• Design: Monika Grūzīte. Publisher: Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2015

REVISITING FOOTNOTES. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region

Compilers and editors: Astahovska Ieva, Inga Lāce 


Authors of articles: Ieva Astahovska, Ilya Budraitskis, Viktorija Eksta, Mārtiņš Kaprāns, Inga Lāce, Davor Mišković, Magdalena Radomska, Mykola Ridnyi, Tanel Rander, Slavs and Tatars, Tamta-Tamara Shavgulidze, Margaret Tali, Sophia Tabatadze, Dovilė Tumpytė, Ieva Viese.

The publication aims to capture and analyse the persistent Soviet era traces or references in art, public space, architecture, society, the field of collective and individual memories. Similar to footnotes in a book, the translated references – various processes, events, artefacts, symbols, systems, mythologies and nostalgias – give a kaleidoscopic commentary, elaborate and bring closer narratives about the recent past.

It records both what was specific and what was common in the former socialism region and still creates a certain layer of cultural memories. Commencing with the so called “small narratives” from different segments of official and unofficial socialism culture and subcultures until the more general discourses, the authors have tried within the publication to record the most significant aspects whose resonance is present today.

For some time already it seems that the Post Soviet countries have achieved a critical time lapse allowing us to look back dispassionately and try to re-evaluate this time. At last it is possible to look beyond the traumatic part of the experience and address the “archaeology” of soviet time using irony and natural curiosity – uncover the still present, but partly covered, heterogeneous and equivocal/ambiguous discourses. It is especially significant taking in consideration that a whole generation has been raised that has heard about this time only from stories, read texts and movies.

Lately a tendency to idealize soviet time has appeared developing into the direction of a multilayered “nostalgia”, composing a new, romanticized version of the story, creating new culture icons and updating the quotations and footnotes.

A necessity for new, inspiring future scenarios, new utopias to believe in and to follow arises, meanwhile bearing in mind the past experience. Inability to draw a united and continuous narrative leads to uncovering the cultural history experience through the footnotes, meta-stories, that are formed by small segments, references, and writings on the margins, lifestyle details, nostalgia and mythology of the former utopias, for example, soviet time.

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Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Rīga, 2015

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Astahovska Ieva, Inga Lāce
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