Opening: 6 September, 2019
Through an aerial exploration of the utopian city of Avtozavod (Russia) and its surroundings, the video installation Autopia (2015-2018) created by Matthieu Martin, forms the point of departure for an interrogation of our historical and geopolitical understanding.
Beginning on the banks of the Oka river – where Vladimir Shukhov built the world’s only diagrid hyperboloid transmission tower in the late 1920’s – the film brings the viewer’s attention to the heart of the utopian city. Throughout the story the audience is slowly transported back in time to 1929, when the Soviet government made a contract with the American company Ford and the architect Albert Kahn to create the “first socialist city in the world.” It is the first city built in Russia after the revolution and the biggest car factory in Europe of its time – a copy of the Ford Rouge plant in Detroit, Michigan.
Through extensive research in newspapers, books, and historic film recordings of the original locations Matthieu Martin explored this mostly unknown collaboration between the Soviet Government and the American company, as well as the expectations emerging from it. Almost satirical if not real, the contemplative journey into the “Soviet Detroit,” enables us to see the vitality of the city today, the former realm of the socialist dream and – when looking at the master plan – the almost hidden traces of the American presence.
Aperto Raum is a nonprofit space devoted to the dialogue between East & West, with a regular program of precisely curated shows and public programming.