Soviet, Sacred, Sexual
A Bakhtinian Reading of Architecture in Khrzhanovsky’s DAU
Before DAU the film, there was DAU the built environment, an architectural setting populated with flesh and bone, imbued with meaning, and endowed with agency. An eclectic, idiosyncratic, metamorphic, and utterly sexualized architecture of nipples and vaginas, hands and legs that both incarnates the Bakhtinian carnival and perpetuates it. Based on a series of exclusive interviews with the project’s set designer Denis Shibanov, the present paper explores the grotesque architecture of DAUniverse with its carnal Institute and the ephemeral City in the Sky. Without necessarily posing problematics or drawing specific conclusions, it considers Khrzhanovsky’s cinematic artwork through the Bakhtinian lens, providing insights into the potency of its material culture.
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