Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands @ Triennale di Milano

No Need For The Real? Triennale di Milano

September 2-16, 2012

La Triennale di Milano is an international cultural institution which organises exhibitions and conferences as well as hosting arts, design, architecture, fashion, cinema, communications and social events. It organizes cutting edge, high profile exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art and social issues, with nationally and internationally renowned architects and designers, and top stylists who have influenced tastes and customs.

Visualization of "AR Orator no5," by John Craig Freeman at Triennale di Milano, 2012.

It is also a museum which researches, studies and represents Italian design from all different points of view; the Triennale Design Museum is an ever changing museum, attentive to the history of design and to the entire design system (businesses, manufacturing districts, the region where it operates, research, publishing and education). It is also a laboratory of ideas, addressing not only its followers, students and professionals, but also the audiences of the future, children and young adults, with experimental and interactive activities dedicated to the culture of design. It is also the Teatro dell’Arte (Art Theatre), amongst the most significant theatres on the Milan scene, recently annexed to the Triennale again, and a new benchmark for cultural projects and performing arts. It is also the Palazzo dell’Arte (Art Palace) in the centre of Milan, within Parco Sempione, one of the city’s historical parks, designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of any particular performance or exhibition.

“Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands,” by John Craig Freeman is based of the work of Gustav Gustavovich Klucis, including his designs for Screen-radio Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands from 1922.

Klucis was a pioneering member of the Russian Constructivist avant-garde in the early 20th century. As Russian politics degenerated under the Stalin dictatorship in the 1920s and 30s, Klucis came under increasing pressure to devote his artwork to state propaganda. Despite his loyal service to the Communist Party, Klutsis was arrested in Moscow on January 17, 1938. His whereabouts remained a mystery until 1989, when it was discovered that he had been executed by Stalin just after his arrest.

Each of the virtual Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands display a black and white animation from a contemporary mass uprising; Tank Man near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989; the assassination of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was gunned down in the streets of Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests; scenes from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 Arab Spring; and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street uprising. Each of these images are juxtaposed, in montage, with frames from the Odessa Steps scene of Sergei Eisenstein‘s historic Battleship Potemkin film. When touched, the virtual objects play sound from the uprising. The stands call up both the resurgence and nostalgia of current worldwide political idealism as they re-imagine the museum plaza in the function of the public square.


  • To view the work on location at Triennale di Milano, using any late model iPad, iPhone or Android, download the free Layar Augmented Reality Browser (http://layar.com) and scan this code


Orators, Rostrums, and Propaganda Stands, was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been exhibited at Kunsthallen Nikolaj in Copenhagen, Triennale di Milano in Milan, Window Zoos & Views, DAW 2013 in Singapore, exURBAN SCREENS in Melbourne, and for SIGGRAPH ASIA 2013 in Hong Kong.

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