24.08 / Conference

Cultural Code and Brand Identity

What associations do foreigners have when they hear about Russia? Why does a city need its identity? How should historical stereotypes be used to create a modern and relevant visual concept?

Creating branding for a territory, a fashion collection, a documentary film or a series of souvenirs — all of these processes now require a preliminary research that applies methods from ethnography, anthropology, and semiotics. Replicated images from the 1990s, Cyrillic lettering on T—shirts and even the emergence of female Cossacks are all just part of the search for common cultural codes and identity.

 1. ‘Irrational Geometry: How to Find Contemporary Visuality’ / Injil Samad Ali, ‘Tsentsiper’

Japanese, American, Scandinavian or Dutch design — it is possible to understand what is behind each of these definitions. But does contemporary Russian visuality exist? Beyond the exploitation of traditional arts, Russian avant-garde and late Soviet city culture. Designers at ‘Tsentsiper’ tried to find it out. 

Designer Injil Samad Ali will speak about their research and how to use the method of de-construction of visual cliches.

2. Discussion 'Russian Cultural Code and Identity' / Alexander Elzesser, Heart of Moscow / Vladimir Lifanov, Suprematika / Katya Fedorova, Telegram channel 'Good morning, Karl!'

Traditional stereotypical khokhloma paintings, samovars and matryoshka dolls aren’t the only souvenirs that can be found in Russia. Merchandise with references to the Soviet—era cars, tubes with “astronauts food”, pins with ballerinas — the range of topics has visibly expanded. At the same time, the authorities of several regions have began raising their city brand awareness; now the city of Irkutsk has its own identity, and so does the union of the Golden Ring towns. Recently, the Russia’s Tourism Brand Identity contest was completed, and surprisingly, the winning project was a Suprematism logo. Where can we find images and cultural codes that everyone would understand? What sources to turn to? And how to integrate them into modern products without losing relevance? During the discussion, Alexander Elzesser, the founder of the Heart of Moscow, and Vladimir Lifanov, creative director of Suprematika agency and the creator of the concept that won the Russian Tourism Brand Identity competition, will discuss how to strike a balance between stereotypes, recognizability and style, using nostalgic images and new forms. The discussion will be moderated by Katya Fedorova, author of the Telegram channel 'Good morning, Karl!'.

3. ‘What’s to Your Name: Culture Code and Stereotypical Thinking’ / Dmitry Soloviev, Anton Averyanov

Risky deeds, love of freedom, the ability to truly make friends and constant self-reflection — what are them all? Is it a set of irrelevant representations from classics or an actual part of the Russian cultural code? Are Russians really so different?

Dmitry Solovyov, ex-researcher, and Anton Averyanov, strategist at Fanatic agency, will show what Russians think about themselves and what they tell others. Researchers analyzed texts of Russian and foreign writers and publicists about Russia, also conducted in-depth interviews with expats living in Russia and a quantitative survey of users in Russian-language social media.

4. 'City Code: Opposite the Left Bank', film screening

The City Code is a transmedia project exploring the urban environment. In addition to the film crew, the project involved sociologists and anthropologists. The work resulted in a film Opposite the Left Bank, containing eight personal stories about what constitutes the identity and the essence of a city, told by its residents. Through separate novels, the film allows to see the city as a space of dialogue and as an authentic character. The film will be presented by the author of the project, producer Anna Selyanina.

Contemporary Russia conference brings together professional researchers from various fields, including sociologists, biomedical specialists, marketing managers, analysts and cybersecurity experts. In brief lectures, discussions, and screenings they will provide facts, numbers and surprising results of their research of the country and the everyday lives of its citizens. Four days of the conference are dedicated to four main topics: Money, Values, and Happiness, Human, Movement, and Space, Word, Network, and Security, Cultural Code and Brand Identity. Each day requires separate registration.

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