Music Geography in Russia: Non-Auratic Places and Institutionalization “in Becoming”
This paper focuses on the Tsoi Wall in Moscow, an iconic place on Russia’s music map that appeared in Moscow in 1990 in memory of the cult Soviet rock musician Viktor Tsoi, to develop a framework for studying non-auratic music place—that is, places that are not connected with the biographies of musicians or musical events, but emerge directly from the experiences of visitors and fans. These places are constantly negotiated and only lightly formalized, but are nevertheless enduring. To analyze this type of place, we propose a concept of institutionalization “in becoming.” The case of the Tsoi Wall reveals that light formalization (vague and changing positions and rules, and openness to different interpretations of a place and ways of using it) leads to the recognition of the place as a significant one and to its popularity. We put institutionalization “in becoming” in a wider context and juxtapose it with well-studied musical places in Europe and the US.