Humanities and Arts

“Wings of Freedom”: Petr Miturich and Aero-Constructivism

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The article focuses on the aerodynamic experiments of Petr Vasil’evich Miturich (1887–1956), in particular his so-called letun, a project comparable to Vladimir Tatlin’s Letatlin, but less familiar. Miturich became interested in flight during the First World War, elaborating his first flying apparatus in 1918 before constructing a prototype and undertaking a test flight on 27 December 1921—which might be described as an example of Russian Aero-Constructivism (by analogy with Italian Aeropittura). Miturich’s basic deduction was that modern man must travel not by horse and cart, but with the aid of a new, ecological apparatus—the undulator—a mechanism which, thanks to its undulatory movements, would move like a fish or snake. The article delineates the general context of Miturich’s experiments, for example, his acquaintance with the ideas of Tatlin and Velemir Khlebnikov (in 1924 Miturich married the artist, Vera Khlebnikova, Velemir’s sister) as well as the inventions of Igor’ Sikorsky, Fridrikh Tsander, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and other scientists who contributed to the “First Universal Exhibition of Projects and Models of Interplanetary Apparatuses, Devices and Historical Materials” held in Moscow in 1927.