House of Bright Light

2011 Moscow State University of Electronics, Radiotechnics and Automation; Moscow Biennale parallel program

Light projections and multichannel sound installation
Site-specific

The installation opened as a part of Moscow biennale parallel program: its dates fitted perfectly with academic year of the university, which I had finished in 2008.

Visiting it for 5 years and observing how the space of Soviet modernism architecture with typical sparse planning was shrinking: the glass area was decreasing, infrastructure was degrading, and distant buildings were eventually closed, there were less light and air inside and outside of the complex, I found myself thinking from time to time about the necessity to conserve a part of the building and the views from its windows. The final plan was to set a temporary area, cleared from all last time interior additions, wall plates, boxes, network cables and debris with the reconstruction of sunrays flux as when they were available to get into. The sunrays are quite significant for modernism buildings feel.

The situation seemed like to end as faceless office and educational center reconstructed with cheap plastic materials hiding original concrete, suspended ceilings and standard glass frames. Windows were shielded from the sun by a chain of new blocks of flats.

As a place for restoration, one floor of closed for students building (named under “E” index) with adjacent stairs was chosen. Initially it served as a university dining hall, and the selected floor rebuilt by its tenant organizations to a lesser degree was half–empty by that time. New brick walls and sheet metal blocked all windows from direct light.

Firstly, sunrays directions to be restored were modelled in DIAlux software. Then powerful metal halide spotlights with color temperature similar to the sunrays were installed, and some windows glued over with frost divergent filters.

Loudspeakers installed in the place reproduced sounds of steps and voices usually presented there when there were a lot of students.

Visitors could find the exposition with directions and maps posted in the social network group about 4th biennale (Vkontakte.ru social network, now renamed to vk.com) https://vk.com/club30041854. They entered the university using guest pass cards, which were provided to them on the entrance.

During the time when exposition was in function there were not any problems either with building “E” tenants or the university security service.