Information as Spectacle: Second World War Exhibitions by the Ministry of Information

Information as Spectacle: Second World War Exhibitions by the Ministry of Information Abstract The Victory Over Japan exhibition opened during the heady days following the Allied victory in the Second World War. As one of a series of exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Information (MoI), with pioneering designer Misha Black, the Japan show attracted over one and a half million visitors in just four months. The MoI exhibitions were considered a primary means of wartime communication for the government, and Black’s pre-war ties to continental figures like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius via the MARS Group ensured that the propagandistic successes of the progressive exhibition designs of the 1930s were seized upon for the war effort. Japan combined simulated jungle-like conditions with modernist idioms, and used mixed media displays to create an immersive, sensory exhibition that could convince the public of difficult foreign policies through the construction of an ‘official’ narrative. This paper analyses Japan and other MoI exhibitions as a means of reflecting on the impact and influence of wartime exhibition design techniques. I argue that not only did the field of mixed media exhibitions develop throughout the war, but that it contributed in significant ways to the blossoming of modern forms of design and display in the post-war cultural arena. Introduction On 6 and 9 August 1945, atomic bombs were exploded above the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, introducing a completely new category of violence and finally bringing the Second World War to a close. As news spread of Japan’s intention to surrender, early celebrations erupted in cities across the world. Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast on what is now known as VJ Day, 15 August 1945. Less than a week later, on 21 August, the recently installed Prime Minister Clement Attlee inaugurated a major exhibition on Oxford Street, and the opening ceremony was carried out with much pomp and celebration. Attlee’s welcome speech for the Victory Over Japan exhibition was met with cheering and applause, and the following day the show was packed, with a queue of people waiting to get in that stretched along Oxford Street and round the next corner [1].1 Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Exterior view, Imperial War Museum (IWM) D25874 Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Exterior view, Imperial War Museum (IWM) D25874 Although the designers of the exhibition had set out to focus public interest on the subject of Japan in the pre-atomic bomb days, before victory had been achieved, this did not detract from the interest of the general public, who attended the exhibition by the thousands. The exhibition ran for four months and was visited by over 1½ million people, with an average daily count of more than 10,000 individuals. Victory Over Japan would be the final ‘war-time’ example of the prolific use of exhibitions as government-sponsored propaganda under the auspices of the Ministry of Information (MoI). The MoI was the government department in charge of publicity and propaganda between 1939 and 1945, and was thus responsible for the majority of official wartime exhibitions. George Orwell had worked in the censorship department of the MoI for two years during the war, but became disillusioned by their efforts. He famously went on to write Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which he drew on his experiences to create a fictional ‘Ministry of Truth’. When describing the ‘Ministry of Truth’ Orwell no doubt had in mind an exaggerated vision of the University of London’s Senate House, which had been the MoI’s headquarters throughout Second World War, and it is this conception of the MoI that has endured in popular imagination: ‘It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the air.’2 This article considers the striking profusion of multimedia exhibitions put on by the British government during the Second World War; or, the intersection between official wartime propaganda and the use of avant-garde exhibition design as a form of communication. As such, it draws from the histories of both, including the many important studies on propaganda in its various forms, relating both to Britain and to other countries.3 Public exhibitions at this time were a crucial means of communication that contributed to the construction of the public imagination in the years before television ownership became widespread.4 With their aim of appealing to a broad audience, exhibition designers were often more in tune with changing public sentiments than other media-based specialists. The most far-reaching significance of didactic, information-based exhibition design in mid-twentieth century British society lies in the privileged discourse it offered in terms of the interplay between individuals and ideas or ideologies. Furthermore, exhibitions offered the possibility of providing a multi-media environment that conveyed ideas or information as spectacle.5 This study examines how wartime exhibitions worked as ‘rhetorical projects to transform and control perceptions and behaviours, thus realizing a modern subjectivity’6. With modernity, there is a shift in the traditional relationship between viewing subject and viewing object, and this shift becomes manifest everywhere: in the city, of course, but also in contexts defined by technological experience, including newspapers, photography, advertisements, telephone, film, and exhibitions. Since the mid-1920s, artists fascinated with the possibility of creating temporary public exhibition spaces had viewed this kind of installation design as one of many new arenas for mass communication that would transform the experience of modern life. The historical consideration of this brand of exhibition-making as an artistic method brings in forms of communication designed to influence attitudes or beliefs. Accordingly, the presentation techniques of advertising are also significant, as the directness of their communicative strategy was intended to provide a key stimulus for the approach taken in the installation of these exhibitions. This proximity to marketing and advertising display permits a closer investigation of the mnemonic and temporal systems of the day, which exhibitions have always had to respond to. State propaganda bodies across western European recognized the ground–breaking avantgarde example of El Lissitzky’s 1928 contribution to Pressa in Cologne for its capacity to fuse the most dynamic of textual and visual devices.7 Although the MoI’s use of immersive and participatory techniques in their exhibition designs had its roots in Lissitzky’s Constructivist spatial designs, these strategies were assimilated and appropriated in order to promote a particular political position through the stimulation of the body and the mind. Lissitzky had been concerned with presenting bits of visual information in an open manner that encouraged the visitor to bring the experience together in his or her mind. By contrast, the propaganda exhibitions by the MoI were designed to do the work of this integration on behalf of the viewer; interpretation was thus controlled and manipulated in a number of ways. The aim of this article is to assess the engagement of spectacular techniques in establishing modes of communication that are defined by the control of viewer perception. To that end, it follows Jonathan Crary’s observation on the creation of the modern spectacle being inextricably linked to a disenfranchised public: ‘Spectacular culture is not founded on the necessity of making a subject see, but rather on strategies in which individuals are isolated, separated and inhabit time as disempowered.’8 Currents of Exchange The phenomenon of experience as it was constructed by what can be described as a modernist conception of exhibition design at this time also reveals the currents of exchange between continental Europe and the UK, specifically through the Modern Architectural Research (MARS) Group. MARS was founded in 1933 ‘when a number of modern architects came together for research and discussion of technical problems of common interest, and the furtherance of the modern architectural idea’.9 MARS had strong links with continental European modernist groups, which partially derived from strong personal and professional ties formed with modern architects in France and Germany. Such ties were strengthened from 1933 onwards, when many European architects escaped the spread of fascism in their home countries, and the UK became a place of refuge that allowed them the artistic freedom to develop their ideas.10 The incorporation of montage techniques and modern graphic effects into a three-dimensional display designed as a medium of communication can be traced back to the Dutch trade exhibitions of the 1920s, in which a particular visual experience was closely aligned to a modern trade form.11 These display methods were developed through De Stijl experiments in Holland, through German and USSR manifestations, and found their way into Parisian modernism.12 Exhibitions of this kind contained a complex interplay of discourses and represented the porous lines of differentiation between architect, audience, artist, designer, critic, painter, and photographer. László Moholy-Nagy’s well-known innovative montage techniques were integrated with Bauhaus exhibition techniques at his 1937 Electricity Show Rooms in London, in which he worked alongside Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry.13 To promote this market, the group prepared a display in which electrical appliances were arranged in ways that emphasised their formal qualities. Gropius and Fry designed a photomural that showed the lights along the Thames, while Moholy created ‘an ingenious might machine that threw melting and merging colour images onto a dark wall of the showroom.’14 The display at the Electricity Show Rooms shared some design overlaps with the MARS group exhibition held at the Burlington Galleries, London in January 1938. Fry headed the MARS exhibition committee, and Moholy-Nagy acted as exhibition director until he relocated to the United States in August 1937, after which he was replaced by Misha Black.15 Black had worked alongside Milner Gray in the design consultancy firm Industrial Design Partnership (IDP) since 1935. Black was only twenty-seven years old at the time, and while he had no official training as an exhibition designer—indeed, there was no such educational scheme in place—he had started as an office boy in an exhibition firm and worked his way up from there.16 The MARS show used a variety of images, both handmade and photo-mechanical, as well as objects, models, prototypes, and furniture to create an integrated overall environment that explained and situated the ideas of the MARS group. By the time the exhibition opened in January 1938, the exhibition format had already developed over the previous decade as a key medium of communication. What emerges in exploring the development of modernist display as manifested in the MARS group exhibition and later in the government-sponsored propaganda exhibitions during the Second World War is the development of the story-telling strategy as a tool of persuasion as well as a means of generating popular interest in subjects that could otherwise be seen as uninteresting. This was certainly true of some of the themes of the wartime exhibitions, which included topics such as rationing, fuel salvage, and fire-safety; but it was also relevant for the MARS exhibition, as Le Corbusier explained in his account of the opening party: [The audience] was so delighted with all it saw as to let itself be gently carried away by the promise of town-planning, construction, and technology — things which by all the rules ought to have been invincibly tedious and forbidding. But the only memories of these the guests took away with them were of the lyrical appeal of these poems in steel, glass, and concrete.17 In a group of papers in which the organizers outlined various particulars of how it should be arranged, the exhibition was likewise described as ‘scientific’, and its story-telling strategy was made clear: It is not intended that the exhibition should be a trade show, but rather that it should be scientific and popular in its appeal. That is to say, trade products will not be exhibited individually as such, but will take their place with photographs and models in telling a continuous story.18 However, more than simply fulfilling the function of differentiating the exhibition from a trade show, the story-telling approach was important for providing legibility or clarity in an exhibition’s message. As we shall see, this became crucial for disseminating propagandistic information to a mass audience during the Second World War. Official Bodies A report by the Design Research Unit (DRU) in March 1947 revealed that during 1938 some seventy exhibitions were held in Great Britain, and noted the attendance figures for pre-war exhibitions as follows: 238,510 during the nine-day showing of the Motor Show in 1938, 340,871 at the British Industries Fair (BIF) in 1939, and 568,754 during the twenty-three days of the 1938 Ideal Home Exhibition. The report estimated that the total attendance at major exhibitions in the country during 1938 was not less than 1.4 million. The 3.528,902 visitors to the 1943 Army exhibition in London and four provincial towns and the 750,000 in attendance for the 1942 Battle for Fuel exhibition in six towns indicated that public interest in exhibitions was not diminished by the war.19 Display and exhibition culture developed quickly after the Great Exhibition of 1851.20 The Ideal Home Exhibition started in 1908 and the BIF in 1914.21 The fairs gave manufacturers the chance to present new products in stands commissioned from innovative design firms. These events were sponsored and promoted by the government, thus occupying a unique position between commercial and state activity.22 The UK government recognized the need for a specialized body to deal with matters relating to exhibitions, and in 1907 an International Exhibitions Committee was set up as the section responsible for overseas international exhibitions within the Department of Overseas Trade at the Board of Trade.23 In 1920 the British Institute of Industrial Art (BIIA), the first public organization to promote industrial art, was initiated to assist the Department.24 The Council of Art and Industry (CAI) superseded the BIIA in 1934. The CAI had a committee for Presentation and Display led by Frank Pick, and—following what was widely seen as the failures of the display techniques at the British Pavilion at the 1937 World’s Fair—they were interested in learning from what they viewed as ‘modernistic’.25 In February 1938, on the back of the successful MARS group show, Serge Chermayeff and Misha Black were called in for separate interviews with the government committee.26 The interviewers (led by Pick) were concerned with defining what was necessary for the production of a successful exhibition.27 Black had worked on exhibitions based on both the expression of abstract ideas as well as the promotion of physical goods for sale, and in his interview with the Presentation and Display Committee, he stressed how both types of display shared a similar mechanism of persuasion: I think the only principles of display are to sell the goods … I am putting it a little abruptly when I say selling goods. You may be selling an idea, however you like to put it, and then perhaps someone says something different, but the basic way to approach the problem is to think of selling it.28 This statement highlights the important overlaps of propagandistic intent with commodity culture. Black would reiterate this in his 1950 book Exhibition Design: ‘Basic exhibition theory: 1) the task of every exhibition is to sell something’.29 Furthermore, Chermayeff described the design of exhibitions as ‘telling a story’, and alluded to the important issue of audience circulation: ‘The potential display artist should be drawn from the young architect because they have had the problems of traffic movement, or organic wholeness and so on.’30 These statements highlight the possibility of selling something by means of a story that physically guides the audience, crucially tying the intellectual and sensory process to spectator movement. With the outbreak of war in 1939 exhibitions organized by commercial firms for immediate or indirect product sales disappeared and the importance of the exhibition for the propagation of ideas assumed a new significance. The needs of the time required a fresh approach to the problem of display, and in 1940 an Exhibition Division within the MoI was created to handle the issue.31 Milner Gray was initially employed to head this division, and Gray was immediately anxious to get Black on-board.32 The Exhibition Division started small but was prolific and grew rapidly, making persistent appeals to the Board of Trade for further resources in the form of manpower and finances.33 A small blurb published in a May 1941 issue of Advertiser’s Weekly claimed that the MoI already had plans for 1000 exhibitions, with ninety starting in the next month: ‘it is anticipated that the exhibition medium will become a recognized part of the structure which the Ministry is building to maintain contact with the public.’34 It was clear that the successes of the progressive exhibitions of the 1930s were going to be seized upon for the war effort. Writing in 1948, Black summarized a dynamic of continuity between the exhibition styles of the 1930s and the propaganda imperatives brought about by the war: The use of exhibitions as a direct propaganda medium was employed before the war chiefly at the great international exhibitions where countries vied with each other to gain the sympathy and approval of millions of visitors to these contemporary festivals. The catch phrase ‘national projection’ was coined to explain this deliberate seeking of approbation, fear or compassion for a nation as a whole. At these World Exhibitions we saw the development of a technique for conveying abstract ideas and explaining complicated technical processes to the lay public, which was more fully orchestrated as a propaganda medium during the war.35 Despite the attention given to these exhibitions in the architectural press of their time, they have received little attention since. In the fields of exhibition or design history the tendency has been to focus on case studies from the ostensibly more dynamic eras defined as the ‘interwar’ and the ‘post-war’ periods, a historical bookending that has largely overlooked the British wartime propaganda exhibitions.36 In his assessment of the ‘Festival of Britain’ Michael Frayn described the period from 1937 onwards as ‘a decade of nothingness’.37 This article argues for the contrary: that this wartime period manifested remarkable continuity and progression between important examples of work done during the 1930s and the post-war examples that blossomed in the 1950s, which were in fact prompted by active participation in wartime exhibitions. The following section explores the government-organized exhibition as a significant means of communication during the war. As a crucial aspect of the visual culture of communication, these exhibitions played a critical role in the creation of a discourse of power that cultivated the production and management of public opinion at a turbulent moment in modern history. ‘The Wartime Exhibition’ A long article entitled ‘The Wartime Exhibition’ appeared in a 1943 issue of The Architectural Review, and celebrated the public exhibition, claiming that it had become the most significant means of communication in recent years.38 Written by German-born architect Gerhard Kallmann, the article gleefully proclaimed: ‘In no other field of art and architecture have the war years brought us so generous and so healthy a harvest as in exhibition design.’39 Kallmann addressed the striking issue of modern design idioms being adopted by governmental wartime exhibitions: How is it that the same Government which must accept responsibility for the insipid and hackneyed new Whitehall waterfront and which always hesitated in international exhibitions to commit itself to advanced aesthetic standards, should now make it its official policy to canvass for ideas by means of the idioms of Stockholm 1930 and Le Corbusier? In London, such a dramatic synthesis of drama and lightheartedness had, before the war, only been seen in the MARS Group Exhibition of 1938.40 Kallmann went on to identify the works of modern architects in the field of exhibition design, explaining that: These pioneers found themselves isolated from the public, and could not express themselves in the way most natural to architects, i.e. through buildings, they made deliberate use of exhibitions to fight for their ideas. They gave to us, to name the most important [...] The Building Exhibitions at Berlins in 1929 and 1931, Le Corbusier’s Des Canons, des Munitions? Merci, des Logis SVP at the Paris Exhibition of 1937, and the MARS Group Exhibition in London in 1938.41 The eleven-page article by Kallman included photographs of both the Pavillon des Temps Nouveaux and the MARS group show, acknowledging this distinctive grouping of exhibitionary phenomena in the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, the significance of the identification of this continuity in exhibition design is amplified by its indication that not only did the field of mixed media exhibitions develop throughout the war, but it seems to have provided the very arena in which modern forms of display were developed at this time. Rather than going through a period of hiatus, the experimental and progressive course begun at least a decade earlier was picked up and put to the service of new goals determined by wartime conditions. Kallmann’s article discussed the scope of wartime exhibitions and praised the work of the Exhibitions Division: ‘MoI style at its best, a style imaginative and contemporary, somewhat aggressive, yet not without aesthetic delicacy.’42 Gray would later observe that ‘the impulse from the MARS group exhibition in 1938 was considerably developed in the work of the Exhibitions Branch at the MoI during the war’.43 This point was reiterated in the captions to Kallmann’s illustrations, such as those for London Pride, the first MoI show to be held in a designated exhibition space, inside Charing Cross station.44 The caption reads: ‘London Pride, at Charing Cross Underground Station, on a small scale, but already with the full orchestra of Corbusier-MARS effects’.45 All of the installation photographs featured in Kallmann's article reveal a use of modernist design concepts and the expressive juxtaposition of display panels. In a 1946 interview with Gray and Black that discussed the influence of wartime exhibition technique on post-war design, the interviewer brought up these early wartime examples: Right from the start, you introduced modern design idioms in a forthright way. Designers are familiar with this idiom through the examples of pre-war exhibitions abroad—in particular the Paris Exhibition of 1937; to the general public, however, MoI shows must have come as a surprise.46 This assertion raises an important point: although the innovations of Le Corbusier’s Pavillon des Temps Nouveaux were intended to establish a clear line of communication to a general public, it was recognized that its design concepts were only truly registered by a contingent of specialists in the field. By assimilating some of the formal strategies that were pioneered in the 1930s, the MoI brought these idioms to a much broader audience, in an undertaking that surely had the effect of normalizing what had once seemed original or esoterically ‘modern’. However, there is more here than a simple analogous relationship bringing together the formal idioms of the pioneering exhibition designs of the 1930s and the propaganda shows that flourished during the war. This grouping of exhibitionary practices in the mid-twentieth century can be more effectively analysed against the modernist dialectic of viewing subject and viewing object, as experiments that imply positions about how subjects relate to objects at any given time. The term ‘subject’ is taken here to mean both individual consciousness and ideologically produced consciousness in general. In the case of the wartime propaganda exhibitions, this indicates a concern with the construction or manipulation of the subject through the means of a spectacular event by an official body with an agenda to sell the notion of war. The most significant and sustained attempts to outline the changed relations of the subject in a systematic aesthetic and critical theory is found in the body of work generated by Walter Benjamin and other thinkers associated with the loosely categorized Frankfurt School, as well as the earlier writings of Georg Simmel.47 Benjamin’s avoidance of disciplinary distinctions, establishing himself instead as a student of ‘experience’, makes his theoretical writing an especially obvious foundation for the study of exhibitions. In her evaluation of Benjamin’s ‘One-way Street’, Susan Buck-Morss explained that it was the ‘glare’ of modern life that led him to compare urban experience to the enchanted forest of fairy-tales.48 Urban spectatorship was transformed by the production of consumer goods and the abundance of their display, especially within the new settings invented to celebrate these goods, including world fairs, the arcades, and lavish store fronts: World exhibitions glorify the exchange value of the commodity [...] They open a phantasmagoria that people enter to be amused. The entertainment industry facilitates this by elevating people to the level of commodities. They submit to being manipulated while enjoying their alienation from themselves and others.49 This concept of conflating the person with the commodity (or, that which is being produced) at the world fairs provides clues in understanding how the persuasive power of the wartime exhibitions under consideration was achieved. Benjamin recognized that the mechanisms of phantasmagoria had the effect of coupling living bodies to factory-produced objects, or machines.50 Furthermore, the feeling of alienation was symptomatic of a depoliticized and passive public, fostered by the array of spectacles and illusions of mass media, as described by Crary.51 The transformation of human activities and relations into things by the action of economic fetishes cultivated a situation in which an individual became alienated, irreparably separated from his or her freedom. It should be noted however, that while political alienation and economic alienation are not one and the same, we can be sure that there are vital links between them.52 In this way, we can appreciate the purpose of spectacle as providing a distraction from the reality or truths that the regime wished to conceal or even rewrite. With this conceptual backdrop, we can begin to identify the changing patterns, styles, and techniques of communication via the channel of spectacular exhibition design during the war, and to assess its potential impact upon the target audience. Information as Spectacle The MoI’s exhibition activities were divided into three categories: Home Displays, Home Exhibitions, and Overseas Displays and Exhibitions. The wartime exhibitions of main concern to this article came under the authority of the Home Exhibitions section of the MoI’s Exhibition Division. These included exhibitions of a larger scale that generally featured a number of physical exhibits and involved a full-scale design and construction job. The first such show was Battle for Fuel, which opened at Dorland Hall, London in October 1942, before travelling on to Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle, and Glasgow. A reported three quarters of a million visitors saw the Fuel exhibition in its six showings, and it was widely held to be a successful example of propaganda in three dimensions.53 Visitors entered the exhibition through a full-sized plaster replica of the winding passage of a coalmine, complete with pit pony and life-sized models of miners at work. ‘Emerging from the gloom of the mine,’ the visitor was greeted with illuminated pictures, photo-screens, loudspeakers, and posters in the kind of immersive, sensory exhibitionary technique that Black later described as ‘so exciting and interesting that people came away with the message [concerned with saving fuel] firmly in their minds. We used all the techniques of the psychedelic dance hall.’54 This fun-fair atmosphere highlighted the elements of spectacle deemed necessary by Black for a successful wartime exhibition: ‘To work in this medium it is necessary to be a mixture of architect, publicist and theatrical producer, with preferably a touch of electrician and illusionist.’55 Particularly for exhibitions that promoted such onerous subjects as fuel saving or salvage, such characteristics went a long way in generating genuine interest and excitement. Furthermore, though the communicative strategies of exhibitions are associated with the broader realm of mass media, problems arise that are of unique concern to the exhibition designer. Writing in 1942, Black described these issues as distinct from the specialist working in other fields of mass media: Posters directly assault the innocent stroller as he walks down the street. The radio needs only to cajole the listener to turn the knob to enable its message to be heard. But the exhibition designer must usually persuade people to take the direct, positive action of making a special visit to the exhibition, to enter the building and to walk right round the show until the message is absorbed.56 Clifford Bloxham, the MoI’s Director of Exhibitions, likewise alluded to the appeal of the ‘spectacle’ that could no longer be afforded by traditional channels of mass media: ‘In newspapers it is no longer possible to be effectively spectacular in display […] It seems that a new effective mass medium would be useful in the Ministry’s work.’57 However, Black also argued that once the issue of persuading the visitor to move around the entire show had been overcome, the exhibition benefitted from the advantage of excluding all distracting elements. While the newspaper advert had to compete with other editorial content for the attention of its viewer, and the poster had to stand out amongst the exciting bustle of the street, the exhibition space—and this was especially true for the multi-sensory, immersive exhibition—could be almost entirely hermetic. In this sense, Black argued, ‘the exhibition takes equal place with the film in completely encompassing the spectator, and allowing only those distractions which are deliberately planned to accentuate the effect’.58 Aside from the mutual benefit of being free from external distractions, the other main experiential feature shared by both film and exhibition viewing is that of collective reception. This is significant in the context of propaganda because the very nature of collective reception manipulates the perceptual effects of modernity for socio-political purposes. The production of all exhibitions is an issue of psychology, and this is especially true of exhibitions of propaganda. The success of a wartime exhibition depended entirely on the intended message getting across to a lay public. The wartime exhibitions were generally formulated as stories, with their themes expressed in a narrative structure that fulfilled the exhibition’s message in a clear and legible manner. According to Kallmann, the story had to be ‘photogenic’; furthermore: It must be conceived so that barriers of apathy, lack of imagination, and ignorance can be overcome, detachment in the mind of the spectator broken down and a bridge built to evoke response, until the spectator identifies himself and his viewpoint with the argument of the exhibition.59 The Fuel exhibition was broadly deemed a success by the press for its psychological, and thus propaganda appeal: ‘The undoubted psychological value of the entire exhibition is obvious, and it is earnestly to be desired that it should be but a forerunner of other and even more ambitious followers.’60 And it was. In the summer of 1943, the MoI opened their largest and boldest undertaking to date. The Army: Equipment of a Division exhibition was a pioneer open-air show in 56,000 square feet of the bombed-out John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London [2]. The unconventional yet decidedly eloquent choice of venue had a powerful effect: ‘23,000 exhibits ranging from Churchill tanks to optical lenses’ were presented in displays that relied on modern design strategies for its impact. David Alan Mellor has described the unusual pairing of a bombsite with modern display techniques as ‘a certain kind of modern enlightenment in values set within the ruins of an exploded place’.61 The MoI’s then-Director of Exhibitions had been John Lewis’s advertising manager before the war and described retail sites as ideal ‘ready-made centres where large quantities of people go to stop and look and examine […] there is no other place where so large a proportion of the people go habitually and eagerly, with impressionable minds’.62 In the context of war, the function of the former John Lewis site was expected to shift fluidly from retail site to bomb-site to exhibition site; and the hope was that the ‘impressionable minds’ of the visitors would be retained throughout each of these manifestations. Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Army: Equipment of a Division, 1943: IWM TR 1147 Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Army: Equipment of a Division, 1943: IWM TR 1147 For the Army exhibition, the designers used interactive techniques to draw the audience in and foster interest in the material on show. One visitor to the exhibition marvelled at the ingenuity of the design of a single can of soup: Each of these tins of soup is designed, literally to heat itself in about 4 or 5 minutes… You just put a match or a lighted cigarette to a little wick and in no time at all you’re drinking hot soup. I had a can of it at the exhibition. Very good too.63 This component was an important way of involving the public as an active part of the exhibition itself. The technique originated with the early twentieth-century avant-garde experiments of Lissitzky, who was determined to encourage a more engaged populace through his radical exhibition spaces. A photograph of the site taken eight-weeks before the opening shows the rapid transformation from desolate, bombed-out ruins to efficiently thought-out exhibition space [3].The layout was mostly dictated by the existing walls of the basement, which formed a series of fourteen individual sections in which the equipment of an Army Division was displayed. These formed a series of fourteen individual courts in which the various sections and types of equipment in an Army Division were displayed. The choice of venue, on one of London’s most crowded streets, turned out to be a great success, and the exhibition attracted over 1.3 million people during its three-month stay in London.64 The World's Press News reported that nearly 20,000 people were visiting the show on a daily basis, and the information presented on the publicity poster designed by FHK Henrion suggests that the exhibition aimed for huge visitor numbers, by remaining open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and free of charge [4]. The problem of congestion was dealt with efficiently, and the exhibition was lauded for its one-way circulation and narrative guiding techniques that not only made it possible for thousands of people to pass through without overcrowding, but also tied the movement of spectators to the ideas being promoted.65 Fig 3. View largeDownload slide The bombed-out site at the John Lewis store, Oxford Street, London which was used for the Army Exhibition, IWM D15149 Fig 3. View largeDownload slide The bombed-out site at the John Lewis store, Oxford Street, London which was used for the Army Exhibition, IWM D15149 Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Army Exhibition Poster, designed by F. H. K. Henrion, IWM Art.IWM PST 4945 Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Army Exhibition Poster, designed by F. H. K. Henrion, IWM Art.IWM PST 4945 The Victory Over Japan exhibition opened two years later at the same site. Unlike Army however, this exhibition was planned over a long period and the results were far more elaborate. The idea for an exhibition covering the subject of the campaign in the Far East had emerged from concerns over a lack of public interest in and awareness of the notion that a defeat in Germany alone would not mean an absolute end to the war. Accordingly, the MoI was called upon to eradicate this view and to impress upon the British public that there would be a long and hard fight against Japan following the victory over Germany.66 The MoI’s Director of Campaigns repeatedly referred to this initiative as a ‘campaign of indoctrination’.67 A 1943 Draft Memorandum for the War Cabinet expressed the need to ‘inculcate’ the idea that: Japan is just as much the enemy of the ideals for which we are fighting as are Germany and Italy, and that the principals at stake in the East are the same as those in the West, and that it all hangs together.68 It was decided that this could be achieved by means of a large-scale exhibition and by April 1944 the MoI confirmed that a show for the John Lewis site was at the ‘design and script stage’.69 In the meantime, a number of smaller exhibitions were displayed in the busy subterranean exhibition space at Charing Cross station: Jungle Front, Ocean Front and Our Eastern Job each ran for a period of about three weeks during 1944. The government’s great enthusiasm for producing exhibitions that aimed to influence the attitudes of the public highlights the ability of such displays to achieve their intended goals. In July 1944, the MoI cited a Home Intelligence report, which claimed that ‘Hatred of the Japanese appears to be at least as strong as hatred of the Germans’.70 Furthermore, at this time, the design for the large exhibition on Japan was reported to have reached a stage of ‘finality’, but plans for the opening were postponed following a War Cabinet ruling, which temporarily prohibited all building work, except war damage repairs, in the London area.71 When Victory Over Japan finally opened on 21 August 1945—a mere six days after the surrender of Japan had been announced in the UK—the streets were filled with people celebrating what was now truly the end of the war, and the opening was brimming with ceremonial fervour. The spectacle of the opening ceremony was very much in line with the traditional association of war with pageantry, parades, and demonstrations of all kind. Contingents of Dominion troops, the Brigade of Guards, and the band of the Scots Guards, marched from Hyde Park to the exhibition site.72 In his 1950 book on exhibition design, Black commented on the suitability of opening exhibitions with such grand displays of ceremony: The alacrity with which extremely busy men accept this seemingly onerous responsibility can only be explained by their being infected by the general interest in exhibitions, or seduced by a new opportunity for finding a public, enlarged by press and radio comment, ready to listen to such expression of their opinion as can reasonably be associated with the subject of the exhibition itself.73 Like the Army presentation from two years earlier, the Japan exhibition remained free of charge throughout its run. Both exhibitions concerned themselves with the issue of warfare through progressive mechanisms of display; however, the Japan show was far more intricate. While the Army exhibition developed the efficient conception of an exhibition as a powerful propaganda machine through impressive graphics and displays, its overall environment was more defined by utilitarian necessity. Victory Over Japan was a more spectacular display that followed an information-based theme and made extensive use of mural-sized photographs, montages, illustrations, slogans, models, and full-sized replicas tracing the history of the war in the Pacific. Upon entering the exhibitions, visitors were immediately ‘immersed’ in the experience of wartime jungle conditions [5]. One reviewer described the environment as a kind of ‘jungle realism’.74 As they walked through a life-sized replica of a camouflaged enemy pillbox displaying a variety of equipment that had been captured in Burma, giant ‘cobwebs’ would brush against their hands and face. Enormous spiders could be seen curled up in webs, and ‘the sound of running water, the noise of insects, the chattering of monkeys, the calls of birds, and the wails of jackals and hyenas’ were projected from actual recordings of jungle sounds made by an Army film unit. To add a further degree of realism to this section, the temperature in the room was kept artificially heated to 120° Fahrenheit.75 Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25754 Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25754 Through the great lengths taken to simulate the conditions of warfare, the traditional relationship between the visitor and the exhibition was complicated, and the visitor’s sensorial immersion in the war-like scenario likely produced a playful impression of participation. Like the previous exhibitions described in this article, Victory Over Japan combined the use of different media to create an entirely new practice that could no longer be categorized according to the traditional classification of the various arts. The radically haptic designs of Lissitzky’s innovations were once again seized upon in an atmosphere of spectacle that stimulated the eye and the body into associating with a particular political position. Unlike the early Constructivist experiments however, the ‘activated’ viewer in the MoI exhibitions was in fact a manipulated one. Other sections of the exhibition featured a crisper, more contemporary display strategy, redolent of techniques first seen in the UK at the MARS group show, that revealed in detail how, for many years prior to the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan had been preparing for a war of aggression in a ‘bid for world power’. At the heart of the exhibition a large model of the world provided geographic information and could be viewed from an upper mezzanine that was itself encircled by various examples of the types of military strategies undertaken [6]. In other sections of Victory Over Japan, illustrations that mimicked traditional Japanese drawing styles, enlarged to mural size, emphasized the deep-rootedness of the issue; one panel proclaimed that: ‘For centuries, the Japanese have had their arrogant creed of racial pride, embodied in one man. (The emperor)’ [7]. Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view from the upper mezzanine, IWM D25767 Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view from the upper mezzanine, IWM D25767 Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25752 Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25752 Perspective was never fixed in the Japan show, and points of view shifted constantly; one exhibit used small model airplanes set over a photographic background of clouds to show the various kinds of aircraft in a birds-eye view. The exhibition was designed in such a way that the attention of the visitor was attracted by a spectacular image or display that would then direct them to the underlying concept being promoted, a strategy that mirrored that of the commodity aesthetics of the day. The relationship of exhibition design to the culture of the consumer age was crucial, and it serves as a means of understanding the role of these exhibitions during this period, as well as what was at stake in the pursuit of such strategies. By engaging the spectacular techniques of advertising and commercial display for persuasive purposes, the viewer was positioned as the ‘disempowered’ consumer in this dynamic. Conclusion The collective function of all the exhibits on show was to sell the policy of war, and the methods employed ensured the construction of an ‘official’ narrative based on this justification. In his study on Victorian commodity culture, Thomas Richards revealed that it was from the 1851 Exhibition that ‘advertisers learned that the best way to sell people commodities was to sell people the ideologies of England’.76 The great lesson that cultural historians take from the Great Exhibition is that not only did it reveal, as Richards proclaims, ‘capitalism to be the dominant form of exchange, but also that it was in the process of creating a system of representation to go along with it [...] The era of the spectacle had begun’.77 Advertising techniques were thereafter refined on the basis of a central premise initiated at the 1851 Exhibition: that the sale of commodities depended on the sale of an ideology. In the 1920s, commercial advertising play a lead role in the creation of modern spectacle. Well into the 1930s, the nature of subjective experience was constantly adapting to new technologies. Awareness in the age of mechanical reproduction, new models of circulation and transmission, the first tele- visual broadcasts, and the arrival of sound film demanded new modes of experience from their consumers.78 Another crucial development for the status of subjectivity in the 1920s and 1930s was the rise of fascism and Stalinism, and the ways in which they manifested new models of the spectacle. Although the idea of ‘spectacle’ remains an ambiguous concept, many different schools of cultural criticism have repeatedly pointed to ‘the persistence of spectacle as a generic feature of advertising in the twentieth century’.79 While it is not the purpose of this article to contemplate the various meanings and functions of the spectacle as a conceptual tool, its critical and practical efficacy in this context is based on its potential to allow for a variety of contradictory forces to seemingly fit together in a unified system. This mechanism of manipulation played straight into the hands of a government faced with the task of convincing the public to supports its—for some—difficult foreign policies. And as we have seen, such policies were undoubtedly positioned as the commodity in question at the wartime propaganda exhibitions. British officials and the press might have preferred to differentiate between the fascist propaganda spectacle and their own strategy of providing ‘information’ for the masses.80 However, these exhibitions exposed the great lengths gone to in an effort to create the atmosphere of spectacle while conveying such information. The construction of an official narrative through these large-scale exhibitions came with the problem of imposing a seemingly unified voice on a situation inherently defined by heterogeneity. The kind of totalizing impulse being projected through the creation of spectacle was surely an inadequate representation of a variety of institutions and events. In the heady days following the Allied victory in the Second World War, one could perhaps argue for the concept of spectacle as a necessary tool for the discourses of power that defined twentieth-century modernity. However, as we have seen, the MoI exhibitions were considered a primary means of communication for the government, and the flow of this kind of communication is inherently one-sided. In presenting information as spectacle, the voice of the ‘consumer’ of such information is in fact silenced. Jenna Lundin Aral is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Christopher Green at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her thesis considers a history of the exhibition format as a widespread means of communicating ideas or promoting both consumer products and political ideologies in Europe during the decades that straddle the Second World War. This project is funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and its aim is to resituate this distinctive grouping of exhibitions in the first full-length study to place them more prominently in the histories of art, design, and architecture. Aral was also on the editorial board for the 2015 issue of the Courtauld’s post-graduate research journal, immediations; and she is the current administrator of the John Golding Artistic Trust. If you have any comments to make in relation to this article, please go to the journal website on http://jdh.oxfordjournals.org and access this article. There is a facility on the site for sending e-mail responses to the editorial board and other readers. Notes 1 ‘Our London Correspondence: The Third Royal Drive’ The Manchester Guardian, 22 August 1945, 4. 2 George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Annotated Edition (1949, repr. London: Penguin, 2013), 6. 3 See, for example: David Welch, Persuading the People: British Propaganda in WWII (London: British Library, 2016); Shundana Yusaf, Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927–1945 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2014); and: Sian Nicholas, The Echo of War: Home Front Propaganda and the Wartime BBC, 1939–45 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1996) 4 In 1951 only one household in fifteen owned a television set; by 1960 ownership had risen to ten in fifteen. See Martin Pugh, Women and the Women’s Movement in Britain 1914–1959 (Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1992), 290. 5 For the use of the exhibition format to present architectural modernism as spectacle, see John R. Gold, ‘New Architecture and the Search for Modernity: Exhibiting the Planned City in 1930s Britain’, in Exhibitions and the Development of Modern Planning Culture, ed. Robert Freestone and Marco Amati (London: Ashgate, 2014), 81–96. 6 Yasuko Suga, ‘Modernism, Commercialism and Display Design in Britain: The Reimann School and Studios of Industrial and Commercial Art’, Journal of Design History, 19 (2006), 137 7 See Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, ‘From Faktura to Factography’, October, 30 (1984), 82–119; and Ulrich Pohlmann, ‘El Lissitzky’s Exhibition Design: The Influence of His Work in Germany, Italy, and the United States, 1923–1943’, in El Lissitzky: Beyond the Abstract Cabinet, ed. by Margarita Tupitsyn (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 52–64. 8 Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2001), 3. 9 MARS Group, Modern Architecture Exhibition (London: Lund Humpheries, 1937), 2. 10 See Anthony Jackson, ‘The Politics of Architecture: English Architecture, 1929–1951’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 24, no. 1 (1965), 97–107. See also Louise Campbell, ‘The MARS Group, 1933–1939’, RIBA Transactions, vol. 4, no. 2 (1985), 68–79. 11 Piet Zwart’s stand for Nederlandsche Celluloidwarenfabriek (a celluloid manufacturer) at the Utrecht Fair in 1921 was an important early example of this technique. See Nancy J. Troy, The De Stijl Environment (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1983), 124. 12 Innovative exhibition design flourished in Europe from the 1920s: examples include Frederick Kiesler’s conception of a new method of installation design at the 1924 Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik (International Exhibition of New Theater Technique) in Vienna, and El Lissitzky’s contribution to the 1928 Pressa in Cologne. 13 Iain Jackson and Jessica Holland, The Architecture of Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew: Twentieth Century Architecture, Pioneer Modernism and the Tropics (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2014), 85–87. 14 Edwin Maxwell Fry, ‘Introduction’ in Moholy-Nagy: Paintings and Collages 1914–1946 (New London Gallery: London, 1961), unpaginated. 15 RIBA Archive, F&D/23/3: Letter from Fry to Gropius, 17 August 1937: ‘how much we will miss Moholy! His wife told me today that his appointment was confirmed and my heart sank a lot’. 16 The National Archives (TNA), BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry, Committee on Presentation and Display ‘Notes of a meeting, evidence of Mr Mischa Black’, 1 February 1938. 17 Le Corbusier, ‘The MARS Group Exhibition of the Elements of Modern Architecture: A Pictorial Record’, The Architectural Review, 83, no. 496 (1938), pp. 109–116, 110. 18 RIBA Archive, SAG 91/2: ‘Particulars of the MARS Group Exhibition to be held in January 1938’ (undated). 19 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/2: ‘Group of papers concerning British European Airways’, 14 March 1947, 1–21, 1. 20 Thomas Richards, The Commodity Culture of Victorian England (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1991), 3. 21 Paul Greenhalgh, Fair World: A History of World’s Fairs and Expositions from London to Shanghai, 1851–2010 (London: Papadakis, 2011); Robert W. Rydell, World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 22 Deborah S. Ryan, ‘The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and Suburban Modernity’, PhD diss., University of East London, 1995. 23 TNA, BT 13/41: International Exhibitions Committee, ‘Report’, 1907. 24 Board of Trade, Art and Industry: Report of the Committee Appointed by the Board of Trade under the Chairmanship of Lord Gorell on the Production and Exhibition of Articles of Good Design and Every-day Use (London: HMSO, 1932). 25 TNA, BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry Committee on Presentation and Display, ‘Meeting with Mr. George Pollitzer’, 15 February 1938: Frank Pick identified the ‘modernistic type of setting’ and gave the example of the MARS exhibition. 26 In both of the 1938 committee interviews, Pick lamented the need for formal exhibition or display design training in the UK; see Yasuko Suga, ‘Modernism, Commercialism and Display Design in Britain: The Reimann School and Studios of Industrial and Commercial Art’, Journal of Design History, 19 (2006), 137–54. 27 TNA, BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry Committee on Presentation and Display. 28 Ibid.: ‘Evidence of Mr Mischa Black’, 1 February 1938. 29 Misha Black, Exhibition Design (London: Architectural Press, 1950), 12. 30 Ibid. 31 The Ministry’s Exhibition Section was created in November 1940 at the initiative of the then Director General Frank Pick and then Controller Sir Kenneth Clark. 32 TNA, INF 1/132: Reorganisation of the MoI, Displays and Exhibitions Division, ‘Extract from Minutes of Home Planning Committee’, 4 December 1940: ‘Milner is very anxious to employ Mr Misha Black, who has worked on many government exhibitions’. 33 There are a number of letters from Milner Gray in TNA file INF 1/132 complaining of overworking his staff. 34 ‘M. O. I. Have Plan for 1,000 Exhibitions: 90 Start Next Month: Big Scheme for Propaganda Shows in Britain and US Now in Operation’, Advertiser’s Weekly, 15 May 1941. 35 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: ‘Designing Exhibitions’ Manuscript’, 18 February 1948, 3–4 36 One notable exception: Veronica Davies, ‘“Steering a Progressive Course”? Exhibitions in Wartime and Postwar Britain’ Henry Moore Institute Online Papers and Proceedings, 5 December 2008. See, for example: Jessica Kelly, ‘To Fan the Ardour of the Layman’: The Architectural Review, The MARS Group and the Cultivation of Middle Class Audiences for Modernism in Britain, 1933–1940, Journal of Design History 29, no. 3 (2016); Michelle Jones, ‘Design and the Domestic Persuader: Television and the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Promotion of Post-war “Good Design”‘, Journal of Design History 16, no. 4 (2003), 307–18; Leah Armstrong, ‘Steering a Course Between Professionalism and Commercialism: The Society of Industrial Artists and the Code of Conduct for the Professional Designer 1945–1975’, Journal of Design History, 29, no. 2 (2016), 161–79 37 Michael Frayn, ‘Festival’, in Age of Austerity, ed. Michael Sissons and Philip French (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963), 317–38, 329: ‘The climax of the period that had formed them all was the Paris Exhibition of 1937, and after a decade of nothingness, given the chance to work with like-minded colleagues on a project whose temporary nature encouraged them to risk boldness, they took up architecture again where it had been left twelve years before.’ 38 Gerhard S. Kallman, ‘The Wartime Exhibition’, Architectural Review, 94, no. 562 (1943), 95–106. 39 Ibid., 95. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid., 106. 43 Milner Gray, ‘Exhibitions: In or Out’, Art and Industry, 52, no. 316 (1952), 110–09, 114. 44 Charing Cross was used by the MoI for showing exhibitions in London before they went on to other sites in the country. 45 Kallmann, op. cit., 97. 46 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: Paul Reilly, ‘The Influence of Contemporary Exhibition Technique on Post-War Display’, manuscript date estimated: early 1946. 47 See, especially, Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’; ‘Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth-Century’; and ‘Some Motifs in Baudelaire’. See also Georg Simmel, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ in The Blackwell City Reader, ed. G. Bridge and S. Watson (Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002). 48 Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1991), 254: ‘In the modern city, as in the ur-forests of another era, the ‘threatening and alluring face’ of myth was alive and everywhere’. 49 Walter Benjamin, ‘Paris, The Capital of the Nineteenth-Century’ (1939), in Walter Benjamin Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings, ed. Peter Demetz (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 2007), 146–62, 152 50 The concept of the phantasmagoria was a technological manifestation of nineteenth-century spectacle that recurred throughout Benjamin’s The Arcades Project and its associated essays. See: Margaret Cohen, ‘Walter Benjamin’s Phantasmagoria’, New German Critique, 48 (1989), 87–10. 51 ‘Society of the spectacle’: a phenomenon that its principal theorist, the Situationist Guy Debord in fact dated to the 1920s, with the spread of radio and the invention of sound film and television. See Guy Debord, Comments on The Society of the Spectacle, Malcolm Imrie trans. (London: Verso, 1990). 52 Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life, Volume II: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday, John Moore trans. (London: Verso, 2002), 207: ‘Too often alienation has been seen as a single unit and as an entity: the alienation of man. In fact, there are many alienations, and they take many forms’. 53 Figure comes from Kallmann, op. cit., 105. 54 ‘The Black and Gray Revolution: Philip Norman talks to the men behind the Design Research Unit’, Sunday Times Magazine, 30 March 1969, 16–20, 19 55 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: ‘Bricks without Straw’, 3 July 1943, 2. 56 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/134: Black, ‘Propaganda in Three Dimensions’, 1942. 57 TNA, INF 1/132: Letter to Royds from C. Bloxham, February 1942, pp. 1–11, 3. 58 Black, Exhibition Design, 17. 59 Kallmann, op. cit., 105. 60 ‘The Era of the Exhibition’, Display: Incorporating National Display, 24 no. 8 (1942), 113. 61 Keynote given at Paul Mellon Centre conference ‘Exhibiting Contemporary Art in Post-war Britain, 1945–60’, Tate Britain, 28 January 2016: David A. Mellor ‘“An Art of Living”: Exhibiting across the “Long Front of Culture” in Spaces of Art and of Profane Spectacle’. 62 TNA, INF 1/132: Letter to Royds from C. Bloxham, February 1942, 5–6. 63 ‘ARMY EXHIBITION: Did You Hear That?’ The Listener, 22 July 1943, 93. 64 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/4 (1 of 3): ‘Analysis of Exhibitions of particular interest in relation to 1951’, undated. 65 ‘Nearly 20,000 People Daily See Most Fascinating Display of the War’, World’s Press News, 22 July 1943. 66 TNA, INF 1/966: ‘Morale and the war against Japan’, 1943–1945. 67 Ibid.: Letter to G.S. Royds from Mr. Buxton, 16 February 1945, 1–2. 68 Ibid.: ‘Draft Memorandum for the War Cabinet: Morale and the war against Japan’, 14 May 1943, 1–4, 2. 69 Ibid.: ‘First Quarterly Report’ 17 April 1944, 1–5, 3: Subsequent tours were planned to Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff, with four smaller replicas covering fifty other towns. 70 Ibid.: ‘Second Quarterly Report’ 17 July 1944, 1–5, 2. 71 Ibid.: ‘Third Quarterly Report’ 17 October 1944, 1–5, 3. 72 ‘14th Army’s Work in Burma’, The Times, 22 August 1945, 7. 73 Black, Exhibition Design, 18. 74 ‘Victory Over Japan’ Exhibition, The Times, 21 August 1945, 6. 75 Ibid. 76 Richards, op. cit., 5. 77 Ibid., 3. 78 For an in-depth analysis of the effect of the modern spectacle on modes of attention and perception, see: Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1999). 79 Richards, op. cit., 13, see: ‘The Commodity as Spectacle: Nos. 35-53, in: Guy Debord, Society of Spectacle (Detroit, USA: Black & Red, 2010), unpaginated. 80 ‘Information and Propaganda’ The Times 16 June 1939, 15. © The Author(s) [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Design History Society. All rights reserved. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Design History Oxford University Press

Information as Spectacle: Second World War Exhibitions by the Ministry of Information

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Abstract

Abstract The Victory Over Japan exhibition opened during the heady days following the Allied victory in the Second World War. As one of a series of exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Information (MoI), with pioneering designer Misha Black, the Japan show attracted over one and a half million visitors in just four months. The MoI exhibitions were considered a primary means of wartime communication for the government, and Black’s pre-war ties to continental figures like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius via the MARS Group ensured that the propagandistic successes of the progressive exhibition designs of the 1930s were seized upon for the war effort. Japan combined simulated jungle-like conditions with modernist idioms, and used mixed media displays to create an immersive, sensory exhibition that could convince the public of difficult foreign policies through the construction of an ‘official’ narrative. This paper analyses Japan and other MoI exhibitions as a means of reflecting on the impact and influence of wartime exhibition design techniques. I argue that not only did the field of mixed media exhibitions develop throughout the war, but that it contributed in significant ways to the blossoming of modern forms of design and display in the post-war cultural arena. Introduction On 6 and 9 August 1945, atomic bombs were exploded above the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, introducing a completely new category of violence and finally bringing the Second World War to a close. As news spread of Japan’s intention to surrender, early celebrations erupted in cities across the world. Emperor Hirohito’s announcement of Japan’s acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast on what is now known as VJ Day, 15 August 1945. Less than a week later, on 21 August, the recently installed Prime Minister Clement Attlee inaugurated a major exhibition on Oxford Street, and the opening ceremony was carried out with much pomp and celebration. Attlee’s welcome speech for the Victory Over Japan exhibition was met with cheering and applause, and the following day the show was packed, with a queue of people waiting to get in that stretched along Oxford Street and round the next corner [1].1 Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Exterior view, Imperial War Museum (IWM) D25874 Fig 1. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Exterior view, Imperial War Museum (IWM) D25874 Although the designers of the exhibition had set out to focus public interest on the subject of Japan in the pre-atomic bomb days, before victory had been achieved, this did not detract from the interest of the general public, who attended the exhibition by the thousands. The exhibition ran for four months and was visited by over 1½ million people, with an average daily count of more than 10,000 individuals. Victory Over Japan would be the final ‘war-time’ example of the prolific use of exhibitions as government-sponsored propaganda under the auspices of the Ministry of Information (MoI). The MoI was the government department in charge of publicity and propaganda between 1939 and 1945, and was thus responsible for the majority of official wartime exhibitions. George Orwell had worked in the censorship department of the MoI for two years during the war, but became disillusioned by their efforts. He famously went on to write Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which he drew on his experiences to create a fictional ‘Ministry of Truth’. When describing the ‘Ministry of Truth’ Orwell no doubt had in mind an exaggerated vision of the University of London’s Senate House, which had been the MoI’s headquarters throughout Second World War, and it is this conception of the MoI that has endured in popular imagination: ‘It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred metres into the air.’2 This article considers the striking profusion of multimedia exhibitions put on by the British government during the Second World War; or, the intersection between official wartime propaganda and the use of avant-garde exhibition design as a form of communication. As such, it draws from the histories of both, including the many important studies on propaganda in its various forms, relating both to Britain and to other countries.3 Public exhibitions at this time were a crucial means of communication that contributed to the construction of the public imagination in the years before television ownership became widespread.4 With their aim of appealing to a broad audience, exhibition designers were often more in tune with changing public sentiments than other media-based specialists. The most far-reaching significance of didactic, information-based exhibition design in mid-twentieth century British society lies in the privileged discourse it offered in terms of the interplay between individuals and ideas or ideologies. Furthermore, exhibitions offered the possibility of providing a multi-media environment that conveyed ideas or information as spectacle.5 This study examines how wartime exhibitions worked as ‘rhetorical projects to transform and control perceptions and behaviours, thus realizing a modern subjectivity’6. With modernity, there is a shift in the traditional relationship between viewing subject and viewing object, and this shift becomes manifest everywhere: in the city, of course, but also in contexts defined by technological experience, including newspapers, photography, advertisements, telephone, film, and exhibitions. Since the mid-1920s, artists fascinated with the possibility of creating temporary public exhibition spaces had viewed this kind of installation design as one of many new arenas for mass communication that would transform the experience of modern life. The historical consideration of this brand of exhibition-making as an artistic method brings in forms of communication designed to influence attitudes or beliefs. Accordingly, the presentation techniques of advertising are also significant, as the directness of their communicative strategy was intended to provide a key stimulus for the approach taken in the installation of these exhibitions. This proximity to marketing and advertising display permits a closer investigation of the mnemonic and temporal systems of the day, which exhibitions have always had to respond to. State propaganda bodies across western European recognized the ground–breaking avantgarde example of El Lissitzky’s 1928 contribution to Pressa in Cologne for its capacity to fuse the most dynamic of textual and visual devices.7 Although the MoI’s use of immersive and participatory techniques in their exhibition designs had its roots in Lissitzky’s Constructivist spatial designs, these strategies were assimilated and appropriated in order to promote a particular political position through the stimulation of the body and the mind. Lissitzky had been concerned with presenting bits of visual information in an open manner that encouraged the visitor to bring the experience together in his or her mind. By contrast, the propaganda exhibitions by the MoI were designed to do the work of this integration on behalf of the viewer; interpretation was thus controlled and manipulated in a number of ways. The aim of this article is to assess the engagement of spectacular techniques in establishing modes of communication that are defined by the control of viewer perception. To that end, it follows Jonathan Crary’s observation on the creation of the modern spectacle being inextricably linked to a disenfranchised public: ‘Spectacular culture is not founded on the necessity of making a subject see, but rather on strategies in which individuals are isolated, separated and inhabit time as disempowered.’8 Currents of Exchange The phenomenon of experience as it was constructed by what can be described as a modernist conception of exhibition design at this time also reveals the currents of exchange between continental Europe and the UK, specifically through the Modern Architectural Research (MARS) Group. MARS was founded in 1933 ‘when a number of modern architects came together for research and discussion of technical problems of common interest, and the furtherance of the modern architectural idea’.9 MARS had strong links with continental European modernist groups, which partially derived from strong personal and professional ties formed with modern architects in France and Germany. Such ties were strengthened from 1933 onwards, when many European architects escaped the spread of fascism in their home countries, and the UK became a place of refuge that allowed them the artistic freedom to develop their ideas.10 The incorporation of montage techniques and modern graphic effects into a three-dimensional display designed as a medium of communication can be traced back to the Dutch trade exhibitions of the 1920s, in which a particular visual experience was closely aligned to a modern trade form.11 These display methods were developed through De Stijl experiments in Holland, through German and USSR manifestations, and found their way into Parisian modernism.12 Exhibitions of this kind contained a complex interplay of discourses and represented the porous lines of differentiation between architect, audience, artist, designer, critic, painter, and photographer. László Moholy-Nagy’s well-known innovative montage techniques were integrated with Bauhaus exhibition techniques at his 1937 Electricity Show Rooms in London, in which he worked alongside Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry.13 To promote this market, the group prepared a display in which electrical appliances were arranged in ways that emphasised their formal qualities. Gropius and Fry designed a photomural that showed the lights along the Thames, while Moholy created ‘an ingenious might machine that threw melting and merging colour images onto a dark wall of the showroom.’14 The display at the Electricity Show Rooms shared some design overlaps with the MARS group exhibition held at the Burlington Galleries, London in January 1938. Fry headed the MARS exhibition committee, and Moholy-Nagy acted as exhibition director until he relocated to the United States in August 1937, after which he was replaced by Misha Black.15 Black had worked alongside Milner Gray in the design consultancy firm Industrial Design Partnership (IDP) since 1935. Black was only twenty-seven years old at the time, and while he had no official training as an exhibition designer—indeed, there was no such educational scheme in place—he had started as an office boy in an exhibition firm and worked his way up from there.16 The MARS show used a variety of images, both handmade and photo-mechanical, as well as objects, models, prototypes, and furniture to create an integrated overall environment that explained and situated the ideas of the MARS group. By the time the exhibition opened in January 1938, the exhibition format had already developed over the previous decade as a key medium of communication. What emerges in exploring the development of modernist display as manifested in the MARS group exhibition and later in the government-sponsored propaganda exhibitions during the Second World War is the development of the story-telling strategy as a tool of persuasion as well as a means of generating popular interest in subjects that could otherwise be seen as uninteresting. This was certainly true of some of the themes of the wartime exhibitions, which included topics such as rationing, fuel salvage, and fire-safety; but it was also relevant for the MARS exhibition, as Le Corbusier explained in his account of the opening party: [The audience] was so delighted with all it saw as to let itself be gently carried away by the promise of town-planning, construction, and technology — things which by all the rules ought to have been invincibly tedious and forbidding. But the only memories of these the guests took away with them were of the lyrical appeal of these poems in steel, glass, and concrete.17 In a group of papers in which the organizers outlined various particulars of how it should be arranged, the exhibition was likewise described as ‘scientific’, and its story-telling strategy was made clear: It is not intended that the exhibition should be a trade show, but rather that it should be scientific and popular in its appeal. That is to say, trade products will not be exhibited individually as such, but will take their place with photographs and models in telling a continuous story.18 However, more than simply fulfilling the function of differentiating the exhibition from a trade show, the story-telling approach was important for providing legibility or clarity in an exhibition’s message. As we shall see, this became crucial for disseminating propagandistic information to a mass audience during the Second World War. Official Bodies A report by the Design Research Unit (DRU) in March 1947 revealed that during 1938 some seventy exhibitions were held in Great Britain, and noted the attendance figures for pre-war exhibitions as follows: 238,510 during the nine-day showing of the Motor Show in 1938, 340,871 at the British Industries Fair (BIF) in 1939, and 568,754 during the twenty-three days of the 1938 Ideal Home Exhibition. The report estimated that the total attendance at major exhibitions in the country during 1938 was not less than 1.4 million. The 3.528,902 visitors to the 1943 Army exhibition in London and four provincial towns and the 750,000 in attendance for the 1942 Battle for Fuel exhibition in six towns indicated that public interest in exhibitions was not diminished by the war.19 Display and exhibition culture developed quickly after the Great Exhibition of 1851.20 The Ideal Home Exhibition started in 1908 and the BIF in 1914.21 The fairs gave manufacturers the chance to present new products in stands commissioned from innovative design firms. These events were sponsored and promoted by the government, thus occupying a unique position between commercial and state activity.22 The UK government recognized the need for a specialized body to deal with matters relating to exhibitions, and in 1907 an International Exhibitions Committee was set up as the section responsible for overseas international exhibitions within the Department of Overseas Trade at the Board of Trade.23 In 1920 the British Institute of Industrial Art (BIIA), the first public organization to promote industrial art, was initiated to assist the Department.24 The Council of Art and Industry (CAI) superseded the BIIA in 1934. The CAI had a committee for Presentation and Display led by Frank Pick, and—following what was widely seen as the failures of the display techniques at the British Pavilion at the 1937 World’s Fair—they were interested in learning from what they viewed as ‘modernistic’.25 In February 1938, on the back of the successful MARS group show, Serge Chermayeff and Misha Black were called in for separate interviews with the government committee.26 The interviewers (led by Pick) were concerned with defining what was necessary for the production of a successful exhibition.27 Black had worked on exhibitions based on both the expression of abstract ideas as well as the promotion of physical goods for sale, and in his interview with the Presentation and Display Committee, he stressed how both types of display shared a similar mechanism of persuasion: I think the only principles of display are to sell the goods … I am putting it a little abruptly when I say selling goods. You may be selling an idea, however you like to put it, and then perhaps someone says something different, but the basic way to approach the problem is to think of selling it.28 This statement highlights the important overlaps of propagandistic intent with commodity culture. Black would reiterate this in his 1950 book Exhibition Design: ‘Basic exhibition theory: 1) the task of every exhibition is to sell something’.29 Furthermore, Chermayeff described the design of exhibitions as ‘telling a story’, and alluded to the important issue of audience circulation: ‘The potential display artist should be drawn from the young architect because they have had the problems of traffic movement, or organic wholeness and so on.’30 These statements highlight the possibility of selling something by means of a story that physically guides the audience, crucially tying the intellectual and sensory process to spectator movement. With the outbreak of war in 1939 exhibitions organized by commercial firms for immediate or indirect product sales disappeared and the importance of the exhibition for the propagation of ideas assumed a new significance. The needs of the time required a fresh approach to the problem of display, and in 1940 an Exhibition Division within the MoI was created to handle the issue.31 Milner Gray was initially employed to head this division, and Gray was immediately anxious to get Black on-board.32 The Exhibition Division started small but was prolific and grew rapidly, making persistent appeals to the Board of Trade for further resources in the form of manpower and finances.33 A small blurb published in a May 1941 issue of Advertiser’s Weekly claimed that the MoI already had plans for 1000 exhibitions, with ninety starting in the next month: ‘it is anticipated that the exhibition medium will become a recognized part of the structure which the Ministry is building to maintain contact with the public.’34 It was clear that the successes of the progressive exhibitions of the 1930s were going to be seized upon for the war effort. Writing in 1948, Black summarized a dynamic of continuity between the exhibition styles of the 1930s and the propaganda imperatives brought about by the war: The use of exhibitions as a direct propaganda medium was employed before the war chiefly at the great international exhibitions where countries vied with each other to gain the sympathy and approval of millions of visitors to these contemporary festivals. The catch phrase ‘national projection’ was coined to explain this deliberate seeking of approbation, fear or compassion for a nation as a whole. At these World Exhibitions we saw the development of a technique for conveying abstract ideas and explaining complicated technical processes to the lay public, which was more fully orchestrated as a propaganda medium during the war.35 Despite the attention given to these exhibitions in the architectural press of their time, they have received little attention since. In the fields of exhibition or design history the tendency has been to focus on case studies from the ostensibly more dynamic eras defined as the ‘interwar’ and the ‘post-war’ periods, a historical bookending that has largely overlooked the British wartime propaganda exhibitions.36 In his assessment of the ‘Festival of Britain’ Michael Frayn described the period from 1937 onwards as ‘a decade of nothingness’.37 This article argues for the contrary: that this wartime period manifested remarkable continuity and progression between important examples of work done during the 1930s and the post-war examples that blossomed in the 1950s, which were in fact prompted by active participation in wartime exhibitions. The following section explores the government-organized exhibition as a significant means of communication during the war. As a crucial aspect of the visual culture of communication, these exhibitions played a critical role in the creation of a discourse of power that cultivated the production and management of public opinion at a turbulent moment in modern history. ‘The Wartime Exhibition’ A long article entitled ‘The Wartime Exhibition’ appeared in a 1943 issue of The Architectural Review, and celebrated the public exhibition, claiming that it had become the most significant means of communication in recent years.38 Written by German-born architect Gerhard Kallmann, the article gleefully proclaimed: ‘In no other field of art and architecture have the war years brought us so generous and so healthy a harvest as in exhibition design.’39 Kallmann addressed the striking issue of modern design idioms being adopted by governmental wartime exhibitions: How is it that the same Government which must accept responsibility for the insipid and hackneyed new Whitehall waterfront and which always hesitated in international exhibitions to commit itself to advanced aesthetic standards, should now make it its official policy to canvass for ideas by means of the idioms of Stockholm 1930 and Le Corbusier? In London, such a dramatic synthesis of drama and lightheartedness had, before the war, only been seen in the MARS Group Exhibition of 1938.40 Kallmann went on to identify the works of modern architects in the field of exhibition design, explaining that: These pioneers found themselves isolated from the public, and could not express themselves in the way most natural to architects, i.e. through buildings, they made deliberate use of exhibitions to fight for their ideas. They gave to us, to name the most important [...] The Building Exhibitions at Berlins in 1929 and 1931, Le Corbusier’s Des Canons, des Munitions? Merci, des Logis SVP at the Paris Exhibition of 1937, and the MARS Group Exhibition in London in 1938.41 The eleven-page article by Kallman included photographs of both the Pavillon des Temps Nouveaux and the MARS group show, acknowledging this distinctive grouping of exhibitionary phenomena in the mid-twentieth century. Furthermore, the significance of the identification of this continuity in exhibition design is amplified by its indication that not only did the field of mixed media exhibitions develop throughout the war, but it seems to have provided the very arena in which modern forms of display were developed at this time. Rather than going through a period of hiatus, the experimental and progressive course begun at least a decade earlier was picked up and put to the service of new goals determined by wartime conditions. Kallmann’s article discussed the scope of wartime exhibitions and praised the work of the Exhibitions Division: ‘MoI style at its best, a style imaginative and contemporary, somewhat aggressive, yet not without aesthetic delicacy.’42 Gray would later observe that ‘the impulse from the MARS group exhibition in 1938 was considerably developed in the work of the Exhibitions Branch at the MoI during the war’.43 This point was reiterated in the captions to Kallmann’s illustrations, such as those for London Pride, the first MoI show to be held in a designated exhibition space, inside Charing Cross station.44 The caption reads: ‘London Pride, at Charing Cross Underground Station, on a small scale, but already with the full orchestra of Corbusier-MARS effects’.45 All of the installation photographs featured in Kallmann's article reveal a use of modernist design concepts and the expressive juxtaposition of display panels. In a 1946 interview with Gray and Black that discussed the influence of wartime exhibition technique on post-war design, the interviewer brought up these early wartime examples: Right from the start, you introduced modern design idioms in a forthright way. Designers are familiar with this idiom through the examples of pre-war exhibitions abroad—in particular the Paris Exhibition of 1937; to the general public, however, MoI shows must have come as a surprise.46 This assertion raises an important point: although the innovations of Le Corbusier’s Pavillon des Temps Nouveaux were intended to establish a clear line of communication to a general public, it was recognized that its design concepts were only truly registered by a contingent of specialists in the field. By assimilating some of the formal strategies that were pioneered in the 1930s, the MoI brought these idioms to a much broader audience, in an undertaking that surely had the effect of normalizing what had once seemed original or esoterically ‘modern’. However, there is more here than a simple analogous relationship bringing together the formal idioms of the pioneering exhibition designs of the 1930s and the propaganda shows that flourished during the war. This grouping of exhibitionary practices in the mid-twentieth century can be more effectively analysed against the modernist dialectic of viewing subject and viewing object, as experiments that imply positions about how subjects relate to objects at any given time. The term ‘subject’ is taken here to mean both individual consciousness and ideologically produced consciousness in general. In the case of the wartime propaganda exhibitions, this indicates a concern with the construction or manipulation of the subject through the means of a spectacular event by an official body with an agenda to sell the notion of war. The most significant and sustained attempts to outline the changed relations of the subject in a systematic aesthetic and critical theory is found in the body of work generated by Walter Benjamin and other thinkers associated with the loosely categorized Frankfurt School, as well as the earlier writings of Georg Simmel.47 Benjamin’s avoidance of disciplinary distinctions, establishing himself instead as a student of ‘experience’, makes his theoretical writing an especially obvious foundation for the study of exhibitions. In her evaluation of Benjamin’s ‘One-way Street’, Susan Buck-Morss explained that it was the ‘glare’ of modern life that led him to compare urban experience to the enchanted forest of fairy-tales.48 Urban spectatorship was transformed by the production of consumer goods and the abundance of their display, especially within the new settings invented to celebrate these goods, including world fairs, the arcades, and lavish store fronts: World exhibitions glorify the exchange value of the commodity [...] They open a phantasmagoria that people enter to be amused. The entertainment industry facilitates this by elevating people to the level of commodities. They submit to being manipulated while enjoying their alienation from themselves and others.49 This concept of conflating the person with the commodity (or, that which is being produced) at the world fairs provides clues in understanding how the persuasive power of the wartime exhibitions under consideration was achieved. Benjamin recognized that the mechanisms of phantasmagoria had the effect of coupling living bodies to factory-produced objects, or machines.50 Furthermore, the feeling of alienation was symptomatic of a depoliticized and passive public, fostered by the array of spectacles and illusions of mass media, as described by Crary.51 The transformation of human activities and relations into things by the action of economic fetishes cultivated a situation in which an individual became alienated, irreparably separated from his or her freedom. It should be noted however, that while political alienation and economic alienation are not one and the same, we can be sure that there are vital links between them.52 In this way, we can appreciate the purpose of spectacle as providing a distraction from the reality or truths that the regime wished to conceal or even rewrite. With this conceptual backdrop, we can begin to identify the changing patterns, styles, and techniques of communication via the channel of spectacular exhibition design during the war, and to assess its potential impact upon the target audience. Information as Spectacle The MoI’s exhibition activities were divided into three categories: Home Displays, Home Exhibitions, and Overseas Displays and Exhibitions. The wartime exhibitions of main concern to this article came under the authority of the Home Exhibitions section of the MoI’s Exhibition Division. These included exhibitions of a larger scale that generally featured a number of physical exhibits and involved a full-scale design and construction job. The first such show was Battle for Fuel, which opened at Dorland Hall, London in October 1942, before travelling on to Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle, and Glasgow. A reported three quarters of a million visitors saw the Fuel exhibition in its six showings, and it was widely held to be a successful example of propaganda in three dimensions.53 Visitors entered the exhibition through a full-sized plaster replica of the winding passage of a coalmine, complete with pit pony and life-sized models of miners at work. ‘Emerging from the gloom of the mine,’ the visitor was greeted with illuminated pictures, photo-screens, loudspeakers, and posters in the kind of immersive, sensory exhibitionary technique that Black later described as ‘so exciting and interesting that people came away with the message [concerned with saving fuel] firmly in their minds. We used all the techniques of the psychedelic dance hall.’54 This fun-fair atmosphere highlighted the elements of spectacle deemed necessary by Black for a successful wartime exhibition: ‘To work in this medium it is necessary to be a mixture of architect, publicist and theatrical producer, with preferably a touch of electrician and illusionist.’55 Particularly for exhibitions that promoted such onerous subjects as fuel saving or salvage, such characteristics went a long way in generating genuine interest and excitement. Furthermore, though the communicative strategies of exhibitions are associated with the broader realm of mass media, problems arise that are of unique concern to the exhibition designer. Writing in 1942, Black described these issues as distinct from the specialist working in other fields of mass media: Posters directly assault the innocent stroller as he walks down the street. The radio needs only to cajole the listener to turn the knob to enable its message to be heard. But the exhibition designer must usually persuade people to take the direct, positive action of making a special visit to the exhibition, to enter the building and to walk right round the show until the message is absorbed.56 Clifford Bloxham, the MoI’s Director of Exhibitions, likewise alluded to the appeal of the ‘spectacle’ that could no longer be afforded by traditional channels of mass media: ‘In newspapers it is no longer possible to be effectively spectacular in display […] It seems that a new effective mass medium would be useful in the Ministry’s work.’57 However, Black also argued that once the issue of persuading the visitor to move around the entire show had been overcome, the exhibition benefitted from the advantage of excluding all distracting elements. While the newspaper advert had to compete with other editorial content for the attention of its viewer, and the poster had to stand out amongst the exciting bustle of the street, the exhibition space—and this was especially true for the multi-sensory, immersive exhibition—could be almost entirely hermetic. In this sense, Black argued, ‘the exhibition takes equal place with the film in completely encompassing the spectator, and allowing only those distractions which are deliberately planned to accentuate the effect’.58 Aside from the mutual benefit of being free from external distractions, the other main experiential feature shared by both film and exhibition viewing is that of collective reception. This is significant in the context of propaganda because the very nature of collective reception manipulates the perceptual effects of modernity for socio-political purposes. The production of all exhibitions is an issue of psychology, and this is especially true of exhibitions of propaganda. The success of a wartime exhibition depended entirely on the intended message getting across to a lay public. The wartime exhibitions were generally formulated as stories, with their themes expressed in a narrative structure that fulfilled the exhibition’s message in a clear and legible manner. According to Kallmann, the story had to be ‘photogenic’; furthermore: It must be conceived so that barriers of apathy, lack of imagination, and ignorance can be overcome, detachment in the mind of the spectator broken down and a bridge built to evoke response, until the spectator identifies himself and his viewpoint with the argument of the exhibition.59 The Fuel exhibition was broadly deemed a success by the press for its psychological, and thus propaganda appeal: ‘The undoubted psychological value of the entire exhibition is obvious, and it is earnestly to be desired that it should be but a forerunner of other and even more ambitious followers.’60 And it was. In the summer of 1943, the MoI opened their largest and boldest undertaking to date. The Army: Equipment of a Division exhibition was a pioneer open-air show in 56,000 square feet of the bombed-out John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London [2]. The unconventional yet decidedly eloquent choice of venue had a powerful effect: ‘23,000 exhibits ranging from Churchill tanks to optical lenses’ were presented in displays that relied on modern design strategies for its impact. David Alan Mellor has described the unusual pairing of a bombsite with modern display techniques as ‘a certain kind of modern enlightenment in values set within the ruins of an exploded place’.61 The MoI’s then-Director of Exhibitions had been John Lewis’s advertising manager before the war and described retail sites as ideal ‘ready-made centres where large quantities of people go to stop and look and examine […] there is no other place where so large a proportion of the people go habitually and eagerly, with impressionable minds’.62 In the context of war, the function of the former John Lewis site was expected to shift fluidly from retail site to bomb-site to exhibition site; and the hope was that the ‘impressionable minds’ of the visitors would be retained throughout each of these manifestations. Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Army: Equipment of a Division, 1943: IWM TR 1147 Fig 2. View largeDownload slide Army: Equipment of a Division, 1943: IWM TR 1147 For the Army exhibition, the designers used interactive techniques to draw the audience in and foster interest in the material on show. One visitor to the exhibition marvelled at the ingenuity of the design of a single can of soup: Each of these tins of soup is designed, literally to heat itself in about 4 or 5 minutes… You just put a match or a lighted cigarette to a little wick and in no time at all you’re drinking hot soup. I had a can of it at the exhibition. Very good too.63 This component was an important way of involving the public as an active part of the exhibition itself. The technique originated with the early twentieth-century avant-garde experiments of Lissitzky, who was determined to encourage a more engaged populace through his radical exhibition spaces. A photograph of the site taken eight-weeks before the opening shows the rapid transformation from desolate, bombed-out ruins to efficiently thought-out exhibition space [3].The layout was mostly dictated by the existing walls of the basement, which formed a series of fourteen individual sections in which the equipment of an Army Division was displayed. These formed a series of fourteen individual courts in which the various sections and types of equipment in an Army Division were displayed. The choice of venue, on one of London’s most crowded streets, turned out to be a great success, and the exhibition attracted over 1.3 million people during its three-month stay in London.64 The World's Press News reported that nearly 20,000 people were visiting the show on a daily basis, and the information presented on the publicity poster designed by FHK Henrion suggests that the exhibition aimed for huge visitor numbers, by remaining open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and free of charge [4]. The problem of congestion was dealt with efficiently, and the exhibition was lauded for its one-way circulation and narrative guiding techniques that not only made it possible for thousands of people to pass through without overcrowding, but also tied the movement of spectators to the ideas being promoted.65 Fig 3. View largeDownload slide The bombed-out site at the John Lewis store, Oxford Street, London which was used for the Army Exhibition, IWM D15149 Fig 3. View largeDownload slide The bombed-out site at the John Lewis store, Oxford Street, London which was used for the Army Exhibition, IWM D15149 Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Army Exhibition Poster, designed by F. H. K. Henrion, IWM Art.IWM PST 4945 Fig 4. View largeDownload slide Army Exhibition Poster, designed by F. H. K. Henrion, IWM Art.IWM PST 4945 The Victory Over Japan exhibition opened two years later at the same site. Unlike Army however, this exhibition was planned over a long period and the results were far more elaborate. The idea for an exhibition covering the subject of the campaign in the Far East had emerged from concerns over a lack of public interest in and awareness of the notion that a defeat in Germany alone would not mean an absolute end to the war. Accordingly, the MoI was called upon to eradicate this view and to impress upon the British public that there would be a long and hard fight against Japan following the victory over Germany.66 The MoI’s Director of Campaigns repeatedly referred to this initiative as a ‘campaign of indoctrination’.67 A 1943 Draft Memorandum for the War Cabinet expressed the need to ‘inculcate’ the idea that: Japan is just as much the enemy of the ideals for which we are fighting as are Germany and Italy, and that the principals at stake in the East are the same as those in the West, and that it all hangs together.68 It was decided that this could be achieved by means of a large-scale exhibition and by April 1944 the MoI confirmed that a show for the John Lewis site was at the ‘design and script stage’.69 In the meantime, a number of smaller exhibitions were displayed in the busy subterranean exhibition space at Charing Cross station: Jungle Front, Ocean Front and Our Eastern Job each ran for a period of about three weeks during 1944. The government’s great enthusiasm for producing exhibitions that aimed to influence the attitudes of the public highlights the ability of such displays to achieve their intended goals. In July 1944, the MoI cited a Home Intelligence report, which claimed that ‘Hatred of the Japanese appears to be at least as strong as hatred of the Germans’.70 Furthermore, at this time, the design for the large exhibition on Japan was reported to have reached a stage of ‘finality’, but plans for the opening were postponed following a War Cabinet ruling, which temporarily prohibited all building work, except war damage repairs, in the London area.71 When Victory Over Japan finally opened on 21 August 1945—a mere six days after the surrender of Japan had been announced in the UK—the streets were filled with people celebrating what was now truly the end of the war, and the opening was brimming with ceremonial fervour. The spectacle of the opening ceremony was very much in line with the traditional association of war with pageantry, parades, and demonstrations of all kind. Contingents of Dominion troops, the Brigade of Guards, and the band of the Scots Guards, marched from Hyde Park to the exhibition site.72 In his 1950 book on exhibition design, Black commented on the suitability of opening exhibitions with such grand displays of ceremony: The alacrity with which extremely busy men accept this seemingly onerous responsibility can only be explained by their being infected by the general interest in exhibitions, or seduced by a new opportunity for finding a public, enlarged by press and radio comment, ready to listen to such expression of their opinion as can reasonably be associated with the subject of the exhibition itself.73 Like the Army presentation from two years earlier, the Japan exhibition remained free of charge throughout its run. Both exhibitions concerned themselves with the issue of warfare through progressive mechanisms of display; however, the Japan show was far more intricate. While the Army exhibition developed the efficient conception of an exhibition as a powerful propaganda machine through impressive graphics and displays, its overall environment was more defined by utilitarian necessity. Victory Over Japan was a more spectacular display that followed an information-based theme and made extensive use of mural-sized photographs, montages, illustrations, slogans, models, and full-sized replicas tracing the history of the war in the Pacific. Upon entering the exhibitions, visitors were immediately ‘immersed’ in the experience of wartime jungle conditions [5]. One reviewer described the environment as a kind of ‘jungle realism’.74 As they walked through a life-sized replica of a camouflaged enemy pillbox displaying a variety of equipment that had been captured in Burma, giant ‘cobwebs’ would brush against their hands and face. Enormous spiders could be seen curled up in webs, and ‘the sound of running water, the noise of insects, the chattering of monkeys, the calls of birds, and the wails of jackals and hyenas’ were projected from actual recordings of jungle sounds made by an Army film unit. To add a further degree of realism to this section, the temperature in the room was kept artificially heated to 120° Fahrenheit.75 Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25754 Fig 5. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25754 Through the great lengths taken to simulate the conditions of warfare, the traditional relationship between the visitor and the exhibition was complicated, and the visitor’s sensorial immersion in the war-like scenario likely produced a playful impression of participation. Like the previous exhibitions described in this article, Victory Over Japan combined the use of different media to create an entirely new practice that could no longer be categorized according to the traditional classification of the various arts. The radically haptic designs of Lissitzky’s innovations were once again seized upon in an atmosphere of spectacle that stimulated the eye and the body into associating with a particular political position. Unlike the early Constructivist experiments however, the ‘activated’ viewer in the MoI exhibitions was in fact a manipulated one. Other sections of the exhibition featured a crisper, more contemporary display strategy, redolent of techniques first seen in the UK at the MARS group show, that revealed in detail how, for many years prior to the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan had been preparing for a war of aggression in a ‘bid for world power’. At the heart of the exhibition a large model of the world provided geographic information and could be viewed from an upper mezzanine that was itself encircled by various examples of the types of military strategies undertaken [6]. In other sections of Victory Over Japan, illustrations that mimicked traditional Japanese drawing styles, enlarged to mural size, emphasized the deep-rootedness of the issue; one panel proclaimed that: ‘For centuries, the Japanese have had their arrogant creed of racial pride, embodied in one man. (The emperor)’ [7]. Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view from the upper mezzanine, IWM D25767 Fig 6. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view from the upper mezzanine, IWM D25767 Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25752 Fig 7. View largeDownload slide Victory Over Japan, 1945: Interior view, IWM D25752 Perspective was never fixed in the Japan show, and points of view shifted constantly; one exhibit used small model airplanes set over a photographic background of clouds to show the various kinds of aircraft in a birds-eye view. The exhibition was designed in such a way that the attention of the visitor was attracted by a spectacular image or display that would then direct them to the underlying concept being promoted, a strategy that mirrored that of the commodity aesthetics of the day. The relationship of exhibition design to the culture of the consumer age was crucial, and it serves as a means of understanding the role of these exhibitions during this period, as well as what was at stake in the pursuit of such strategies. By engaging the spectacular techniques of advertising and commercial display for persuasive purposes, the viewer was positioned as the ‘disempowered’ consumer in this dynamic. Conclusion The collective function of all the exhibits on show was to sell the policy of war, and the methods employed ensured the construction of an ‘official’ narrative based on this justification. In his study on Victorian commodity culture, Thomas Richards revealed that it was from the 1851 Exhibition that ‘advertisers learned that the best way to sell people commodities was to sell people the ideologies of England’.76 The great lesson that cultural historians take from the Great Exhibition is that not only did it reveal, as Richards proclaims, ‘capitalism to be the dominant form of exchange, but also that it was in the process of creating a system of representation to go along with it [...] The era of the spectacle had begun’.77 Advertising techniques were thereafter refined on the basis of a central premise initiated at the 1851 Exhibition: that the sale of commodities depended on the sale of an ideology. In the 1920s, commercial advertising play a lead role in the creation of modern spectacle. Well into the 1930s, the nature of subjective experience was constantly adapting to new technologies. Awareness in the age of mechanical reproduction, new models of circulation and transmission, the first tele- visual broadcasts, and the arrival of sound film demanded new modes of experience from their consumers.78 Another crucial development for the status of subjectivity in the 1920s and 1930s was the rise of fascism and Stalinism, and the ways in which they manifested new models of the spectacle. Although the idea of ‘spectacle’ remains an ambiguous concept, many different schools of cultural criticism have repeatedly pointed to ‘the persistence of spectacle as a generic feature of advertising in the twentieth century’.79 While it is not the purpose of this article to contemplate the various meanings and functions of the spectacle as a conceptual tool, its critical and practical efficacy in this context is based on its potential to allow for a variety of contradictory forces to seemingly fit together in a unified system. This mechanism of manipulation played straight into the hands of a government faced with the task of convincing the public to supports its—for some—difficult foreign policies. And as we have seen, such policies were undoubtedly positioned as the commodity in question at the wartime propaganda exhibitions. British officials and the press might have preferred to differentiate between the fascist propaganda spectacle and their own strategy of providing ‘information’ for the masses.80 However, these exhibitions exposed the great lengths gone to in an effort to create the atmosphere of spectacle while conveying such information. The construction of an official narrative through these large-scale exhibitions came with the problem of imposing a seemingly unified voice on a situation inherently defined by heterogeneity. The kind of totalizing impulse being projected through the creation of spectacle was surely an inadequate representation of a variety of institutions and events. In the heady days following the Allied victory in the Second World War, one could perhaps argue for the concept of spectacle as a necessary tool for the discourses of power that defined twentieth-century modernity. However, as we have seen, the MoI exhibitions were considered a primary means of communication for the government, and the flow of this kind of communication is inherently one-sided. In presenting information as spectacle, the voice of the ‘consumer’ of such information is in fact silenced. Jenna Lundin Aral is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Christopher Green at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Her thesis considers a history of the exhibition format as a widespread means of communicating ideas or promoting both consumer products and political ideologies in Europe during the decades that straddle the Second World War. This project is funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and its aim is to resituate this distinctive grouping of exhibitions in the first full-length study to place them more prominently in the histories of art, design, and architecture. Aral was also on the editorial board for the 2015 issue of the Courtauld’s post-graduate research journal, immediations; and she is the current administrator of the John Golding Artistic Trust. If you have any comments to make in relation to this article, please go to the journal website on http://jdh.oxfordjournals.org and access this article. There is a facility on the site for sending e-mail responses to the editorial board and other readers. Notes 1 ‘Our London Correspondence: The Third Royal Drive’ The Manchester Guardian, 22 August 1945, 4. 2 George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Annotated Edition (1949, repr. London: Penguin, 2013), 6. 3 See, for example: David Welch, Persuading the People: British Propaganda in WWII (London: British Library, 2016); Shundana Yusaf, Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927–1945 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2014); and: Sian Nicholas, The Echo of War: Home Front Propaganda and the Wartime BBC, 1939–45 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1996) 4 In 1951 only one household in fifteen owned a television set; by 1960 ownership had risen to ten in fifteen. See Martin Pugh, Women and the Women’s Movement in Britain 1914–1959 (Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1992), 290. 5 For the use of the exhibition format to present architectural modernism as spectacle, see John R. Gold, ‘New Architecture and the Search for Modernity: Exhibiting the Planned City in 1930s Britain’, in Exhibitions and the Development of Modern Planning Culture, ed. Robert Freestone and Marco Amati (London: Ashgate, 2014), 81–96. 6 Yasuko Suga, ‘Modernism, Commercialism and Display Design in Britain: The Reimann School and Studios of Industrial and Commercial Art’, Journal of Design History, 19 (2006), 137 7 See Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, ‘From Faktura to Factography’, October, 30 (1984), 82–119; and Ulrich Pohlmann, ‘El Lissitzky’s Exhibition Design: The Influence of His Work in Germany, Italy, and the United States, 1923–1943’, in El Lissitzky: Beyond the Abstract Cabinet, ed. by Margarita Tupitsyn (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 52–64. 8 Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2001), 3. 9 MARS Group, Modern Architecture Exhibition (London: Lund Humpheries, 1937), 2. 10 See Anthony Jackson, ‘The Politics of Architecture: English Architecture, 1929–1951’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 24, no. 1 (1965), 97–107. See also Louise Campbell, ‘The MARS Group, 1933–1939’, RIBA Transactions, vol. 4, no. 2 (1985), 68–79. 11 Piet Zwart’s stand for Nederlandsche Celluloidwarenfabriek (a celluloid manufacturer) at the Utrecht Fair in 1921 was an important early example of this technique. See Nancy J. Troy, The De Stijl Environment (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1983), 124. 12 Innovative exhibition design flourished in Europe from the 1920s: examples include Frederick Kiesler’s conception of a new method of installation design at the 1924 Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik (International Exhibition of New Theater Technique) in Vienna, and El Lissitzky’s contribution to the 1928 Pressa in Cologne. 13 Iain Jackson and Jessica Holland, The Architecture of Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew: Twentieth Century Architecture, Pioneer Modernism and the Tropics (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2014), 85–87. 14 Edwin Maxwell Fry, ‘Introduction’ in Moholy-Nagy: Paintings and Collages 1914–1946 (New London Gallery: London, 1961), unpaginated. 15 RIBA Archive, F&D/23/3: Letter from Fry to Gropius, 17 August 1937: ‘how much we will miss Moholy! His wife told me today that his appointment was confirmed and my heart sank a lot’. 16 The National Archives (TNA), BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry, Committee on Presentation and Display ‘Notes of a meeting, evidence of Mr Mischa Black’, 1 February 1938. 17 Le Corbusier, ‘The MARS Group Exhibition of the Elements of Modern Architecture: A Pictorial Record’, The Architectural Review, 83, no. 496 (1938), pp. 109–116, 110. 18 RIBA Archive, SAG 91/2: ‘Particulars of the MARS Group Exhibition to be held in January 1938’ (undated). 19 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/2: ‘Group of papers concerning British European Airways’, 14 March 1947, 1–21, 1. 20 Thomas Richards, The Commodity Culture of Victorian England (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1991), 3. 21 Paul Greenhalgh, Fair World: A History of World’s Fairs and Expositions from London to Shanghai, 1851–2010 (London: Papadakis, 2011); Robert W. Rydell, World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 22 Deborah S. Ryan, ‘The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and Suburban Modernity’, PhD diss., University of East London, 1995. 23 TNA, BT 13/41: International Exhibitions Committee, ‘Report’, 1907. 24 Board of Trade, Art and Industry: Report of the Committee Appointed by the Board of Trade under the Chairmanship of Lord Gorell on the Production and Exhibition of Articles of Good Design and Every-day Use (London: HMSO, 1932). 25 TNA, BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry Committee on Presentation and Display, ‘Meeting with Mr. George Pollitzer’, 15 February 1938: Frank Pick identified the ‘modernistic type of setting’ and gave the example of the MARS exhibition. 26 In both of the 1938 committee interviews, Pick lamented the need for formal exhibition or display design training in the UK; see Yasuko Suga, ‘Modernism, Commercialism and Display Design in Britain: The Reimann School and Studios of Industrial and Commercial Art’, Journal of Design History, 19 (2006), 137–54. 27 TNA, BT 57/34: Council for Art and Industry Committee on Presentation and Display. 28 Ibid.: ‘Evidence of Mr Mischa Black’, 1 February 1938. 29 Misha Black, Exhibition Design (London: Architectural Press, 1950), 12. 30 Ibid. 31 The Ministry’s Exhibition Section was created in November 1940 at the initiative of the then Director General Frank Pick and then Controller Sir Kenneth Clark. 32 TNA, INF 1/132: Reorganisation of the MoI, Displays and Exhibitions Division, ‘Extract from Minutes of Home Planning Committee’, 4 December 1940: ‘Milner is very anxious to employ Mr Misha Black, who has worked on many government exhibitions’. 33 There are a number of letters from Milner Gray in TNA file INF 1/132 complaining of overworking his staff. 34 ‘M. O. I. Have Plan for 1,000 Exhibitions: 90 Start Next Month: Big Scheme for Propaganda Shows in Britain and US Now in Operation’, Advertiser’s Weekly, 15 May 1941. 35 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: ‘Designing Exhibitions’ Manuscript’, 18 February 1948, 3–4 36 One notable exception: Veronica Davies, ‘“Steering a Progressive Course”? Exhibitions in Wartime and Postwar Britain’ Henry Moore Institute Online Papers and Proceedings, 5 December 2008. See, for example: Jessica Kelly, ‘To Fan the Ardour of the Layman’: The Architectural Review, The MARS Group and the Cultivation of Middle Class Audiences for Modernism in Britain, 1933–1940, Journal of Design History 29, no. 3 (2016); Michelle Jones, ‘Design and the Domestic Persuader: Television and the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Promotion of Post-war “Good Design”‘, Journal of Design History 16, no. 4 (2003), 307–18; Leah Armstrong, ‘Steering a Course Between Professionalism and Commercialism: The Society of Industrial Artists and the Code of Conduct for the Professional Designer 1945–1975’, Journal of Design History, 29, no. 2 (2016), 161–79 37 Michael Frayn, ‘Festival’, in Age of Austerity, ed. Michael Sissons and Philip French (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963), 317–38, 329: ‘The climax of the period that had formed them all was the Paris Exhibition of 1937, and after a decade of nothingness, given the chance to work with like-minded colleagues on a project whose temporary nature encouraged them to risk boldness, they took up architecture again where it had been left twelve years before.’ 38 Gerhard S. Kallman, ‘The Wartime Exhibition’, Architectural Review, 94, no. 562 (1943), 95–106. 39 Ibid., 95. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid., 106. 43 Milner Gray, ‘Exhibitions: In or Out’, Art and Industry, 52, no. 316 (1952), 110–09, 114. 44 Charing Cross was used by the MoI for showing exhibitions in London before they went on to other sites in the country. 45 Kallmann, op. cit., 97. 46 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: Paul Reilly, ‘The Influence of Contemporary Exhibition Technique on Post-War Display’, manuscript date estimated: early 1946. 47 See, especially, Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’; ‘Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth-Century’; and ‘Some Motifs in Baudelaire’. See also Georg Simmel, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ in The Blackwell City Reader, ed. G. Bridge and S. Watson (Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002). 48 Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1991), 254: ‘In the modern city, as in the ur-forests of another era, the ‘threatening and alluring face’ of myth was alive and everywhere’. 49 Walter Benjamin, ‘Paris, The Capital of the Nineteenth-Century’ (1939), in Walter Benjamin Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings, ed. Peter Demetz (New York, NY: Schocken Books, 2007), 146–62, 152 50 The concept of the phantasmagoria was a technological manifestation of nineteenth-century spectacle that recurred throughout Benjamin’s The Arcades Project and its associated essays. See: Margaret Cohen, ‘Walter Benjamin’s Phantasmagoria’, New German Critique, 48 (1989), 87–10. 51 ‘Society of the spectacle’: a phenomenon that its principal theorist, the Situationist Guy Debord in fact dated to the 1920s, with the spread of radio and the invention of sound film and television. See Guy Debord, Comments on The Society of the Spectacle, Malcolm Imrie trans. (London: Verso, 1990). 52 Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life, Volume II: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday, John Moore trans. (London: Verso, 2002), 207: ‘Too often alienation has been seen as a single unit and as an entity: the alienation of man. In fact, there are many alienations, and they take many forms’. 53 Figure comes from Kallmann, op. cit., 105. 54 ‘The Black and Gray Revolution: Philip Norman talks to the men behind the Design Research Unit’, Sunday Times Magazine, 30 March 1969, 16–20, 19 55 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/15: ‘Bricks without Straw’, 3 July 1943, 2. 56 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/134: Black, ‘Propaganda in Three Dimensions’, 1942. 57 TNA, INF 1/132: Letter to Royds from C. Bloxham, February 1942, pp. 1–11, 3. 58 Black, Exhibition Design, 17. 59 Kallmann, op. cit., 105. 60 ‘The Era of the Exhibition’, Display: Incorporating National Display, 24 no. 8 (1942), 113. 61 Keynote given at Paul Mellon Centre conference ‘Exhibiting Contemporary Art in Post-war Britain, 1945–60’, Tate Britain, 28 January 2016: David A. Mellor ‘“An Art of Living”: Exhibiting across the “Long Front of Culture” in Spaces of Art and of Profane Spectacle’. 62 TNA, INF 1/132: Letter to Royds from C. Bloxham, February 1942, 5–6. 63 ‘ARMY EXHIBITION: Did You Hear That?’ The Listener, 22 July 1943, 93. 64 V&A Archive, AAD/1980/3/4 (1 of 3): ‘Analysis of Exhibitions of particular interest in relation to 1951’, undated. 65 ‘Nearly 20,000 People Daily See Most Fascinating Display of the War’, World’s Press News, 22 July 1943. 66 TNA, INF 1/966: ‘Morale and the war against Japan’, 1943–1945. 67 Ibid.: Letter to G.S. Royds from Mr. Buxton, 16 February 1945, 1–2. 68 Ibid.: ‘Draft Memorandum for the War Cabinet: Morale and the war against Japan’, 14 May 1943, 1–4, 2. 69 Ibid.: ‘First Quarterly Report’ 17 April 1944, 1–5, 3: Subsequent tours were planned to Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff, with four smaller replicas covering fifty other towns. 70 Ibid.: ‘Second Quarterly Report’ 17 July 1944, 1–5, 2. 71 Ibid.: ‘Third Quarterly Report’ 17 October 1944, 1–5, 3. 72 ‘14th Army’s Work in Burma’, The Times, 22 August 1945, 7. 73 Black, Exhibition Design, 18. 74 ‘Victory Over Japan’ Exhibition, The Times, 21 August 1945, 6. 75 Ibid. 76 Richards, op. cit., 5. 77 Ibid., 3. 78 For an in-depth analysis of the effect of the modern spectacle on modes of attention and perception, see: Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1999). 79 Richards, op. cit., 13, see: ‘The Commodity as Spectacle: Nos. 35-53, in: Guy Debord, Society of Spectacle (Detroit, USA: Black & Red, 2010), unpaginated. 80 ‘Information and Propaganda’ The Times 16 June 1939, 15. © The Author(s) [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Design History Society. All rights reserved.

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Published: Feb 1, 2018

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