‘Double Agents: Modern Design in the Cold War’

‘Double Agents: Modern Design in the Cold War’ by David Crowley (Royal College of Art)

Cold War Modern at the V & A: 1945 – 1970: Modern design as intellectual activity supports or disturbs the cold war.

Bodydoubles: castro, kennedy, stalin
What about things and buildings.

How can an object be a double agent?

Space race, the home east and west and suitable housing
International exhibition grounds by super powers
The supermarkets
Telecomm
Satellites
Fashion

All arenas of design & political spaces : 1960

New claim that eastern block are providing a superior economic worlds and outstrip us economy
Osa wasp scooter

Film celebrates new modern housing estates: dancing in a Le Corbusier block singing “its ours its ours”

Superman, cover image for Opus Magazine, by Roman Cieslewicz, 1968.


Superman cccp and usa: mirror effect

M.A.D: symmetry

Despite east west difference, two camps increasingly resembling each other

P70 coupe + Chevrolet corvette: echoing of the double. Pattern in the home, street and the world in east and west. Mirroring effect of the cold war.
Rotating objects around a vertical axis, not horizontal axis, east and west and not north and south.

Mr freedom: 1969
La chinoise: association of social minister of culture my maoist radicals in Paris by jean luc godard

Pablo Ferro: Dr Strangelove opening sequence, mid-flight intercourse. No offspring form this artificial insemination
Cold war politics and culture
Failsafe:usa, 1963 Sidney lumets
Manhattan is traded for Moscow and pilot commits suicide when drops bomb in the city.

Buckminster fuller: build a dome over the Manhattan Island. 1 mile high at centre. Warm air would make it float and would be tethered and would create a Mediterranean city. An antidote to the polluted city.

Reimagines that it could be a shelter against radiation fallout and would be of pre-stress steel and could stand a nuclear blast. Using Manhattan for utopian and dystopian

Ralph Lapp: must we hide? Premonition

Invasion usa, 1952 Alfred E Green showing the destruction of Manhattan

Vaclav cigler: mirror to the town? Czech 1965
Bisects the island and create a new skyline and Manhattan is in deep shadow
Similar to superstudio 9 they describe it as pop architecture and blow it up large) continuous monument series. Link the world with Cartesian grid like network to connect people at all times. Ciglers mirror is more dark, fear to look down on to city from the air.

Defence mechanism from the satellites above or military preoccupation of laser missiles and video navigated missiles. Cigler is thinking in more poetic and darker way.
Similar but diff context Cigler is citizen from socialist Czech rep. not anti soviet or anti amercian more deep seated and Manhattan is perfect territory for incubation of anxious society.
Disaster and dreamworld could be polarities
But a single object might contain within them these two double agents! These two polarities.

Eames chair is fibreglass origins and rooted in military processes. Or go forwards used in weapinincold war conflicts in eurpe during to persuade east Europeans of the merits of a consumer democracy.

American commodities promoted
Schizophrenic state: Commodity/weapon and weapon/commodity relationship
Image of the home as a plastic home full of gadgets or as a ruin.
A carcass house like those that have been swept by nuclear explosion. Utopian dystopian.
Existential anxieties

1956: Alison and Peter Smithson: house of the future, ideal home exhibition. Normally mock tudor but imagine 1980 home. Flowing spaces inside. House turn downwards and organised around central patio space. Cave like space of smooth panels from floor to wall to ceiling. Hose is full of gadgets, Regulated temperature shower and would blow you dry., The bed was a nylon cover, perfectly regulated environment and therefore the temperature was accurate.
They turned to pop architecture to attract publics to conceiving the future to engage with popular culture and modern technology. Detroit: tech centre, complex interchange ability
House of the future represents optimism.

Dust is an anxiety; plumbing is separate form the house
Why do we need a vertical column of unbreathe daire above you?
Entrance is an airlock, it is a submarine, a sense of sealing the house from the outside. Threat of external threat. Vertiginous quality, house of the past, mans future is of the past. Caves, sites of fear, Sci-Fi film show nuclear explosion

The world of null-aby ae van vogt

Is this house reveals cold war conscious entersin to the desing inconscuously
Inscribed with these anxieties
But the reverse could be true Cold war could be commodified esp. 1950s

1961-.62
Herman kahn, military strategist. High anxiety. Business satisfied demand by prov solace with products to fallout shelter handbook. Family radiation survival kit, port-o-biff, visitor.
Underground world home corporation at ny worls fai 1964
Luxury bunker. Natural considirations of lighting, dawns dusk, night, New murials: LA or NYC.
Tru purpose of survival after attack form soviet are ignored and ther are more luxurious reasons to live underground. Safety brings about .

Lewis mumford
What does it mean to lok back on the house of thr future?
1970: pesce: Dom Landscape subterranean house commune. House of part of underground city in alps. Period of great contaminaitos ad the plastic has now dispappeared and lal that is left is the stoen supports and shell. And the plastic ohosue of the future has become a tomb. Mood shoft around 1970. late 60s rep hight of tech modernity. Anf beginngi of dystopian sensibility on both side o fthe curtain,

Double agent
Buckminster fuller: 3rd iteration of dome to save planet from eco and destruction of city by industry.
VAL slovec artist new city (ways and aspect of tomorrow) save man from his or her greatest threat.
Ring city would allow natural to be untouched and to persist. Industrial perfection
Alternate utopian

Ettore sottsass
Rep lieration of life on earth. On strike to produce consumer goods and untap hidden pressures

Coldwar doubles
Walter pichler helmet: portable living room
Enclose the persons head

Krzystof wodiczko personal instrument, 1969
Amplifies the world
Now MIT tutor

Haus Rucker: environment transformers
Utopian in environment that proclaims utopian

Switch off the world
TV helmets: 1960 designs
Looking for commercial ways in counter culture

Allegorically speak for state surveillance reject collective, accentuates the individual

Cold war doubling
Question of extent to which we are living out cold war modernity today. Consumerism and military has produce landscape of what we have now.

Empty rhetoric James Bond mythology. Dystopian and utopian are contained at the source of the object.

Comments
Laura watts
Landscapes: what are the kinds of landscape of the future.

W inherited cold war mythology that the iron curtain was an impenetratable wall of east and west but in professional classes there was a lot of exchange. E.g. the VAL project was displayed first in Italy by Russian architects

Architecture avoid psychology for explanation because interesting stuff, but making this reading would

Solution soon becomes the problem and reprogrammed.

Monsanto : Disneyworld
Plastic and economic shift, problem of plasticity in post 2nd war period

Caves and the enemy and the troglodyte
Saddam Hussein, osama bin laden.

James bond and military construct are embedded in caves

Bush and his us and them rhetoric. What will happen post barrack? He quashes his own family to make it about us and them and not all of us.

North south top down mirroring.

Islamic science in middle/dark ages,we are not backward and primitive we carry the torch of medicine and science

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