Exhibition “There are no bananas. Time travel to Soviet daily life”
Take a trip back in time to daily life in the Soviet era.
On 28 April, we opened a new exhibition in the TV tower’s entrance gallery, called “There are no bananas. Time travel to Soviet daily life ”. The exhibition runs until 1 October 2017.
This exhibition takes a look back at a period that today we feel free to laugh about. Those who lived during those times can remember the absurdities of the era and share stories with their children, while foreigners with no personal nostalgia for the Soviet period get a chance to cast a glance into the everyday lives of people behind the Iron Curtain.
This was a time when you couldn’t just go into a supermarket and buy everything you needed. There were just the production quotas set by a central state planning committee, and resourceful do-it-yourself solutions had to fill in for the many things that were lacking. It was a time of bare store shelves, longing for Western-made goods and endless queuing. The expression “deficit” didn’t have anything to do with the state budget but signified shortages in everyday life. Generally, whatever one needed simply wasn’t available!
We focus on the 1970-1980 period in particular. By this time, the Soviet regime had been in place long enough for people to realize shortages were here to stay. For some, the period coincided with a happy childhood; a time of curiosity and learning. For their part, the grown-ups just tried to cope with everyday life.
The period spawned many humorous and absurd stories. It was a time when personal connections or a job in the official commercial system meant everything. Visitors can now experience the period by moving down various trajectories that would have been typical for an average family back then.
There was a strong push to standardize everything at the state level. Identical looking cars, stores with the same selection of merchandise, the same sorts of buildings, the same sorts of flats occupied by people with similar-looking clothes and even similar thoughts going through their minds.
In spite of the regime’s attempts, people rejected total conformism. They tried to survive, get by and do so with as much comfort as possible – despite the thin conditions. This is the story told by our exhibition.