Soviet Futurism
July 15, 2013 5:47 AM   Subscribe

Tekhnika Molodezhi was the Popular Mechanics of the Soviet Union. The magazine, whose name means Technology for the Youth, had illustrations of everything from space stations, computerized farming, transport of the future, friendly robots, to more abstract images. If you don't want to hunt through the archive, Mythbuster's Tested website has a gallery of 201 great images from the magazine.
posted by Kattullus (24 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
Очень интересно! Спасибо!
posted by mazola at 6:07 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I liked the old future.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:20 AM on July 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

good post, comrade
posted by thelonius at 6:30 AM on July 15, 2013

They also got nyet packs instead of jet packs.
posted by pracowity at 6:39 AM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

This is awesome Kattulus, thanks.
posted by Think_Long at 6:47 AM on July 15, 2013

That friendly robot looks like it is part of the Telephone Police, leading glum children to punishment for failure to develop proper phone etiquette.

On the other hand, I loved space age bus. No one fucks with space age bus, not spindly car or or skateboarding astronaut. No one!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:48 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's gorgeous art, and so Soviet in the colors and the ever-looking-upwardness of all the representations of people. Thanks for linking!
posted by xingcat at 6:52 AM on July 15, 2013

Arrrgh! Capitalism!
posted by Artw at 7:04 AM on July 15, 2013

Incidentally, I was only partially joking about Stalin. The magazine makes a dramatic shift towards the end of the Stalin era from "what the youth can do to provide for a strong industrial Soviet Union" to a forward-looking glossy about the unlimited possibilities of the future. Partly I think this is the war's end and the view that now they'd survived the worst so anything was possible, but it also reflects the end of Stalinism as a policy, though the goal of improving industrial output through innovation is far closer to a more realistic goal than jetpacks, it just doesn't make for a splashy magazine.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:17 AM on July 15, 2013

This website is temporarily unable to service your request as it has exceeded it’s resource limit. Please check back shortly.

*/Joins queue, hopes the shelves are re-stocked with Soviet Futurism soon.*/
posted by notyou at 7:18 AM on July 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

1953 - What Stalin?
posted by Artw at 7:21 AM on July 15, 2013

The capitalist running dogs, who are doomed to be left in their squalor when the sons of Mother Russia forge a path to the stars, are exceeding our servers' resource limits.
posted by logicpunk at 7:22 AM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Яolcats. This stopped being updated a couple years ago, and some of the image links are borked now, but it totally captures the tone that logicpunk did.
posted by fatbird at 7:32 AM on July 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:17 AM on July 15, 2013

In Soviet Union, technology magazine predicts you
posted by Renoroc at 8:41 AM on July 15, 2013

Are people having trouble with the website? I haven't run into any problems with it.
posted by Kattullus at 9:44 AM on July 15, 2013

I don't understand if the people who ran that Yaolcats blog couldn't read the Russian captions or just made careful efforts to appear that way.
posted by Nomyte at 10:55 AM on July 15, 2013

I haven't seen a copy in a long time but the former USSR, then Soviet Life, now Russian Life magazine (mild propaganda organ) that liked to portray Soviet life from a sunny-side-up, middle-class POV.

Interestingly it crapped out in 1991 when the government couldn't finance it any more, and in 1995 it was bought out and revived by a Vermont company.
posted by Twang at 1:02 PM on July 15, 2013

It's nice to see that when Americans talk about merely faking the moon landing, the Russians are looking ahead to faking a landing on one of Saturn's moons.
posted by ckape at 3:07 PM on July 15, 2013

Futuristic does not equal Futurism. This is all post-Futurism and mostly Socialist Realism despite any futuristic or fictional intent.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:22 PM on July 15, 2013

The word "futurism" has two meanings, one refers to a collection of avant-garde movements in the early decades of the 20th Century (including the various Russian futurist groups) and the other refers to yearning for an ideal future. The title I chose for this post, "Soviet Futurism" was a play on this double meaning.
posted by Kattullus at 5:44 PM on July 15, 2013

Right, Katttullus, but I also think it's worth noting (and vaguely hilarious) that these science fiction images are in a style known as Realism. As far as actual Futurism, the typography on the oldest covers is closest to that style, which I also find mildly amusing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:52 PM on July 15, 2013

Well, it would make sense as the graphic design of the pre-WWII Soviet period is suffused by the ideas of the avant garde. And heck, this 1969 cover could be an illustration of an EL Lissitzky sculpture. I know he was a Suprematist, but the Suprematists were a sub-group or out-growth of the Cubo-Futurists and I would include them within the larger umbrella of Russian futurism.
posted by Kattullus at 6:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's Czech, not Soviet, but one of my favorite films is Ikarie XB-1, an absolutely splendid example of the kind of gorgeous futuristic mise-en-scène from the iron curtain world. There's this brilliant mix of the celestial and the ominous that the Soviets managed in their spacecraft design that's still present in the current generation of Soyuz. There was an awful lot wrong with their future, in the end, but man, they sure had a firm grasp on the look and feel of it.
posted by sonascope at 7:45 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

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