Monthly Archive: January 2002

A Response to Ekaterina Dyogot’s Article: Does Russia Qualify for Postcolonial Discourse?

See also Ekaterina Dyogot’s original article, How to Qualify for Postcolonial Discourse

Two pertinent anecdotes:

1) Several years ago, during a seminar on postcolonial studies, a fellow doctoral student (a white, middle-class American female) asked, “Why are we talking about the First World vs. the Third World? Where do these ordinals come from?”

“Once upon a time, there was the Second World,” I replied.

2) Earlier that year, I had discovered that I was eligible to apply for the Margaret McNamara Fellowship, offered by the World Bank to women who wished to continue their studies in the USA and

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Russian Film in the US: Interview with Alexander Zhurbin

Alexander Zhurbin is the director of the New York Festival of Russian Film. Zhurbin is, in fact, a composer living in New York. About three years ago, he started organizing an annual festival of Russian films, initially for the Russian community in and around New York, which later grew in popularity and began to attract broader American audiences as well. The festival presents the best films of the last film season, and all screenings are introduced by directors or actors. The festival was held this year, in spite of the events of September 11. When I met Zhurbin in Moscow … Read more

Dispatch From Ljubljana

Fiction Reconstructed. The Last Futurist Exhibition, Armory Show, Salon de Fleurus. Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art, January 2002.

In January 2002, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, visitors could see the exhibition entitled Fiction Reconstructed: The Last Futurist Exhibition, which was originally produced by two institutions in Slovenia- the Gallery Skuc in Ljubljana and the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Celje.


In the 1980s, several projects based on the reconstruction of works of art from the avant-garde took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where The Last Futurist Exhibition, by Kasimir Malevich (Belgrade), The International Exhibition of Read more

The Czech Cinema After the “Velvet Revolution” (1990-2000)

In the last decade, after the so-called “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 in which the totalitarian regime in the country collapsed and was replaced by a democracy, Czech cinema has undergone a number of developments.

First, let us look at the general state of film production during the ’90s. I should say that, when selecting the films to be discussed in this article, I grew intensely skeptical because of the blandness and mediocrity of most of the Czech film production in the past decade. Was there anything of universal interest, something that transcended the merely local, if not provincial dimension?


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And the Winner Is…

Mikhail Berg, Literaturokratiia: Problema prisvoeniia I pereraspredeleniia vlasti v literature (Literaturocracy: Problems of Appropriation and Redistribution of Power in Literature). Moscow: NLO, 2000. 352 pages.

A colleague of mine once confronted me with a strange question: In terms of success and posterity, who did I think was the winner: Bakhtin or Academician Viktor Vinogradov?

In spite of the question’s absurdity, both of us seemed to understand perfectly well what it was about. In this imaginary literary race, my friend was betting on Bakhtin, whose speech genre theory gave him a life after death in worldwide recognition.

Purely out … Read more

Magical Mystery Tour

Davaj! Russian Art Now. Aus dem Laboratorium der freien Künste in Russland (From the Laboratory of Free Arts in Russia) 10.1.2002 – 27.2.2002. Open Tue – Sun 1-8 p.m., closed on Mondays Postfuhramt, Oranienburger Strasse 35-36, D-10117 Berlin, Germany

When I entered the “Davaj! Russian Art Now” showroom, my first impression was that I had somehow fallen into Ilya Kabakov’s 1993 installation “Noma”, which presented his fellow Moscow Conceptualists as inmates of a lunatic asylum.

The same white, shabby walls, the same central room, from which corridors led into various directions, the same cells in which the artists presented … Read more

Boris Groys’ “Under Suspicion”

Boris Groys: Unter Verdacht. Eine Phänomenologie der Medien. Munich: Hanser 2000, 232 pp.

“Nothing is itself”, declares Rilke in the fourth Duino Elegy. For Rilke, this sentence is less an ontological stocktaking than an incentive to seek a poetical form to be able to express the “authentic”.

If this sentence were to be the header for Boris Groys’ new book Unter Verdacht (Under Suspicion), it would serve more as an expression of an irrefutable hunch that something else is concealed behind everything than as a description of a state. Groys calls this hunch “suspicion”.

Everything that presents itself as a … Read more

Out Looking In

Jan Cavanaugh, Out Looking In: Early Modern Polish Art, 1890 – 1918, University of California Press: Berkeley 2000.

Having read Jan Cavanaugh’s Out Looking In, two different opinions are called to mind. In defense of the impressionists, whose works had been widely attacked, Emile Zola claimed in 1877, “The artists ought to find poetry in the stations as their fathers found it in the forest and fields.”

Promoting modern French art in Poland, painter and art critic Stanislaw Witkiewicz argued in 1884 that it is quite insignificant whether a work depicts Jan Zamoyski’s victory over Prince Maximilian or … Read more

Bucarest’s Curtea Veche Gallery

Only a small area of the old medieval Bucharest, featuring narrow streets and historical buildings, escaped the demolition campaign initiated by Ceausescu in the 1980s. During the “black period” of Communism, intellectuals who enjoyed old books and old objects could view and buy them at a small gallery, named “Curtea Veche” [“Old princely court”] because it was placed opposite the medieval princely court, right at the center of historic Bucharest. This gallery is in fact a room of an old building, full of second-hand books, old maps, and modern art objects.

From the early 1980s through the present day, Marius … Read more