In Deep Water: from Cheryomushki district to the present day.


The Concept of «The Garden City» that showed up on the surface in the begging of the 20th century have been transformed and rediscovered for decades, but its brightest embodiment in so far deservedly happened to be an international recognition of the ‘microdistrict’.

Low-cost mass housing construction, known as Khrushchyovkas, since 1956 were erected across USSR to replace shaks, halting site bays and wooden barracks, so that millions of Soviet citizens gained a private space at last.

Altered urban planning concept has resulted in its new object which was neither houses or monumental facades nor streets, but the environment. The center of this environment, by design, was the inhabitant. It is according to him the distances to the closest school, sports ground, cinema and park were measured.

If in Cheryomushki, the first experimental microdistrict, well-advertised example of a new life, there were swimming pools and bathhouses across the adjacent area, the following residential building prototypes lacked the good in order to save resources. Life free from frills that were «vigorously removed» in favor of austerity and universality (the new residential housing was projected not as architectural (master)piece, but an industrial product) to cover the very basic needs, namely the bed, toilet and refrigerator for the individual to act productively. It played a part in the creation of the «simple man» construct which was a core element of the Soviet universe, whose world, in turn, was placed between microdistrict and cultural pleasures, centrally produced and distributed.

The exhibition deals with material representation of the mass residential construction through the story of a wall breakdown in a typical Khrushchyovka in Kharkiv. 12-years long correspondence between the subject and the structures vertically traveling up and down like an elevator — and functioning as a sham connection with the sun; alternative sources and shifted aquifer horizons; volatility of structures and enveloping echo of the late modernism, hovering over the Eastern block until today.

There could be main protagonists or composite parts in this story, but they are in deep water, too.