Modern Art, Architecture and Urbanism in the Frame of Two Ideological Regimes: Modes of Dealing with Cultural Contradictions and Continuities in the Bata Company Town of Zlín.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Barbora VACKOVA, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
The paper will focus on the relatively short history of the city of Zlín (Czech Republic; the company town of Baťa shoe factory build mostly during the first decades of the 20th century), specifically on the transformation of the capitalistic aesthetics and ethos into the socialistic one. The plan of the city as well as its architecture was based on the ideas of functionalist urban planning – besides the central position of the headquarters of the Bata's growing company, the zoning was applied. Next to residential, educational, health and social facilities were built also cultural facilities and infrastructure (film studios, space for exhibition of contemporary art, film festival, etc.). The city and the factory became tightly interconnected and the cultural politics was an inseparable part of the continuous building of the city identity: the avant-garde became an important part of the image of the city and was connected to the political and economic elite. Not only the cultural infrastructure, but also the myth (in the sense of Barthes) of the Baťa family and the city, became unacceptable after the coup d'état in 1948, the regime had to deal with this capitalist legacy. The transformation of the city from the capitalist regime to the state socialist one was a difficult economic, but even more complicated cultural and ideological task.  But despite the fundamental ideological rupture it is possible to observe important continuities in cultural politics and it brings about questions we would like to discuss in our paper: What made a difference between the modernistic “socialist” and “capitalist” discourses and practices and what, in contrary, were the similarities? What techniques were applied in the process of redefinition of the city image, what role was played in this process by the cultural institutions of the city and also by the artists themselves?