Golovnev I. A. The “Living Museum” and “Struggle for the Culturfilm” by Boris Sokolov

I. Golovnev - Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0003-4866-7122
E-mail: golovnev.ivan@gmail.com


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ABSTRACT. In the 1920s–1930s USSR, a distinctive direction of ethnographic cinema was formed, manifesting itself in a wide range of methodological techniques, creative styles, and effective methods of interaction between scholars and filmmakers. The article is devoted to a significant episode in the history of Russian visual ethnography related to the actualization of the heritage of the famous museum expert, folklorist, and ethnographer Boris Sokolov. The study focuses on his theoretical search and practical experiments in synthesizing the format of a scholarly film and applying cinema technologies within the framework of his concept of a “living museum”. The article is based on previously unaddressed materials created by Sokolov during his work as the head of the Central Museum of Ethnology, i.e. textual and visual documents from the storages of the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art and the Russian State Archive of Film and Photo Documents, as well as on the scholar’s thematic articles in Soviet periodicals. The author highlights the distinctive features of Sokolov’’s concepts, among them using cinema as a resource for “animating” museum displays and as a means of correlating the exponatura and ethnonatura, allowing the viewer to make a film journey from the museum hall to the respective cultural location. Practical initiatives of Sokolov in conducting joint academic and cinematographic expeditions and demonstrating films created in museum exhibitions were innovative for their time and remain relevant for modern practices.


KEYWORDS: ethnographic film, visual anthropology, museum, Boris Sokolov, Cinema Atlas of the USSR


DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-3(13)-244-263
УДК 778.53:39



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