Modernity: a 1930s view

As part of the Flatpack Festival, there's  going to be a screening of Dziga Vertov's silent documentary Man with a Movie Camera (1929). The film shows Soviet men and women in Kiev and Odessa interacting with the machinery of modern life at work and at play. It's very avant-garde in style, using a wide range of cinematic techniques to portray industrialization and modernity. Its use of extreme close-ups, double exposures, quick editing, tracking shots, jump cuts and split screens made it an early example of modernism in film. 

Clearly, not all these techniques can be employed in the design of a poster. However, you can see the influence of some of them in several of the London Transport posters in the Archives.  For example, Edward McKnight Kauffer's poster advertising the Earls Court Motor Show in 1937 employs methods similar to those used in Russian photo-montage while Austin Cooper's poster for the Imperial War Museum (1932) not only shows modern weapons, but superimposes one image on another in a way reminiscent of the techniques used by Vertov. 

Edward McKnight Kauffer, detail from poster for Earls Court Motor Show, 1937

Edward McKnight Kauffer, detail from poster for Earls Court Motor Show, 1937

Austin Cooper, detail from advertising poster for the Imperial War Museum, 1932

Austin Cooper, detail from advertising poster for the Imperial War Museum, 1932

Why not try some of these for yourself? Or you could visit the Archives to uncover evidence of the 1930s view of modernity ...