Woodbury School of Architecture and the Woodbury Hollywood Gallery (WUHO) are pleased to announce the opening of The Infrastructural Monument by Anna Neimark. The opening is on Thursday, December 8, 7 p.m. and runs until December 18th. Anna Neimark’s installation, constructed out of fifty-four three-foot cubes of EPS white foam, re-imagines a piece of infrastructure as a monument of a complex history when a canal from Moscow to St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) was built during the second Five Year Plan, under Josef Stalin. More information on the installation after the break.
She writes: “The political monument, under the Soviet regime, was embodied in the construction of a new water infrastructure. Geography was thus transformed into an architectural scale. Concrete, machines, and water formed a single continuous artificial landscape. Representing this object as both geographic and architectural, the installation extrudes one side of the canal system into a foam wall—an infrastructural monument.”
A Moscow native, Neimark is interested in the way that the canal was represented by the Communist regime during its construction. Far from being strictly a functional piece of infrastructure, used as a route for the transport of goods to and from Moscow as well as an instrument for producing energy to electrify the nation, the canal was depicted as a monument that displayed Stalin’s (or “Communism’s) power to dominate nature with technology and science.
When this portion of the canal system was complete, Stalin’s geographer Nikolai Mikhailov proposed extending its reach across the entire territory of the Soviet Union. Mikhailov imagined the canal changing the nation’s ecology. He predicted that deserts would bloom, marshland could be drained, and that the frost line could be moved to make room for more arable land. Today, the canal stands as a ruin.
The Infrastructural Monument re-presents the canal as a piece of architecture—a monument extruded in foam to capture its massive geographic scale—through the language of architectural models and drawing.
Anna Neimark is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the USC School of Architecture and a Founding Partner of First Office, a speculative practice, whose large-scale work conceptualizes the design of skylines, city grids, monuments and urban blocks. She has received numerous honors, including the Harvard GSD Appleton Traveling Fellowship, the Soros Fellowship for New Americans and the Princeton Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Architecture. Neimark holds an M.Arch I from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and a BA in Architecture from Princeton University.
Funding for the exhibition and research has been provided by the USC Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences (ASHSS) and the Harvard GSD Appleton Traveling Fellowship.
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