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 debris with the reconstruction of sunrays flux as when they were available to get into. Sunlight is essential to the modernist feel.

The situation seemed like coming to the end as a faceless educational center reconstructed with cheap plastic materials hiding original architectural elements. 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.

Artificial sunlight was re-created using powerful metal-halide spotlights and dispersion filters that were installed outside of the building and cover its broken windows.

Hidden loudspeakers were set up to reproduce sounds of steps and voices usually presented there.

Visitors could find the exposition with directions and maps posted in the social network group about the 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 at the entrance.