How the Chocolate Got to Mossel'prom
In the children’s book About How Chocolate Got to the Mossel’prom, we see the entire process that goes into the production of chocolate candy that is eventually sold at the Mossel’prom building in Moscow. The story starts in exotic, “faraway lands,” where the cocoa beans are harvested and shipped overseas to the Soviet Union. Once in Moscow, the chocolate is processed by diligent workers and impressive technology in the factories, and the finished products finally make it to the Mossel’prom building, where they are displayed and sold. From the vividly painted skin colors to the caricature-like illustrations of native attire, the racialized stereotyping at the start of the book should not be overlooked, especially with its cultural “blending” of different ethnic groups as a collective “other” part of the world.
In Moscow, the mixers used by Soviet workers look like state-of-the-art machines that were a product of advancing industrialization. By placing the machines at the center of the image, we see echoes of the Soviet celebration and push for industrialization occurring within the book's time of publication in the new Soviet capital -- Moscow. The Mossel’prom was a source of pride at the center of Moscow: a ten-story commercial center that sold “everything for everyone” and was featured heavily in art and propaganda posters during that time. This book was produced during Lenin’s New Economic Policy (an era from 1921-1929 that he described as movement toward “state capitalism”). By showing workers in a chocolate factory interacting with objects as if with comrades (i.e., using machines at the mill, or carrying boxes, or even climbing trees and using knives to cut the cocoa fruit as a part of a collaborative process), this creates a uniquely “Soviet” image that further glorifies collectivity.
"Mossel'prom." The Charnel-House, 22 July 2014. Web <https://thecharnelhouse.org/2014/07/22/mosselprom-%D0%BC%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%BB%D1%8C%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BC-1923-1925/>.
"История и традиции." Красный Октябрь. Web. <http://www.konfetki.ru/rus/about/history.shtml>.
Kiaer, Christina. Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005.
Taylor T. Chin, Taylor W. Kulp-McDowall, Mihaela Curmei, Jack Jankowski
SLA 221, Spring 2017