All for Architecture
DOI link for All for Architecture
All for Architecture book
Existing assessments of architecture culture producers who operated in the immediate postwar period include name-calling (“party apparatchiks”), counting the members of the former avant-garde among those who “compromised themselves during the era of Stalinism’s ‘hardening of class battles’ so as to fight the ideological battle, or by taking on party functions,” and exclusionary tactics banishing a decade of textual production from anthologies on the basis of ideological wavering and partyspeak (Halík 2005: 309). 2 The first does not sufficiently acknowledge the fatal interlocking of individual lives with the historical and ideological circumstances or the particularly “productive” linguistic dimension of the project of Socialism. The later two are typical of the local historians who still vividly remember their own involvement in the Velvet Revolution and serve as the harshest moral judges of their predecessors. It is only from a position of relative freedom of speech and prospect of stable livelihood that the contortions and panic found in some of the immediate postwar pronouncements can seem morally bankrupt and a matter of political choice alone. But it is not for the sake of relieving the 1950s of their ideological conundrums that a more generous view is in order. The characters that lent their voices to the nationalization of architectural practice— to the project of building architecture under Socialism—may indeed have been protecting their own lives and livelihoods by doing so. But if their task is understood as one of making sense, at least in writing, of the historical continuities and discontinuities of the project of Socialist architecture, the statements they produced comprise a colossal attempt at logical and ideological coherence. Cultural producers’ attempts at theoretical coherence—elusive, due to the historical facts themselves, and murkier than either their supporters or critics believed—are laced with instances of genuine belief, nostalgia for the revolutionary prospective, and, 123at times, forms of resistance pursued alongside episodes of sheer absurdity and pathos in the early 1950s.