Cybernetics and Arts: The Soviet Group Dvizhenie 1964-1972
Dvizhenie (Movement) 1964–1972 was the first art group
in the Soviet Union that worked with cybernetics. In addition to practicing
artists, the group cooperated with actors, musicians, chemists, engineers
in radio-electronic and light-technology, psychologists, architects, physicists,
poets and performing dancers. The text accompanying their exhibition at
the Palace of Culture of the Kurchatov Institute for Nuclear Research
stressed the necessity of contiguity between art and science. In future
cooperation between art and technology, “art is not to be limited
to ornamentation, but to be inculcated in the production processes”.
The notion of the participation in the “intensive rhythm of life”
as one important task – is reminiscent of a slogan from the 1920s.
The cybernetic art of Dvizhenie has the form of kinetic light-colour-sound
environments with “life-transforming” content. In 1967 their
Cyberevents was shown in the engineering block of the Peter and
Paul fortress in Leningrad, followed by Little Eagle, a cybernetics
pioneer game-amusement camp in Odessa, and Cybertheater. The
Artificial Bio-Kinetic Environment from 1969, was a utopian virtual
reality project presenting a future city of 35-40 million people. Paradoxically
enough, Dvizhenie’s members were able to move in the circles
both of the extremely official (propaganda produced for international
trade shows, military and space research, design for control rooms at
airports and big industries) and the in-official (free jazz, long hair,
drugs, existentialism and Hemingway) - that the people interested in cybernetics,
new technology, design, art, bionic-architecture and future urbanism and
city planning frequented.
Dvizhenie was the first group in the Soviet Union that succeeded
to produce big exhibitions “without content” from the point
of view of Socialist Realism ideology. How did they manage? This paper
will give a historical context for the visual traces and present concrete
strategies to realize them.