Vera Pavlovna's Fourth Dream
The structure of the nuclear family has determined the division of labor and power relations within the confines of the bourgeois (and other) family home(s) and it has provided the material foundation to the capitalist society; whether we talk about the production of capital per se or the social and gender roles produced by this paradigm.
The space of the family home has been built in accordance with the fundamental ideas of private and public life in a given society. Subsequently, the changes that occurred within that society would in turn result in transformations of the space as well. After the Second World War, following the rise in employment of married women as well as the popularization of television, the living room took more and more a central place and often replaced the position formerly occupied by the dining room, so in former Yugoslavia. To what extent can architecture and design be used to reform social relations instead of only reflecting them?
Starting from the influential book Chto Delat by the Russian philosopher, journalist and literary critic Nikolay Chernyshevsky (1863) and his concrete descriptions of the living (and working) spaces of the two main protagonists, Lopuhov and Pavlovna, Fokus Grupa intends to research into various cases of literary, visual, design and architectural proposals, prototypes, ideas, projects and practices that have been dealing with the idea of social transformation via the design of utilitarian objects since Modernism, considering living spaces in particular. In researching these cases Fokus Grupa wants to look for their potential but also to examine their miss-realizations, and miss-appropriations by corporate culture and corporate production (i.e. International Style, IKEA etc).
The research intends to follow a two-fold path: As the design of private space should follow the design of private life, it is important to research into the material design practices but also into the social design that intends to propose alternative social structures, alternative basic social units to the prevailing nuclear family.
Fokus Grupa is an artist collective based in Rijeka, Croatia. Their work points to the social, economical and political frames of the art field. Their practice is collaborative and interdisciplinary, and they work across art, design and curating. Fokus Grupa concentrate on the relations between art and its public manifestations, in terms of working culture, aesthetics, and social and economic exchange values. They have exhibited in museums and venues internationally including: Offbiennale Budapest, Visual Culture Research Center, Kiev; A3bandas, Madrid; MACRO, Rome;, MCA, Ljubljana, MCA, Zagreb, Magazzino del Sale Venice; Calvert 22, London; Tranzit, Bratislava; Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna; SKUC Gallery, Ljubljana; Miroslav Kraljević Gallery, Zagreb; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.