Skip to content
Evoluon 2 (crop 1)

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Science and technology exhibition, Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 2 (crop 1)
Britain Can Make It 1 (crop 1)

Mural in the Furnished Room, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Britain Can Make It 1 (crop 1)
Taiwan 1 (crop 1)

Sketch of exhibition layout,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 1 (crop 1)
Britain Can Make It 2 (crop 1)

Tea Bar, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Britain Can Make It 2 (crop 1)
Taiwan 2 (crop 1)

Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 2 (crop 1)
Exhibition 1

Construction of exhibition space,
Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Exhibition 1
Taiwan 3 (crop 1)

Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
UoB Design Archives

Taiwan 3 (crop 1)
B&BwFord

President Ford, Robert Staples, and Barbara Fahs Charles
with model of the "Levitating White House," for the Ford Museum, 1980
Staples & Charles

B&BwFord
Francisco 2 059

Sketch of Australia section,
Commonwealth Institute, London, c. 1961
UoB Design Archives

Francisco 2 059
Festival of Britain 2 (crop 1)

Fashions Hall, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
UoB Design Archives

Festival of Britain 2 (crop 1)
Evoluon 1 (crop 1)

Gallery view of The Senster,
Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 1 (crop 1)
PhotographyandtheCityinstallSI19681

Installation view, Photography and the City,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 1968
Staples & Charles

PhotographyandtheCityinstallSI19681
Evoluon 3 (crop 1)

General view
Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
UoB Design Archives

Evoluon 3 (crop 1)
previous arrow
next arrow

Notifications
Clear all

Flea Markets...

 

Claire Wintle
 Claire Wintle
Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 55
Topic starter  

Dear Liya,

Thank you for presenting your research, which I enjoyed very much. I was really struck by your visual analysis of the pamphlets and visitor guides – so often in museum history these sources get employed as texts rather than visual or material sources, so that was great to see.

My question relates to the ‘flea market methodology’ (are you going to coin that phrase?! Perhaps my colleague @annebella Annebella Pollen - who looks at mass photography and everyday life - has a better term??) I would be interested to hear you reflect a little more on the limits and benefits of finds in these arenas. I was fascinated to hear about the ubiquity of material related to the VDNKh in Moscow – the size and longevity of the exhibition clearly make it different to searching for evidence of a small historic gallery in a provincial museum (for example), but as a historian, did you have to take certain things into account when you used the flea market finds in your research?

Best wishes, Claire Wintle

This topic was modified 1 year ago by Claire Wintle

Quote
Kate Bowell
 Kate Bowell
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 6
 

I'm quite certain I found an old framed exhibition label from National Museums Scotland at a flea market two years ago. I didn't realize it at the time, but it's identical to ones I've seen since. Apparently, at one point, huge amounts of materials were just thrown out from the museum into dumpsters and people scavenged from there. I wonder, with the VDNKh and other institutions, visitor souvenirs aside, how much of their material ends up for sale after they think they've disposed of it...


ReplyQuote
Claire Wintle
 Claire Wintle
Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 55
Topic starter  

That’s really interesting Kate - to think of the museum archive as an official, carefully constructed impression, and the flea market as an accidental, unauthorised assemblage... Did this distinction create different impressions of the VDNKh Liya?


ReplyQuote
Liya Wizevich
 Liya Wizevich
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 5
 

Dear Claire,

 

Thank you so much for your question and kind words about my work!
The visuals of the pamphlets, guides and maps were some of my favorite parts about the research because of how striking they were not only visually, but because of the depth of their interior texts. The great thing about VDNKh is its longevity, and its constant changes. These kinds of sources can give a historian access to the ideas that were manifested to the visitor on a very precise timeline, and there are really subtle shifts at times, while at other points in the history there were major upheavals.

I love that term, maybe that can be a new thing!  I certainly plan to keep using ‘flea market methodology’ because of how tightly controlled sources in the Soviet Union and now Russia are. It is really difficult to access archives, so that becomes a more secondary source, and these relatively unofficial ways of gathering sources becomes more primary.

Certainly looking at sources that were largely given as souvenirs or other keepsakes from visitors gives the perspective mainly of the visitor. This doesn’t give access to behind the scene plans or official notes and directives from the leaders or head of VDNKh. They are also more simplistic. A lot of the things are images that already have been seen, in the form of post cards, posters, commemorative plates etc. However, sometimes they can be fun- even if they aren’t groundbreaking. For example, there was a really interesting ashtray. It was shaped like an octagon and each side had an image of a different national pavilion. So since it was such an important local tourist spot, there are a lot of knickknacks that are tossed away that don’t shed any more light on a new area, but can help to cement our understanding of its design in that era through the images.

In sources from the Soviet Union, it is important to read them through the lens of the government they were published under. As such they really can’t be taken at face value, and it is vitally important to know the corresponding state policies that directed the message. A message is sent in any Soviet object. VDNKh was, as I’ve said, not only a place for enjoyment and relaxation. The state wanted the tourism to serve an educational purpose for the citizens. As such, even these small knickknacks have to be analyzed with this in mind.

Best wishes,

 

Liya


ReplyQuote
Liya Wizevich
 Liya Wizevich
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 5
 

@kbowell

This is so interesting! I hadn't thought about the museum or exhibition itself tossing out materials that would end up being sold. I haven’t come across any material at flea markets in Moscow that had at one point been on display in the exhibition itself. Its mainly been materials that were sold or handed out to tourists, either through educational programs or a gift shop sort of method. However, I would absolutely love to find this kind of label! The pamphlets themselves that I use take the reader on a tour through the pavilions, but to be able to read some of the initial labels that have now largely been lost or destroyed would add so much! 

 


ReplyQuote
Liya Wizevich
 Liya Wizevich
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 5
 

@claire-w

This is a really good thing to think about. Certainly VDNKh was extremely carefully planned, as were all museums in the Soviet period. I think that the materials that can be found at a flea market will also be curated in ideology- since they were produced under the same controlled system. However, the way we now understand or contextualize the objects outside of their museum environment will be unstructured and uncharted in form, and this can lead to very different conclusions! 


ReplyQuote
Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
 

Dear Liya, 

Claire tagged me in these discussions as an attendee who researches flea markets and also uses primary source material from flea markets in other projects (my partner is also a secondhand dealer). I don’t necessarily have a readymade methodology to offer you but there are some great studies of secondhand cultures (see especially the work of Louise Gregson and Nicky Crewe in their book of this name, plus the edited collection Everyday eBay) that look at the networks and discourses that sit beneath secondhand material and ‘secondhandedness’ (Kevin Hetherington). The key challenge of such material (‘orphaned’ or ‘found’ as it is described in some circuits, such as history of photography) is, of course, that its origins and object biography (Kopytoff) are hard to locate and reconstitute especially as many traders don’t record and sometimes deliberately conceal their sources as trade knowledge. But many scholars use fleamarkets as improvised and alternative archival sources - there was a recent #twitterstorians thread on the subject that you might be interested in. 
Hope this helps,

Bella


ReplyQuote
Liya Wizevich
 Liya Wizevich
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 5
 

@annebella Thank you very much! I am eager to look up this literature as well as this thread on twitter!

 

Best,

Liya


ReplyQuote
Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
 

@liywiz You are welcome!


ReplyQuote