New East Digital Archive

Novosibirsk’s modernist legacy — in dance

9 April 2021

A new short film is reinterpreting the legacy of industrialisation and Soviet architecture through dance.

Set in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, Stal-Gorod, (“Steel City”) watches as dancers dressed in workers’ overalls execute machine-like movements to hypnotic, monotone rhythms that echo against grandiose staircases, grand halls, and socialist factory spaces.

The film’s title is a reference Express: Siberian Fantasy, an essay about the future of Soviet cities by Alexei Gastev, a Russian poet, revolutionary, and pioneer of scientific management, who played a prominent role in the Russian revolution. In Express, Gastev imagines Novosibirsk as a perfectly organised, high-tech city.

Stal-Gorod takes place in some of Novosibirsk’s most notable modernist buildings, such as the Globus Theatre, the V. V. Mayakovsky Concert Complex, the Siberian National Academy of Sciences in Krasnoobsk, as well as the State Public Scientific Technical Library.

The short film, directed by Evgeny Gavrilov with music from Sleepers Club, an EP by Dyad, Gavrilov’s solo electronic band, was released as part of the City of Tomorrow exhibition, an project by the German Goethe-Institut to celebrates the legacy of Soviet modernist architecture.

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