensure that what is created serves as an instrument for a particular collective”. 56 The difference is that, for Bogdanov, cognition was one of the interactive processes of social selection, whereas

(Taylor 2010: 33–36) .For Bogdanov,

53 Yampolskiy is mistaken in identifying the Proletkult exclusively with Bogdanov and both with iconoclasm. See Yampolskiy 2005: 49.

54 Kerzhentsev’s Printsipy organizatsii (1918), ran to four editions. His Tvorcheskiy teatr (1918), reached its fifth edition in 1923. In Pravda for 14 April 1923 he criticized Bogdanov’s Tektologiya as “reactionary”. See “O kritikakh ‘Tektologii” (1925), in

Bogdanov 1996: 308–315. For Kerzhentsev’s autobiography, see Deyateli

55 See E.B. Koritskiy, “Pervye stranitsy NOT”, in U istokov NOT 1990. Two surveys by Sergey Chakhotin on Western experience of organization science had been published in Russia in 1924. His bibliography on the subject was published under the auspices of the People’s Commissariat of the Workers’-Peasants’ Inspectorate (Rabkrin), which had been given responsibility for the “rationalization” of state institutions (Chakhotin 1924a; Chakhotin 1924b).

56 “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve’”(1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 150.

1989.

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Eisenstein at this time viewed art as an instrument of agitation and propaganda, consciously applied, one might almost say ‘from above’. 57

Organizational aesthetics

In the case of one writer who was close to Eisenstein, there is a more evident affinity with the ideas of Bogdanov. The critic Boris Arvatov, who for some time worked as an ‘academic secretary’ in the Proletkult and who had collaborated in the production of The Mexican and in designing the programme of the directing workshop of the

Proletkult, contributed articles on the culture of everyday life to both LEF and Proletkult journals. 58 The use of objects to convey social meaning in certain episodes of Strike might well reflect the influence of Arvatov. 59 Furthermore, for Arvatov, the artist in socialist society was essentially a designer whose works would acquire meaning only when

“subordinated to the production process

conscious and free will: integralness and organization are the premises of industrial art; purposefulness is its law” (Arvatov 1922 in Bowlt 1991: 229–230). Art was to be regarded as “simply the most efficacious organization in any field of human activity” (Arvatov 1926: 88–89). Here we are close to Bogdanov’s contention that “all of the usual human evaluations that take the form of such concepts as goodness, beauty and truth, that is, moral, aesthetic and cognitive evaluations are organizational evaluations (Bogdanov 1922: 516; Biggart 2016). Arguably, Eisenstein was enunciating a similar theory in 1924, when he wrote that, just as the movements of animals, structured in strict accordance with organic laws and unaffected by the “rational principle” were photogenic, and just as the labour processes of workers which flowed in accordance with these laws had been shown to be photogenic, so a successful realization by the actor and director of a montage (assembly) of movements that were purely organic in themselves would be the most photogenic, “in so far as one can define ‘photogenic’ by paraphrasing Schopenhauer’s good old definition of the ‘beautiful’.” In this example Eisenstein’s “level of organization” is the degree of approximation of the actor and director to organic movement. He goes on to express his appreciation of the uniforms of the Japanese General Staff, and of working clothes (e.g., a diving suit), as “functional forms” that can be considered “photogenic” (Taylor

to the collective’s socially

57 See, for example, “The method of making a workers’ film” (1925), in Taylor 2010: 65–66.

58 On Arvatov, see Lodder 1983: 239; Zalambani 1999; and Bulgakowa 2001a.

59 See Arvatov 1925; Kiaer 1997: 105–118; and Albera 1990: 179–184. From materials in the Bogdanov Family Archive we know that Arvatov borrowed books on scientific subjects from Bogdanov.

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2010: 56–57). Here, as with Arvatov, we have a functionalist aesthetic that is cognate with, if not identical to, Bogdanov’s “whatever raises

in perceptions of the world

the level of organization of collective life

(mirovospriyatiya) is deemed to be beautiful” (Bogdanov 1922, 516;

Biggart 2016).

After the Proletkult

In an interview of 1926, Eisenstein denied that there had been any conflict in his relations with his fellow-workers in the Proletkult:

“At that time, these workers were in complete agreement with my artistic views and requirements, although I really belonged to another class and had come to the same point of view only through purely theoretical analysis.” His exasperation had been with the artistic conservatism of the Proletkult leadership (Taylor 2010: 74). In a diary entry for 24 February 1927 Eisenstein made it clear that by November 1924 he had had enough of what he disparagingly refers to as “theatre”: ‘I did not want to do theatre in the Proletkult; I wanted to design new templates to solve experimental problems—Agit-revues (The Wise Man) or political agit-plays (Are you listening, Moscow?) to be staged throughout the entire network of provincial Proletkults. The Proletkult wanted to use our laboratory retorts to cook jam – to make theatre (out of the plays of Pletnëv!) and professional theatre at that! This was one of the biggest differences between us” (Yurenev 1985:

99).

Eisenstein’s career was not damaged by his departure from the Proletkult; if anything, the contrary. In January 1925 he declared that he was not prepared to cooperate with the Proletkult in the next seven parts of the film series on the ‘Dictatorship’, which had been contracted to the Proletkult, (Eisenstein 1925c). But that same month the Commissar for Enlightenment and cultural ‘conservative’, Anatoly Lunacharskiy, invited him to make a film celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the revolution of 1905 under the direct auspices of Goskino, an invitation which he accepted (Yurenev 1985: 106–109; Bulgakowa 2001a: 56). Although both Eisenstein and Pletnëv were appointed to the committee that was to oversee the project, it is evident that they could not have worked together in the making of the film. 60 Eisenstein had by this time found a new patron in Kirill Ivanovich Shutko, who had acted as his adviser at the request of Goskino during the making of Strike, and who had acquired

60 Other members of the committee were Malevich, Meyerhold, Pletnëv, Shutko, Krasin and the First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee of the RKP (b), Vasiliy Mikhaylov. See Yurenev 1985: 106–109.

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responsibility for cinema in the same Agitprop Department of the Central Committee that had excoriated Pletnëv. Eisenstein and N.F. Agadzhanova-Shutko were appointed as authors of the script. 61 His reputation enhanced by the success of Strike, Eisenstein was now able to embark upon a new stage in his career and upon new explorations in theory.

References

Albera, François. 1990. Eisenstein et le constructivisme russe. Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme. Arvatov, Boris. 1922. “The proletariat and leftist art”, translation of “Proletariat i levoe iskusstvo”. Vestnik iskusstv 1922 (1), in Bowlt, John E. (Ed.) 1991: 229–

230.

----------- 1925. “Byt i kul’tura veshchei”. Edited and translated from Al’manakh Proletkul’ta, by Christina Kiaer. October (81): 119–128. ----------- 1926. Iskusstvo i proizvodstvo. Moscow: Proletkul’t. Biggart, John. 1990. “Alexander Bogdanov and the theory of a new class”. Russian Review (3): 265–282. ----------- 1992. “Bukharin’s Theory of Cultural Revolution”, in Anthony Kemp- Welch (Ed.), The Ideas of Nikolai Bukharin. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 131–158. ----------- 2001. “Bogdanov i Kul’tintern”, Vestnik Mezhdunarodnogo Instituta A. Bogdanova (3): 76-87. ----------- 2016. “Bogdanov’s Sociology of the Arts”. In Culture as Organization in Early Soviet Thought. Helsinki: Aalto University. Bogdanov, A. 1922. Tektologiya. Vseobshchaya organizatsionnaya nauka. Petersburg, Moscow, Berlin: Grzhebin. ----------- 1924/1925. O proletarskoy kul’ture 1904-1924. Leningrad-Moscow: Kniga. ----------- 1925. “O kritikakh ‘Tektologii”, Appendix to the third edition of

Vseobshchaya organizationonnaya Nauka - Tektologiya. I. Moscow & Leningrad:

Kniga. ----------- 1995. Stat’i, doklady, pis’ma i vospominaniya 1901-1928. In Neizvestnyy Bogdanov, Kniga 1, edited by N.S.Antonova & N.V.Drozdova. Moscow: ITs “AIRO - XX”. -----------. 1996. Bogdanov’s Tektology, Book 1. Edited and translated by Peter Dudley, Vadim N. Sadovsky and Vladimir V. Kelle, Hull: University of Hull (Centre for Systems Studies). Bowlt, John E. (Ed.) 1991. Russian Art of the Avant Garde. Theory and Criticism. London:

Thames and Hudson. Braun, Edward. 1995. Meyerhold: A Revolution in Theatre. London: Methuen. Bukharin, Nikolay Ivanovich. 1925. “Proletariat i voprosy khudozhestvennoy politiki”, Krasnaya nov’, Nr.4. Bulgakowa, Oksana. 2001a. Sergei Eisenstein. A Biography. Berlin, San Francisco:

Potemkin Press. ----------- 2001b. “La conférence berlinoise d”Eisenstein: entre la psychanalyse et la gestalt-psychologie”, in: Chateau, Dominique, François Jost, Martin Lefebvre (Eds.), Eisenstein: l’ancien et le nouveau, Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 171-

183.

61 On this episode see Bulgkowa 2001a: 53, 56.

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----------- 2001c. “The Evolving Eisenstein. Three Theoretical Constructs of Sergei Eisenstein”. In Eisenstein at 100. A reconsideration, edited by Al Lavalley and Barry P. Scherr. New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 389–451. ----------- 2014. “From expressive movement to the ‘basic problem’: the Vygotsky- Luria-Eisensteinian theory of art”. In The Cambridge Handbook of Cultural- Historical Psychology, edited by Anton Iasnitskii and René van der Veer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 423–448. Chakhotin, Sergey Stepanovich. 1924a. Evropeiskaya literatura po NOT. Moscow:

NRKKI. ----------- 1924b. Organizatsiya. Printsipy, metody v proizvodstve, torgovle, administratsii i politike. Moscow-Petrograd: Gos.izdat. Cladel, Léon. 1878. Revanche! Episode de la commune, in Mon ami le sergent de ville; Nazi; Revanche! (Episode de la commune). Brussels: H. Kistemaeckers. Descaves, Lucien Alexandre. 1907. Flingot. Paris: A. Romagnol. Deyateli SSSR i revoliutsionnogo dvizheniya Rossii 1989. Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya. Douglas, Charlotte 2002. “Energetic abstractionism: Ostwald, Bogdanov, and Russian post-revolutionary art”. From Energy to Information. Representation in Science and Technology, Art, and Literature, edited by Bruce Clarke and Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Eisenstein, S.M. 1925a. “Beseda s rezh. S.M.Eyzenshteynom”. Kino-nedelya (4): 17. ----------- 1925b. “Pis’mo v redaktsiiu”. Kino-nedelya (10): 22. ----------- 1925c. “S.Eyzenshteyn i Proletkul’t (Beseda s S.M.Eyzenshteynom)”. Novyy zritel’ (4), 27 January: 13–14. ----------- 1997. Memuary, I. Moscow: Redaktsiya gazety “Trud”. Muzey Kino. Fitzpatrick, Sheila. 1970. The Commissariat of Enlightenment. Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts under Lunacharsky. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Gastev, A. 1922. Stachka. Instsenirovka V.F.Pletnëva. Moscow: Izdanie Mosk.Kom. RKSM. Gorbunov, V.V. 1974. V.I.Lenin i Proletkul’t. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Politicheskoy Literatury. Yakovlev, Ya. 1922. “O ‘proletarskoy kul’ture’ i Proletkul’te”. Pravda, 24 & 25 October and in Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925, 21–45. -----------. 1923. “Men’shevizm v Proletkul’tovskoy odezhde”, Pravda 4 January . Yampolskiy, Mikhail. 2009. “Ot Proletkul’ta k Platonu. Eizenshtein i proekt smyslovoy samoorganizatsii zhizni”. Kinovedcheskie zapiski, Nr. 89.

www.kinozapiski.ru/no/sendvalues/960.

Yurenev, R.N. 1985. Sergey Eizenshteyn: Zamysly. Filmy. Metod. 1, 1898–1929. Moscow:

Iskusstvo. K voprosu o politike RKP (b) v khudozhestvennoy literature, 1924. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo “Krasnaya nov’”. Glavpolitprosvet. Kerzhentsev, P.M. 1922. Printsipy organizatsii. Petrograd: Gos.izdat. ----------- 1923. Tvorcheskiy teatr. 5 th edition, Moscow - Petrograd: Gos.izdat. Kiaer, Christina. 1997. “Arvatov’s Socialist Objects”, October (81), 105–118. Kratkaya Literaturnaya Entsiklopediya 1968. 5, Moscow: Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya Leach, Robert. 1994. Revolutionary Theatre. London and New York: Taylor & Francis Lenin, V.I & G. V. Plekhanov. 1923. Protiv A. Bogdanova. Moscow: Krasnaya nov’ Leyda, Jay (Ed.) 1968. Film Essays with a Lecture. Sergei Eisenstein. London: Dobson. Literaturnaya Entsiklopediya 1934. VII, Moscow: Kommunisticheskaya Akademiya.

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Lodder, Christina. 1983. Russian Constructivism. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Mally, Lynn. 1990. Culture of the Future. The Proletkult Movement in Revolutionary Russia. Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press. Nikitina, V.R. 1996. Dom oknami na zakat: Vospominaniya. Moscow: Intergraf Servis Pletnëv, V.F. 1920. Mstitel’. Instsenirovka po rasskazu Kladelya v odnom deystvii. Ekaterinburg: Gos.izdat. ----------- 1921a. Mstitel’ Leona Kladelya (Pamyati Parizhsoyi Kommuny 1871-1921). Peterburg: Petropolitprosvet. ----------- 1921b. Lena. Proletarskaya drama v 5-ti deystviyakh. Rostov on Don: Gos.izdat., Donskoe otdelenie. ----------- 1921c. Stachki. Instsenirovka po rasskazu Gasteva. Moscow: Moskovskii Proletkul’t. ----------- 1921d. Stachki. P’esa v 1 deystvii. Ekaterinburg: Gos.izdat. ----------- 1922a. “Na ideologicheskom fronte”. Pravda, 27 September, in V.I. Lenin o literature i iskusstve, 3 rd edition. 1967, 457-466. ----------- 1922b. Flengo. Dramaticheskiy epizod v 2-kh deystviyakh po rasskazu Lyus’ena Dekav. Moscow: Biblioteka Vserossiisk. Proletkul’ta. ----------- 1923. Lena. Ocherk istorii Lenskikh sobytii (s prilozheniem). Moscow: Vserossiiskiy Proletkul’t. ----------- 1924a. Lena. (4 aprelya 1912). Kursk: Supplement to Kurskaya Pravda. ----------- 1924b. Prav li t. Trotskiy? - Rechi o proletarskoy kul’ture. Moscow: Vserossiiskiy Proletkul’t. ----------- 1925. “Otkrytoe pis’mo v redaktsiyu zhurnala “Kino-nedelya”, Kino-nedelya, (6): 9. Protokoly Pervoi Vserossiyskoy Konferentsii Proletarskikh kul’turno-prosvetitel”nykh organizatsii 15- 20 sentyabrya 1918.g. 1918. Moscow: Izd. Proletkul’ta. Steinberg, Mark D. 2002. Proletarian Imagination. Self, Modernity, and the Sacred in Russia, 1910–1925. Ithica and London: Cornell University Press. Taylor, Richard (Editor) & William Powell (Translator) 1995. Beyond the stars. The Memoirs of Sergei Eisenstein. London and Calcutta: BFI Publishing. Taylor, Richard (Editor and Translator), 2010. Sergei Eisenstein. Selected Works, Vol.1, Writings 1922–1934. London & New York: I.B.Tauris, Ltd. Tikka, Pia 2009. “Tracing Tectology in Sergei Eisenstein’s Holistic Thinking”, in Oittinen, Vesa ed., Aleksandr Bogdanov Revisited, Helsinki: Aleksanteri Series, Nr.1, 211–234. U istokov NOT - Zabytye diskussii i nerealizovannye idei 1990. Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo Leningradskogo Universiteta. V.I.Lenin o literature i iskusstve 1967. Moscow: 3 rd edition, Izdatel’stvo Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata. Sbornik. 1925. Moscow: Gos.izdat. Zalambani, Maria 1999. “Boris Arvatov. Théoricien du Productivisme”. Cahiers du Monde russe, 40/3, 415–446.

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BOGDANOV’S SOCIOLOGY OF THE ARTS

John Biggart

This chapter is peer-reviewed and edited for

Spherical Book titled

CULTURE AS ORGANIZATION IN EARLY SOVIET THOUGHT

Bogdanov, Eisenstein, and the Proletkult

Editor-in-Chief: Pia Tikka Editorial Board: John Biggart, Vesa Oittinen, Giulia Rispoli, Maja Soboleva Tangential Points Publications Aalto University 2016 ISBN 103204787103ABC

Whereas in his general theory of social consciousness Bogdanov acknowledged his indebtedness to Marx, in his theory of the social function of the arts, which he considered to be part of the social consciousness, he differed from Marx, who, in his opinion, had regarded the arts as a mere ‘embellishment of life’. Bogdanov emphasized their organizing function and integrated the arts into his general theory of the evolution of social formations. Bogdanov saw proletarian culture as being a transitional culture that corresponded to the backwardness of both the Russian and the European working classes. It would be followed by socialist, collectivist, or ‘all-human’ culture, the values of which he enunciated in his article “New ethical norms” (Zakony novoi sovesti) (Bogdanov 1924/1925). Bogdanov also drafted a new collectivist aesthetics, the latent didacticism of which antagonized a number of ‘proletarian writers’ in the Proletkult.

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Bogdanov, Marx, and the social function of the arts 1

Writing on the relationship between thinking and economic activity, Friedrich Engels, in a letter to Joseph Bloch of 1890, pointed out that Marx’s understanding of this relationship was not to be understood as a form of uni-directional determinism. “The economic situation”, he wrote, “is the basis, but the various elements of the superstructure … political, juristic, philosophical theories, religious views, and their further development into systems of dogmas - also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form.” 2 We do not know whether Bogdanov had read this letter, but Engels’s clarification was in any case consistent with Bogdanov’s own understanding of Marx, as he made clear in a number of his philosophical writings. For example in The Philosophy of Living Experience (Bogdanov 1923, Chapters 1 and 5) Bogdanov cited Marx’s third ‘Thesis on Feuerbach’ (1845) (Feuer 1959) where Marx had asserted that “it is human beings who change circumstances, and …the educator also needs educating”. Society was not divided into two parts: “The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionizing practice.” 3 Bogdanov, who insisted that he was an “historical materialist” (Bogdanov 1923a), 4 at the same time considered Marx to have been “a great forerunner” of his own organization science (Bogdanov 1996: 104). However, when it came to the social function of the arts he disagreed with Marx, who, he alleged, had viewed art as a mere “embellishment of life”. 5

1 In this paper, individual terms used by Bogdanov, as well as quotations from his works, are indicated by double inverted commas.

2 Engels to Joseph Bloch, London, 21–22 September 1890. The letter was first published in Der sozialistische Akademiker, 19 (Berlin, 1895). See Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels 2001: 33–37. I am obliged to James D. White for this reference.

3 Georgii Gloveli has pointed out that M. Filippov, the editor of Nauchnoe Obozrenie, had noted the ‘sociological’ as distinct from ‘economistic’ determinism of Marx as early as 1897. See Gloveli 2009: 54–57.

4 Thesis No. XI of Bogdanov 1923a, in Bogdanov 2003: 461–462. 5 Bogdanov summarized what he considered to be the shortcomings of Marxist theory, and his own innovations, in Part I of Tektology. He explicitly rejected Marx”s understanding of art as a mere “embellishment of life” (“iskusstvo schital prostym ukrasheniem zhizni”). See Bogdanov 2003: 80–81. Whether his understanding of Marx on this point was correct is a question that need not concern us here. See, on this question, Rose 1994. Bogdanov had been General Editor of a new translation by V.A. Bazarov and I.I. Skvortsov-Stepanov of Marx’s Capital, published in 1907 and 1909. However, many of Marx’s works did not become available until after Bogdanov’s death; for example the Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie was not published in the Soviet Union until 1939.

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By the eve of the First World War, Bogdanov had developed a sociology of ideas that was grounded in his ‘empiriomonist’ epistemology 6 , in an evolutionist history of social formations and in a general theory of the dynamics of organization, equilibrium and change in nature, thinking and society. In works written before 1917, when he came to deal with the function of ideology in society, he would frequently draw examples from the history of the arts. He considered that the slogan of ‘proletarian culture’ had first been introduced into socialist theory at the Social-Democratic Party School organized by the Vpered group on the island of Capri in 1909, and in 1914 he had written in an article intended for the journal Nasha zarya that “art was one of the ideologies of a class – an element of its class consciousness”. 7 However, this article was not published and it was not until the founding of the Proletkult in September 1917 that Bogdanov began to produce a body of work that focused specifically upon the social function of the arts. 8 The present paper will draw upon two of Bogdanov’s works on ideology that that were published before the First World War, The Philosophy of Living Experience. A Popular Outline (Bogdanov 1923b); 9 and The Science of Social Consciousness. A Short Course in Ideological Science in Questions and Answers (Bogdanov 1914). 10 It will also make use of the articles that Bogdanov gathered for the anthology On Proletarian Culture 1904-1924 ( Bogdanov 1924/1925) most of which were written during the Proletkult period. Bogdanov’s utopian novel Red Star (Bogdanov 1908) and his Tektology. A General Organizational Science, the first part of which was published in 1913, also provide insight into his understanding of the arts. 11

History as the evolution of ideologies

6 See “Poznanie s istoricheskoy tochki zreniya(1900) in Bogdanov 1904 and Bogdanov 1904–1906. For a review of works on Bogdanov’s philosophy, see Steila 1996 and 2013

7 See “Vozmozhno li proletarskoe iskusstvo?” (1914), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 204– 216. Bogdanov here does not mention that he disagrees with Marx. The article formed part of a polemic with A.N.Potresov and G.A.Aleksinskiy. Potresov had argued in Nasha zarya (1913) that art was an indulgence of the leisure class.

8 On the Proletkult, see Sochor 1988, Chapter 6, “School of Socialism: Proletkult”; and Mally 1990.

9 The first edition was published in 1913. The third edition included the Appendix “From religious to scientific monism”, a concise version of a lecture Bogdanov had delivered to the Institute of Scientific Philosophy in February 1923. 10 The author’s preface is dated 16 November 1913. I have used the edition republished in Bogdanov 1999: 261-470. 11 See Bogdanov 1913. The author’s preface to this first part is dated 15/28 December 1912.

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In The Philosophy of Living Experience and in The Science of Social Consciousness, Bogdanov provided a concise outline of the evolutionary progression of social formations and world views, from “authoritarian ideologies”, through “individualistic ideologies”, to “collectivism”. In the latter work, inverting what would have been the usual explanatory structure for a Marxist social or economic historian, he characterized each period in terms of its predominant “world view” (mirovozzrenie) or “ideology” and only then went on to describe the technical, economic and social conditions that corresponded to each of these ideologies. The earliest period was that of “primeval ideologies” (pervobytnye ideologii). This was the period of hunter-gatherer societies when humans first acquired speech and which were characterized by a primitive, inchoate and conservative collectivism, which Bogdanov hesitated to qualify as a “world-view”. Next came the period of “authoritarian ideologies”, which was divided into successive sub-periods of “patriarchal ideology”, corresponding to the early development of agriculture and nomadic livestock husbandry; and “feudalism”, characterized by settled agriculture and livestock farming, the development of implements and the growth of trade. Then came “individualistic ideologies”, typical of societies of small producers practicing commodity exchange but also of such transitional forms as i) the slave-owning societies of the classical world, ii) serfdom, iii) craft-workshop economies and iv) commercial capitalism. The ultimate (and emergent) ideology, Bogdanov argued, would be “Collectivism” (Bogdanov 1914, passim). As he put it, very concisely, in 1918: “The spirit of authoritarianism, the spirit of individualism, the spirit of comradely solidarity (tovarishchestvo) - these are the three types of culture.” 12 This linear-evolutionist interpretation of history was fundamental to Bogdanov’s understanding of proletarian culture in general and of the arts in particular. For Bogdanov, the special function of the arts (viewed as one of a number of expressions of the ideology of any given social formation), was that of cognition in the realm of sensory experience. In ancient times people had acquired their understanding of the world in the form of myths. With the development of philosophy and science, cognition had acquired instruments suited to dealing with abstract thought, but art had retained the function of contributing to a world view through the organization of the feelings. As with other modes of cognition, the social function of the arts was not passive; on the contrary, they provided “social education”: whereas, in the past, this function had

12 “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 137.

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been performed by cave drawings, epic poetry or religious myths, 13 in more recent times, belles lettres (the novel, drama, poetry) and the visual and plastic arts all served as a “schooling in life”. 14

Art in the age of Collectivism 15

It was the advent of machine production that had provided the pre-conditions for the formation of a collectivist world view:

“The gathering of the proletariat in the cities and factories has a great and complicated influence upon the proletarian psyché. It gives rise to the realization that in labour, in the struggle with the elements for existence, the individual is only a link in a great chain… The individual ‘Ego’ is cut down to size and put in its place.” No less importantly, since machine work required the exercise of both hand and brain, the functions of ‘management’ and ‘implementation’, hitherto separate, and mediated through relations of authority and subordination, were now combined in “a fellowship of cooperation (sotrudnichestvo), which is the principle upon which the proletariat constructs its organization.” 16 However, whilst collectivism would be the world-view of all humanity in the future, it was not yet the outlook of a working class which, for all its political and economic progress in both Western Europe and Russia, still remained culturally backward. This conception of the cultural backwardness of the working class was central to Bogdanov’s theory, and he only ever spoke of embryonic “elements” of proletarian culture in the art and literature of his day. 17 In 1914 he cited the poem of Aleksey Mashirov-Samobytnik, “To a new comrade” (Novomu tovarishchu), and in 1918 his “To my fellow brethren” (Moim

13 Among Bogdanov’s favourite examples were the Mahabharata; the works of Homer and Hesiod and the Hebrew Bible. In architecture, the Coliseum in Rome was a metaphor for the pride and cruelty of an imperial people; the Gothic cathedral, a metaphor for the world view of the Middle Ages – the rejection of this earth and striving towards the after-life. See Bogdanov 1911, 14–18; and “Proletariat i iskusstvo” (Speech to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult, 20 September 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 117–118.

14 See “Sotsial’no-organizatsionnoe znachenie iskusstva” - Theses for a lecture delivered by Alexander Bogdanov to the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences, 29 October 1921”, RGALI, f.941, op.1., ed. khr.3, in Bogdanov 2004: 5–9.

15 On ‘Collectivism’, see Sochor 1988: 136–138.

16 “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 136. See also the section “Tekhnicheskie i ekonomicheskie osnovy kollektivizma” in Nauka ob obshestvennom soznanii (1914) in Bogdanov 1999: 446–452.

17 For Bogdanov, the capitulation of the working classes to the bourgeoisie during the World War had amply demonstrated the “immaturity” of its outlook. See “1918”, in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 101; and “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve” (1918), Bogdanov 1924/1924: 144–145. On this point, see Sochor 1988: 95 and White 2013: 52–70.

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sobrat’yam), as examples of “emerging” collectivism. 18 By contrast, he found only “elements” of proletarian culture in the work of Aleksey Gastev, “Factory sirens” (Gudi) and Vladimir Kirillov, “To the times that lie ahead” (Gryadushchemu). 19 Most disparagingly, he considered Maksim Gorkiy, from whom he had been estranged since 1910, to be merely “close to us in spirit and artistically stable (ustoychivyy)”. 20

Criticism as selection and feed-back

Given the backwardness of the working class, how would proletarian art evolve? It was incumbent upon both the artist and the critic to select and utilize from the art of the past and of the present day that which could be of benefit to the proletariat and to reject that which was potentially harmful. 21 In July of 1918 Bogdanov seemed to suggest that this evolution would be a natural, self-regulating, organic process, akin to natural selection: “the artist can give the most harmonious arrangement to his living images when he does so freely, without

compulsion or direction

The content of art is life without restrictions

or prohibitions.” 22 However, this did not mean that the artist functioned as an individual in opposition to society. In August 1918, he described the incorporation of art into ideology as a feed-back mechanism (vzaimnaya svyaz’, literally, ‘reciprocal link’): 23 the artist’s selection of images was regulated in the first instance by self-criticism, as the artist strove to eliminate from a work everything that was not in harmony with its central idea; there followed a process of spontaneous selection or regulation (regulirovanie) by society, through the explicit, conscious

18 See “Vozmozhno li proletarskoe iskusstvo?” (1914) and “Proletariat i iskusstvo” (1918) in Bogdanov1924/1925: 111–112 & 119.

19 The poems of Gastev and Kirillov are cited in “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 139–140.

20 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170. Gorky never participated in the Proletkult. 21 “1918” (“Ot redaktsii”), Proletarskaya kul’tura, No.1 (July 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 102. See also Bogdanov 1920: 14.

22 “Chto takoe Proletarskaya poeziya?”, Proletarskaya kul’tura, No.1 (July, 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 129.

23 See also Bogdanov’s explanation of how a critique of religion would reveal the feedback mechanism that linked ideology and social development, in “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve”, Proletarskaya kul’tura, No.2 (July, 1918), and Bogdanov 1924/1925: 149. See also “Puti proletarskogo tvorchestva. Tezisy” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 199. These theses, prepared for the First All-Russian Congress of the Proletkults, were originally published in Proletarskaya kul’tura, Nr.13/14 (January-March) and Nr.15/16 (April–July) 1920. Further theses on artistic technique, from a lecture that had been delivered in May 1920 to a Conference of Proletarian Writers, were included in the anthology Bogdanov

1924/1925.

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criticism of the work of art from a class point of view. 24 He made this point concisely in his speech to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult on 20 September 1918: “The artistic talent is individual, but creation is a social phenomenon: it emerges out of the collective and returns to the collective, serving its vital purposes.” 25

The paradox of “tektological selection”

It would be a mistake, however, to infer that Bogdanov’s theory of the evolution of ideologies was a mere application of Darwin’s theory of natural selection to the social sphere. Bogdanov was not an ‘evolutionary’ socialist, in the sense of assuming that the development of the forces of production, or the process of class struggle, would lead, without some assistance, to the political, economic and cultural ascendancy of the proletariat. As we know, Bogdanov considered that evolutionary biology was mistaken in distinguishing rigidly between

natural selection (otbor) and artificial selection. This distinction, he tells us, disguised the existence of an overarching tektological selection mechanism (podbor) which was also at work in economic, social and intellectual activity. 26 “Natural selection” (Bogdanov places the term in inverted commas), did not always operate in isolation: for many thousands of years before “natural selection” had been discovered, it had been assisted in human societies by the practice of artificial selection. 27 “As concerns the adjective ‘natural’, we shall discard it, for in tektology the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ processes is not

production, all social struggle, all the work of

thinking, proceeds constantly and steadfastly by means of selection (podbor): by systematic support of the complexes corresponding to vital human goals, and the elimination of those which contradict them.” 28 How then, during the transition period, would the ‘work of thinking’, obtain ‘systematic support’? Bogdanov’s answer was that it would be provided by educational institutions that functioned alongside the state educational system, namely the Proletarian Workers’ Cultural- Educational Organization (Proletkul’t) and the Proletarian University.

…All

24 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva”, Proletarskaya kul’tura, Nr.3 (August, 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 158.

25 “Proletariat i iskusstvo” (Speech to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult, 20 September 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 123.

26 For the explanation in Tektology of “selection” (podbor) as a “tektological” process, see Bogdanov 1996, Chapter 3: Basic Organizational Mechanisms. I have here also used Bogdanov, 1922. On this subject, see Poustilnik 2009, especially 125–129. 27 Bogdanov 1996, Chapter 3: Basic Organizational Mechanisms, 179. 28 Bogdanov 1996, Chapter 3: Basic Organizational Mechanisms, 175.

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The function of these institutions would differ from that of traditional pedagogy in which “the entire meaning of the educator’s activities [was] to support and strengthen some elements of a child’s psyché and to destroy or inhibit others”. 29 A “collectivist education” would develop in the psyché of the individual a “discipline of comradely relations” and a “conscious acceptance of common interests and aims.” 30 Bogdanov’s conception of the social function of the arts and of art criticism is analogous to his conception of the function of the new education. Art criticism, he tells us, should not be prescriptive, but this did not meant that the critic was relegated to the role of mere reporter:

the critic should “monitor (reguliruet) the development of art”, and give warning whenever “young art” succumbed to “alien influences”. 31 Clearly, this kind of mentoring is fraught with the ambiguities inherent in all forms of education. Let us ask what criteria Bogdanov wished to be applied in the course of “tektological selection”; and whether he thought that “regulation” would be carried out by proletarians themselves or by others on their behalf.

Culture as mentalité?

i) The social origins of the artist In 1910 Bogdanov had written: “The proletariat needs its own, socialist art, permeated by its own feelings and aspirations and ideals.” 32 In 1918 he wrote that, ideally, what the proletariat needed was a “pure- class, proletarian poetry”. 33 In 1920, he dismissed the Belgian, Emile Verhaeren, and the Latvian, J ānis Rainis, 34 as “poets of the toiling democracy or socialist intellectuals”, who were “bound to the working class by a common ideal, but they cannot directly express or organize the proletarian artistic consciousness because they were reared in another world.” 35 Such statements seem to imply an understanding of working class culture as mentalité, as a function of social origins and social milieu. However, as we shall see, for Bogdanov working class origins or experience were necessary, but not sufficient conditions for

29 Bogdanov 1996, Chapter 3: Basic Organizational Mechanisms, 181–182. 30 “Ideal vospitaniya” (Lecture delivered to a Teachers’ Conference in Moscow, May, 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 236.

31 Bogdanov 1911: 87.

32 “Sotsializm v nastoyashchem” (1910), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 98.

33 “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 131.

34 Rainis had been published in 1916 an anthology Sbornik Latyshkoy literatury, edited by Valeriy Bryusov and Maksim Gorkiy.

35 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 178–179.

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the production of proletarian culture. Proletarian culture was also a matter of values, of “world view”.

ii) The world view of the critic The importance that Bogdanov attached to “world view” enabled him to introduce the critic, pedagogue, or ideologue, into the feed-back loop of cultural evolution. In 1923, he explained how someone who had not been born into, or did not belong to, a working class milieu could contribute to the development of proletarian culture:

“…The position of a class in the system of social life is an objective fact, and it creates the possibility for an ideologue, even one who does not belong to that class, to adopt its position theoretically and from that position to obtain a new point of view. This is what Marx succeeded in doing.” 36 It was this notion of an historically appropriate world view as a kind of accreditation that qualified an individual to participate in the construction of proletarian culture that enabled Bogdanov to rationalize his own role as a critic of culture; and, following in the footsteps of Marx, to offer his General Organizational Science as a contribution to the emerging ideology of collectivism. By the same logic he would recommend that the first tutors of the Proletarian University should be drawn from “the most able theorists of revolutionary socialism” and, subsequently, from amongst graduates of the Socialist Academy. 37

Building collectivist values

Bogdanov’s assessment of the value of a work of art was based upon the extent to which it succeeded in its cognitive and educational functions, which he described as its “organizational task”. This task was, “firstly, to organize a particular sum of the elements of life, of “experience” (opyt); and, secondly, to ensure that what is created serves as an instrument for a particular collective.” 38 It was with this dual conception of the role of the artist and critic in mind that Bogdanov devised what one might describe as a ‘utilitarian aesthetics’, the purpose of which was to foster the development of collectivism within the proletariat. His aesthetics addressed the issues of both content and form. His declared criteria of judgment were, how far and in what respects was the ‘material’ of a work of art of value to the proletariat and to the

36 “Ot monizma religioznogo k nauchnomu”, in Bogdanov 1923: 342. 37 “Proletarskiy Universitet” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 252. See also Steinberg 2002: 60. 38 “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 150.

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all-human (obshchechelovecheskiy collective in the future; how far were the ‘methods’ applied useful and appropriate (prigodny); and of what general significance for the higher collective was the resolution of the organizational task? 39 In the building of collectivist norms or values, these criteria were to be applied in selecting from the cultures of the past and in evaluating works of the present day.

i) Content: selecting from the culture of the past In an editorial to the first issue of Proletarskaya kul’tura Bogdanov argued against any radical break with the culture of the past: “The proletariat is the legitimate heir of all the valuable achievements of the past, spiritual as much as material; it cannot and must not repudiate this legacy.” 40 In the third issue of the journal he deplored the “Hindenburgian” tone adopted by Vladimir Kirillov, who had proclaimed that “In the name of our tomorrow we shall burn Raphael, destroy the museums, trample upon the flowers of art”. 41 Of course, this did not mean that the culture of the past should be embraced uncritically: in evaluating the art of the past, the objective should be to seek out the “hidden elements of collectivism”. 42

ii) Content: selecting from the culture of the present The construction of collectivism also required an ability to identify values that were not progressive. This, in turn, required attention to the fact that all art organized the social class to which the artist belonged and articulated the point of view of that class. “Behind the individual author is hidden the collective author, the author’s class; and poetry is part of the self-awareness of this class.” In the nineteenth century, the poetry of Afanasiy Fet had expressed the world-view of the Russian nobility; 43 Nikolay Nekrasov, who had spoken up for the exploited peasantry, had at the same time articulated the aspirations,

39 See especially Thesis No.4 of “Tezisy doklada A.A.Bogdanov. ‘O proletarskoy kritike’. na Vserossyiskom soveshchanii literaturnykh otdelov i otdelov izobrazitel’nykh iskusstv proletarskikh kul’turno-prospevetitel’nykh organizatsii, 21 August 1921. RGALI, f.1230, op.1, d.457, l.8. I am obliged to Petr Plyutto for making this document available.

40 “1918” in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 102. This had formerly been published as “Ot redaktsii”, Proletarskaya kul’tura, Nr.1 (July 1918).

41 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 173. 42 See “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925:

especially, 142–145; and Thesis Nr. 16 of “Puti proletarskogo tvorchestva” (1920) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 199.

43 Afanasiy Afanas’evich Fet (1820–1892). See “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 130. See also the section “Tekhnicheskie i ekonomicheskie osnovy kollektivizma” of Nauka ob obshestvennom soznanii (1914) in Bogdanov 1999: 452.

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ideas and sentiments of the urban intelligentsia to which he belonged by occupation, and aspects of the psychology of the landlord estate to

which he belonged by birth. 44 Indeed, the greater part of what, more recently, purported to be “democratic” poetry in fact gave expression to

a “peasant-intellectual”, “worker-peasant” or “worker-peasant- intellectual” view of the world. 45

Progressive forms

i) “Simplicity” (prostota) How, Bogdanov asked, was one to identify those writers of the past who could serve as models for the kinds of technique to be adopted by the creators of proletarian culture? In answering this question he drew upon his evolutionary interpretation of history and upon his organization theory. Every social formation and every ideology, he argued, went through a life-cycle of birth, maturation, degeneration

(vyrozhdenie) and death. This could be observed not only in the content

but also in the forms of art. 46 It was during the phase of growth and

maturity that the art of a civilization attained its most consummate

expression. Proletarian writers should therefore “learn the techniques of

art … from the great masters who came at the period of the rise and

flowering of those classes that are now withering away - the revolutionary romantics and the classics of different times.” 47 The hallmark of art at its apogée was its ‘simplicity’. 48 In 1918, Bogdanov lauded the “simplicity, clarity and purity of forms” of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Nekrasov and Tolstoy. 49 In 1920 (when he added Byron to this list), he wrote:

“What we find in the work of the great masters is a simplicity that is associated with content that is grandiose, developing or highly developed, but which has not yet begun to decay. Goethe and Schiller, and, in Russia, Pushkin and Lermontov, reflected the birth and growth of new conditions and new forces of life, the rise of a bourgeois culture

44 Nikolay Alekseevich Nekrasov (1821–1878). See “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 131.

45 As an example, Bogdanov cites a poem by Alexei Gmyrev, Alaya. See “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya?” (1918), in Bogdanov, 1924/1925: 132–133. See also the references to Emile Verhaeren and J ā nis Rainis, above.

46 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 169.

47 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170. 48 Cf. “Like most ancient Martian works of art, the most modern ones were characterized by extreme simplicity and thematic unity”. Bogdanov 1984: 76.

49 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170.

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that was beginning to oust and supplant the old, feudal-aristocratic culture.” 50

ii) Rhyme and Rhythm In his understanding of rhyme and rhythm, Bogdanov updated romanticism for the machine age: these two devices served to integrate the human community in its relationship with the rest of nature, and also in work and thought: Asked by Leonid, in Red Star, whether “the poetry of the socialist epoch should abandon and forget these inhibiting rules”, Enno replies:

“Regular rhythm (pravil’noe-ritmicheskoe) seems beautiful to us not at all because of any attachment to convention, but because it is in profound harmony with the rhythmic regularity of the processes of our life and consciousness. As for rhyme (rifma), whereby a series of variations end in a single accord, does it not have a profound kinship with that vital bond between people which enables them to overcome their inherent diversity and achieve unity in the pleasure of love, achieve unity from a rational objective in work, and a unity of feelings through art? There can be no artistic form without rhythm (bez ritma). If there is no rhythm of sounds it is all the more essential that there should be a rhythm of images or ideas. And if rhyme (rifma) is really of feudal origin, then so were many other good and beautiful things.” 51

Degenerate

(uto nchennost’ )

form

and

content:

“over-elaboration”

True to his biological-evolutionary world view, Bogdanov was disparaging of the forms and content of the kind of art that was produced at the end of the life-cycle of a social formation. In 1908, in Red Star he had written:

“[The art of] intermediate, transitional, epochs is of quite a different character: there are impulses, passions, restless yearnings that are sometimes suppressed in the divagations of erotic or religious dreams, but which at other times erupt when tensions in the conflict between body and soul reach the point of disequilibrium.” 52

Ten years later, he explained more fully:

50 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 176–177.

51 My translation from Krasnaya Zvezda, Bogdanov 1929: 97, with reference to the translation by Charles Rougle in Bogdanov 1984: 78.

52 My translation from Krasnaya Zvezda, Bogdanov 1929: 94, with reference to the translation by Charles Rougle in Bogdanov 1984: 76.

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“…When a social class has accomplished its progressive role in the historical process and begins to decline, the content of its art, inevitably, also becomes decadent, as do, accordingly, the forms of art which adapt to this content. The decay of a ruling class is usually evident in a descent into parasitism. There is an onset of satiety, a

dulling of the sense of life. Life loses its main source for new, developing content - socially creative activity. In order to fill this void, the members of the dying class pursue ever new pleasures and sensations. Art organizes this quest: in an attempt to stimulate fading sensibilities it resorts to decadent perversions; in an attempt to elaborate and refine aesthetic images it complicates and embellishes artistic forms through a mass of petty contrivances. All of this has been observed in history more than once, in the decline of various cultures - the Oriental, Classical and Feudal, and it can be observed during recent decades in the decomposition (razlozhenie) of bourgeois culture, in most of the new trends in decadent ‘Modernism’ and ‘Futurism’. Russian bourgeois art has dragged itself along in the wake of European art, in the image of our anemic and flabby bourgeoisie which succeeded in withering without ever having bloomed.” 53 Zinaida Gippius was considered by Bogdanov to be typical of those who “in periods of tranquil reaction contemplate their individual

feelings, aesthetic, erotic, mystical

and are seized by the ardour of struggle during revolution, only to lapse back into eroticism and all sorts of perversion and theosophy, etc., when reaction returns.” 54 Andreev, Bal’mont and Blok were “on our side one moment and detached the next”. 55 The work of Bryusov and Belyy was “devoid of living content and devoted entirely to form”; 56 Mayakovskiy was “a posturing, self-advertising intellectual” (krivlyayushegosya intelligenta- reklamista); Igor Severyanin was “the ideologue of gigolos and courtesans (kokotok) and the talented embodiment of painted vulgarity.” 57

become fiery patriots in wartime

53 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918) in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 169–170.

54 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 178–179. See also

175–177.

55 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170. 56 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 180. Here Bogdanov is criticizing Gerasimov’s poem Mona Lisa.

57 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170. Bogdanov did not deny the talent of either Severyanin or Mayakovskiy. See his footnote on Mayakovskiy, dated 1924, in this same article: 170. Ironically, Bogdanov’s principal adversary, Lenin, shared his antipathy for the Futurists: on 6 May 1921 Lenin rebuked Lunacharskiy for printing 5,000 copies of Mayakovskiy’s 150,000,000 and implored M.N. Pokrovskiy to help him “fight Futurism”. See Lenin to A.V. Lunacharskiy, 6 May 1921 and Lenin to M.N. Pokrovskiy, 6 May 1921, in Lenin 1970, 179–180.

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There was a risk that the art of the proletariat would be contaminated by the Modernists’ experimentation with rhyme and rhythm:

“In its first steps our workers’ poetry manifested a tendency to regular rhythmic verse with simple rhymes. At present, it manifests a tendency to free rhythms (svobodnye ritmy) and complex, interweaving, new and often unexpected rhymes. This is clearly the influence of the poetry of the new intelligentsia. It is hardly to be welcomed….” 58 By contrast, the science of “physiological psychology” had shown how actions and resistances in work had a formative influence upon the nervous system. It was therefore desirable that the rhythms of poetry should correspond to the “directing rhythms” experienced by a worker who was in harmony with the machine, and to the rhythms of nature. 59 Above all, there should be no striving for effect. 60 Conscious, perhaps, that his views on culture might be considered overly conservative, Bogdanov was, on occasion, prepared to concede that “of course, new contents will inevitably work out new forms”; it was merely “necessary to take the best of the past as a starting point.” 61 However, he was profoundly out of sympathy with Modernism. In 1920 he felt entitled to remonstrate with Mikhail Gerasimov (who, unlike Bogdanov, possessed genuine proletarian credentials), 62 for having succumbed, in his poem, Mona Lisa, to the influence of the modern poets. 63 He admonished as “naïve” the Smithy (Kuznitsa) group of writers (Gerasimov and Vladimir Kirillov were founder-members), who, in the first issue of their journal had declared that, even if they were unable to write “proletarian poetry” (a barb directed at the Proletkult), they would dedicate themselves to developing a mastery of literary techniques. 64 These writers, Bogdanov chided,

58 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170–171.

59 “Powerful machines and their precise movements are aesthetically pleasing to us in and of themselves…”. Enno, in Bogdanov 1984, 74.

60 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), Bogdanov 1924/1925: 188–9.

61 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), Bogdanov 1924/1925: 170.

62 Mikhail Prokof’evich Gerasimov (1889–1939), the son of a railwayman, had worked in the railway, metal working and mining industries. Between 1910 and

1914 he was a member, alongside Lunacharskiy, A.K. Gastev and F.I. Kalinin of

the Paris-based Liga proletarskoy kul’tury. His works were published in Gorkiy’s Prosveshchenie in 1913 and 1914; in an anthology edited by Il’ya Erenburg – Vechera

(Paris, 1914); in Sbornik proletarskikh pisateley (1914) which had a foreword by Gorkiy; and in Sbornik proletarskikh poetov (1917). In 1917 a volume of his poetry, due to be published by Gorkiy’s publishing house Parus, was banned by the censor. In March

1917 he was elected chair of the Samara Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies and from 1918

he was chair of the Samara Proletkult. See Russkie pisateli 1989: 540–541.

63 Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 180.

64 Mikhail Gerasimov and Vladimir Kirillov were prominent in the Kuznitsa group who held their founding meeting in February 1920. See Brown 1971: 10–12.

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should not “deck themselves out in the finery of the bourgeoisie”, but seek the content of their poetry in comradely relations, in the experience of workers’ organizations, and in the works of Marx. They should trust in the collective and in its evolutionary ideology, and amongst past writers seek out those who had “shown the way”. 65

Organizational aesthetics

Another framework that Bogdanov applied in evaluating a work of art, namely ‘degree of organization’ or ‘organized-ness (stepen’ organizovannosti), 66 derived explicitly from his Tektology and seems to supplement, if not replace, his binary opposition of ‘simplicity/over- elaboration’. In Part III of the full version of Tektology (first published in 1922), in the chapter ‘Organizational Dialectics’, he wrote:

“All of the usual human evaluations that take the form of such concepts as goodness, beauty and truth, that is, moral, aesthetic and cognitive evaluations, have one common basis: all of them are organizational evaluations. The fetishized forms of these evaluations, which conceal their true nature from individualistic consciousness, prevent the question of the degree of living-social organization (sotsial’no- zhiznennoi organizovannosti) from being addressed. This means that whatever raises the level of organization of collective life in the field of degressive 67 norms of human behaviour is deemed to be morally superior; whatever has this effect in perceptions of the world (mirovospriyatyia) is deemed to be beautiful; and whatever has this effect when it comes to the systematization of experience is deemed to be ‘true’. Essentially, all such evaluations amount to a more or less crude, approximate, and vaguely defined quantitative measure of the degree of organization, in other words, to a “measurement” according to some imprecise scale or template. For this reason, these evaluations must all be subjected to scientific-organizational research and, in the course of development, be replaced by scientific-organizational evaluations.” 68

65 “Prostota ili utonchennost’?”, (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 190–191. This article was published in Proletarskaya kul’tura (1920), Nr.13–14. See also Bogdanov’s review of the first issue (May, 1920) of the journal Kuznitsa, in Proletarskaya kul’tura (1920), Nr.15–16: 91–92.

66 George Gorelik translated organizovannost’ as ‘system-ness’. See Gorelik 1984: 279. Since Bogdanov does use the term sistematizatsiya, another possible translation might be ‘degree of systematization’.

67 “Degression”, for Bogdanov, is the process that enables a particular form to sustain its structure or viability in a relationship of dynamic equilibrium with its environment. See Bogdanov 1922: Part II, Chapter VI, Section 3 – ‘Origin and significance of degression’. 68 My translation from Bogdanov 1922: 516.

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In the same year, addressing a conference of writers and artists of the Proletkult, Bogdanov made the same point, namely that appreciation of the formal side of a work of art consisted in evaluating the “degree of organization of that work as a living whole”. Acknowledging that assessments made by different collectives would vary according to their particular accumulation of organizational experience, he argued that, nevertheless, “it is the degree of organization of a work that is the measure of its profundity and of the impact that it will have upon the collective, that is, of its potential for contributing to the organizational education of the collective.” 69 The extent to which a work of art achieved a degree of organization also determined its aesthetic effect, for “truth is the presence of organization in the sphere of experience; the good is the presence of organization in the sphere of action; and beauty is the presence of organization in the sphere of the emotions.” 70

A tektological criticism of Hamlet

Disappointingly, there is only one instance (that I can think of) in which Bogdanov applies in any detail the methodology of organizational science to the intrinsic criticism of a work of art or literature, and that is in his commentary on “the great artist and tektologist”, Shakespeare. 71 The divided self of Hamlet, he tells us (divided, on the one hand by his warrior upbringing and, on the other, by his passive-aesthetic temperament), formed a “complex”, the components of which were in a relationship of “disingression”, or paralysis. The processes of selection set in motion by a hostile environment could only result in the destruction of this complex (as in the “insanity”, then death, of Hamlet), or in a recombination of the elements of his psyché into a new “active-aesthetic” whole (the restoration of order, or “system equilibrium”, in the character of

69 See Thesis Nr. 4 for his lecture “On proletarian literary criticism” delivered to an All-Russian Conference of Literary Departments and Departments of the Visual Arts of the Proletkult, 21 August 1921. RGALI, f.1230, op.1, d.457, l.8.

70 Bogdanov, Unpublished notebooks, RGASPI, f.259, cited by: Iu.P. Sharapov, “‘Kul’turnye lyudi soznatel’no uchityvayut proshloe’”. Iz zapisnykh knizhek A.A. Bogdanova”, Istoricheskiy arkhiv (1999), Nr. 3: 174.

71 The expression is employed in Bogdanov 1922, Part II, Chapter 5 “Divergence and convergence of forms”, Section 6: “The division and restoration of unity of the personality”, p.292. Part II of Tektology was first published in Moscow in 1917 (Preface dated 22 September 1916). Bogdanov also provides a commentary on Hamlet in “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 150–

154.

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Fortinbras). 72 Hamlet, was an example of how a work of art could serve not only the dominant ideology of its time, but also the purposes of collectivism, in that Shakespeare’s depiction of the struggle for harmony in a hostile environment, “provides the working class with a comprehensive lesson and a comprehensive resolution of the organizational task – and this is what is needed if the world- organizational ideal is to be achieved.” 73

Between learning and didacticism

Bogdanov was at pains to insist that no constraints should be placed upon the creative work of the proletarian artist: there should be “initiative, criticism, originality and the all-round development of individual talents.” There should be no “blind submission to authority”. 74 He did not think that his own exercises in literary and artistic criticism were prescriptive, but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, sometimes, they were. In 1918, it is true, he rejected the civic (grazhdanskoe) notion according to which art should promote progressive tendencies in the struggles of life: there was “no need to attach any aims to art – they are an unnecessary and harmful constraint”. 75 At the same time, he was himself of the opinion that proletarian art should express an “aspiration towards the ideal” and pointed to the example of the Venus de Milo which, he maintained, represented the harmonious unity of spiritual and physical love; 76 and to Goethe’s Faust which depicted the human soul in its search for harmony, eventually attained in a life devoted to working for the good of society. 77 Conscious, perhaps, that these judgments could, indeed, be considered “civic”, he dissociated himself from the theory “recently brought forward”, according to which art must be “unflaggingly uplifting” (zhizneradostnoe) and “exultant” (vostorzhennoe). “We are sorry to

72 Bogdanov 1922, Part II, Chapter 5 “Divergence and convergence of forms”, Section 6: “The division and restoration of unity of the personality”: 290–292.

73 “O khudozhestvennom nasledstve” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 154.

74 “Ideal vospitaniya” (Lecture delivered to a Teachers” Conference in Moscow, May, 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 236.

75 “Chto takoe proletarskaya poeziya” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 128–129. See also Thesis Nr. 11: “The socio-organizational role of art is its objective meaning, and this interpretation has nothing in common with the theory of civic art, whereby art is harnessed to certain specific tasks of an ethical, political or other nature”, in “Sotsial’no-organizatsionnoe znachenie iskusstva” (1921) in Bogdanov 2004: 5–9.

76 “Proletariat i iskusstvo” (Speech to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult, 20 September 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 122–23.

77 “Proletariat i iskusstvo”, (Speech to the First All-Russian Conference of the Proletkult, 20 September 1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 120–121; and “Prostota ili utonchennost’?” (1920), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 178.

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say that this theory is quite a favourite, especially with the younger and less experienced proletarian poets, although it can only be called childish.” 78 Even so, in some of his writings, Bogdanov’s didactic attitude is reminiscent of the philosopher of an earlier Enlightenment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his Émile, ou De l’éducation (1762). By 1920 Bogdanov had become aware that some proletarian writers found his approach patronizing:

“Some Proletkultists have argued that artistic creation must be free, and have questioned whether criticism, however scientific, and however much it claimed to be the most proletarian, could point the

way… the journal Proletarskaya kul’tura has been depicted as a kind of baby-sitter (“Chto za nyan’ki!”), constantly fretting about what is and what isn’t proletarian culture”. 79 In February 1920, exasperation with the paternalism of the Proletkult led a group of writers led by Gerasimov to withdraw from its Moscow branch and, under the auspices of the Commissariat for Education, to organize their own literary group – Kuznitsa, complaining

that “the conditions of work in Proletkult

restrict the creative potential of proletarian writers.” 80 It was the Kuznitsa group that in October 1920 organized the First All Russian Congress of Proletarian Writers during which the All-Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (VAPP) was founded. 81 In December 1920, the replacement of Pavel Lebedev-Polyanskiy by Valerian Pletnëv as Chair of the Central Committee of the Proletkult marked the beginning of the end of Bogdanov’s influence inside the Proletkult. In November 1921 he resigned from all positions in the Proletkult in order to devote himself entirely to research in blood transfusion. However, the matter did not end there: the critics of Bogdanov, in some cases acting under the instructions of Lenin, now faced the task of producing an alternative to his theory. During the later 1920s, Pletnëv, for one, ostentatiously dissociated himself from Bogdanov and played his own ignoble part in the creation of an new orthodoxy. 82 On 9 May 1924 the Press Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party convened a conference on “The policy of the Party in artistic literature”

for a variety of reasons,

78 “Kritika proletarskogo iskusstva” (1918), in Bogdanov 1924/1925: 167.

79 Bogdanov 1920: 87. On the resentment of some writers by 1920, see Steinberg 2002: 60–61.

80 See their letter to Pravda, 5 February 1920, reproduced in Gorbunov 1974: 122. 81 It was also in October 1920 that Lenin took steps to have the Proletkult subordinated to the Commissariat for Education. These institutional changes in the history of the movement for proletarian culture have been well documented by Sheshukov 1970, Brown 1971 and Eimermacher 1972. 82 On the role of Pletnëv in the debate over cultural policy, see Biggart and Bulgakowa 2016.

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and in 1925 published materials of this conference and other contributions to the debate. 83 In the same year Bogdanov defiantly published an anthology of his own writings on the subject. 84 He could legitimately take the view that his ‘heresies’ had set the agenda for the debate.

Conclusion

One does not look to Bogdanov for an understanding of the mentalité of the ‘actually existing’ working class. 85 His concern was not with working class communities but with the ‘integral proletarian’, the ideal-typical worker (Nikifor Vilonov, Fëdor Kalinin) of the future. 86 In this respect he was a utopian socialist (I do not use the term pejoratively). Bogdanov’s insistence that a ‘non-proletarian’ could make a contribution to the development of proletarian culture clearly belongs to the vexed controversy over the ambiguous relationship between socialist intellectuals and workers by social origin. 87 His conviction that his status as a Collectivist qualified him as a builder of socialist culture is questionable. Perhaps he should be understood as a member of the ‘organizational intelligentsia’, whose ascendancy he had himself described. 88 Bogdanov’s aesthetic theories had the potential for development in a number of directions, but some led up blind alleys. His binary criterion of ‘simplicity/over-elaboration’ seems to have owed more to his paternalistic solicitude for novices in the building of proletarian culture and to his dislike of Modernism than to his organization theory. It is difficult to see of what value these categories could be to anyone in the appreciation, even, of some of the writers he approved of, for example, Gogol. By contrast, his criticism of Hamlet illustrates the

83 See Voprosy kul’tury pri diktature proletariata 1925. Moscow & Leningrad: Gosizdat, On this debate, see also Biggart 1992.

84 See O proletarskoy kul’ture 1904–1924. This inside title page of this anthology is dated 1924 and the cover is dated 1925.

85 In general, it appears that the Russian Social Democrats, before 1917, produced fewer social and economic studies of working class life than the agrarian socialists did of the peasantry.

86 On Kalinin, see “Novy tip rabotnika” in Bogdanov 1920. Bogdanov quotes from an unpublished work by Vilonov in his Introduction and in Chapter 6 of Filosofiya zhivogo opyta 1913 and 1923. See also Scherrer 1980: 165–187; and, on Vilonov and Kalinin, Gloveli 2004, 25–48.

87 See Biggart 1990: 265–282. On how workers and intellectuals worked together in the Proletkult, see Mally 1990: 115–121.

88 See “Linii kul’tury XIX i XX veka” in Bogdanov 1995; in Vestnik Mezhdunarodnogo Instituta Bogdanova 2000 (4): 28–53; and Gloveli 2009, 47–79.

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analytical potential of a tektological approach. However, Bogdanov was aware of the experimental nature of his aesthetics, and he acknowledged that all such “evaluations must be subjected to scientific- organizational research and, in the course of development, be replaced by scientific-organizational evaluations.” 89 The Russian ‘language barrier’ has, until recently, denied Bogdanov’s pioneering work in cultural theory the attention that it merits outside of Russia. The translation of his works into other languages will help to make good this deficiency.

References

Biggart, John 1990. “Alexander Bogdanov and the theory of a “New Class”. Russian Review (49, July): 265-282. --------------- 1992. “Bukharin’s theory of cultural revolution” in The ideas of Nikolai Bukharin, edited by Anthony Kemp-Welch, 131-158. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. Biggart, John and Oksana Bulgakowa 2016. “Eisenstein in the Proletkult. Helsinki:

Spherical Book. Culture as Organization in Early Soviet Thought. Bogdanov, A. 1904. Iz psikhologii obshchestva. St. Petersburg: Izdanie S.Dorovatovskogo i A.Charushnikova. ------------- 1904-1906. Empiriomonizm. Stat’i po filosofii, I-III. Moscow & St.Petersburg:

Izdanie S.Dorovatovskogo i A.Charushnikova. ------. 1908. Krasnaya zvezda (Utopiya). Saint-Petersburg: Tovarishchestvo khudozhnikov pechati ------------- 1911. Kul’turnye zadachi nashego vremeni. Moscow: Izdanie S.Dorovatovskogo i A.Charushnikova. -------------1913. Vseobshchaya organizatsionnaya nauka: Tektologiya I. St.Petersburg: Izdanie M.I.Semenova. ------------- 1914. Nauka ob obshestvennom soznanii. Kratkii kurs ideologicheskoy nauki v voprosakh i otvetakh. Moscow: Knigoizdatel’stvo pisateley v Moskve. ------------- 1920 “Novyy tip rabotnika”, in Sbornik pamyati F.I.Kalinina. Rostov on Don:

Gosizdat. ------------- 1920. Elementy proletarskoy kul’tury v razvitii rabochego klassa. Lektsii prochitannye v Moskovskom Proletkul’te vesnoyu 1919 goda. Moscow: Gosizdat. ------------- 1921 “Sotsial’no-organizatsionnoe znachenie iskusstva” - Theses for a lecture delivered to the Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences, 29 October 1921, with an introduction by Charlotte Douglas, Vestnik Mezhdunarodnogo Instituta A. Bogdanova. 2004 (1): 17, 5-9. ------------- 1922. Tektologiya. Vseobshchaya organizatsionnaya nauka. Petersburg, Moscow, Berlin: Grzhebin. ------------- 1923a. “Obshchestvenno-nauchnoe znachenie noveishikh tendentsii estestvoznaniya” (Theses for lecture delivered in the Socialist Academy of

89 My translation from Bogdanov 2003: 392.

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