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Posted 03.26.10 | PERMALINK | ESSAY

Gavin Browning, Greta Hansen & Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong: Trans Siberia



Moscow
It is not uncommon to be greeted by human-sized cartoon characters — pink plush and purple polyester — as you near the Kremlin. Beside glinting advertisements, trinkets of local peddlers and tourist hordes exiting the underground mall next door, Red Square is a perplexing slew of queues. Abrupt hand gestures accompany the characteristic Russian bureaucratic tedium. Visitors to Lenin’s mausoleum pass through a series of queues for security checks that ensure that forty seconds of individual viewing time will not cause harm to the dramatically-lit body. His monumental tomb is a newer, 20th-century addition to the Kremlin, the seat of Russian political power and formerly that of the Orthodox church. Death, not only Lenin’s embalmed corpse, surrounds the Kremlin walls. One by one, the graves of Soviet politicians line the Kremlin wall. Included in this list of renowned figures is Joseph Stalin, who at one point was displayed in Lenin’s mausoleum but was eventually moved alongside other, more minor leaders of the revolution.

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ABOUT THE ESSAY

Trans Siberia
On Places, selected images from Trans Siberia, the new exhibition at Columbia's Studio-X New York, focusing on the administrative buildings of the Communist party in the former Soviet Union and China.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong is a partner in the creative duo Warm Engine.
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Gavin Browning holds an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA in English from The New School University. He was the director of Studio-X, a downtown Manhattan extension of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he curated events and exhibitions, and edited The Studio-X NY Guide to Liberating New Forms of Conversation (GSAPP Books, 2010).

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Greta Hansen is a partner in the creative duo Warm Engine.
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