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We're a team of eight artists, curators and critics with a broader network of art professionals on the post-soviet, post-communist and diasporic spaces. With our ability to grasp, to describe and to invert the sensable, we might be your best collaborator.

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Mission

 

TransitoryWhite is an online platform for the connectivity of intersected discourses of local, regional, and global perspectives on art, design and activism. TransitoryWhite is about contemporary art from the blind spots (“white spots”) from Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe.
 
Despite the territories heterogeneous cultural, historical and religious diversity, the respective countries share a fundamental experience of a realised utopia, which lasted over more than 70 years. In the turbulent time of the 20th century, the political events taking place were differing from those in Europe, which also resulted in an original set of cultural and aesthetic questions. The uniqueness of these questions was underlined by the particular term “Post-Soviet” which was coined to describe the political, economic and artistic transition from the communist regime to the democratic states. While we don’t deny that the initial generalisation was making sense, we claim for the new discussions and discourses for the art from these regions which are not tied by the restrains of its brand. We would love to show video art, bio art, art on the edge of science, communal projects, feminist initiatives, new media performances and much more on our platform and give the possibility for discovering the transnational connections and influences of the artists from these countries. Apart from that, we aim to translate and to publish the new and old texts written by the local art historians, art theoreticians and curators, which are usually expelled from the contemporary art discourse.
 
Crucial to our investigation of those regions is furthermore, the representation of artists and theoreticians from any ethnic, religious, sexual and even political minorities as an opposition to the accumulating national discourse. We’re dedicated to exploring any transnational networks as well as limits of connection within and on the borders.
 
TransitoryWhite is the White Noise of the post-post-Soviet, a constant disturbance, a random signal, cacophony, turbulence, restlessness, which - contrary to the musical White Noise - is not constant, but is in fluctuation and transition.

Contributors

Alex Ulko, art critic and art historian. Lives and works in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

People

Irina Konyukhova

Ira Konyukhova is an artist, writer, curator, feminist activist and the founder of TransitoryWhite. In her practice, she explores the connection between female sexuality, pop-resilience, death as well as colonial technological practices. As an artist, her works have been presented on various international festivals and exhibitions, including DocLisboa, Athens Biennale, Teneriffa Espacio del Arte, Exground Film Festival e.t. Her latest article on the early 2000s Russian lesbian stars T.a.T.u. And their influence on queer politics has been recently published by Pop-Zeitschrift by University Siegen. Ira was a grantee of BS Projects Artist-in-Residence scholarship Programm and lives and works in Berlin.

Lene Vollhardt

Lene Vollhardt-Wongrowska is an artist, filmmaker, triple Gemini, and speculative pragmatist based in Berlin and London. Through various media, her work undermines the classical juxtaposition between conceptuality and corporeality. Fascinated by the cultural signification of the female body as a processing site for transfer of value and valuation, she conceives shapeshifting, liquid counter-processes in alliance with people across various backgrounds – philosophers, human rights activists, intuits, sex workers, economists, and so on.
Vollhardt's interest in the implied aesthetic of political negotiation and its proprietary tactics of performative gaslighting is reflected in her works. She explores this in transposition with the embodiment of herself as an environment and remote viewing the weather. She has exhibited and screened at many institutions: LOOP Barcelona, Vitra Museum Basel with BlessBerlin, Athens Digital Arts Festival, European Days of Culture Karlsruhe, and Toronto Arthouse Film Festival. She has received the scholarship from the German National Foundation and the Art Foundation Baden-Wuerttemberg, and her works have received the Nikolaj Kunsthal Fokus Award (DK) and Hong Kong Arthouse Award (HK).

Pavel Metelitsyn

Pavel Metelitsyn is a software engineer and developer focusing on interactive data presentation, user interfaces and web technologies. He is driven by the idea of making the information more accessible through interactivity and gamification. Working together with creative agencies he implemented interactive multimedia stations for Neues Historisches Museum, Frankfurt/Main, made a kiosk app for a permanent exhibition at Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Frankfurt/Main. Besides that, he works with a wide range of clients from FinTech Startups to national research institutions, helping them to collect, process and present the business information. Pavel holds an M.Sc. in Mathematics.

Willi Reinecke

Willi Reinecke is a film director, writer, and researcher on Lev Vygotsky's Psychology of Art at the Institute for East European Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). He is teaching at Szondi-Institute for Comparative Literature and Institute for East European Studies. He worked as assistant director of the documentary film "Familienleben" which premiered at Berlinale 2018. The film was nominated for German Documentary Film Award and was awarded prizes at Saratov Sufferings Festival (RU) and Neisse Filmfestival (GER). He's currently working on documentary films for Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V.

Sascia Reibel

Sascia Reibel is a graphic and product designer. Her focus lays on printed matter, especially books and posters, with a strong dedication for typography. She engages in projects within the field of culture, art, and education. She studies communication design at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe and has also studied in the design master program of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. Her work has been honoured with several awards, including «Most Beautiful Swiss Books», «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world», «Bronze Nail, ADC», as well as the «Badge of Typographic Excellence, TDC New York.

Thibaut de Ruyter

Thibaut de Ruyter is a French curator and critic who lives and works in Berlin since 2001. In the last ten years, he has organized exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Museum Kunstpalais Düsseldorf, Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, HMKV in Dortmund, EIGEN + ART Lab and CTM in Berlin, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and CRP / in Douchy-les -Mines. One of his latest projects is a travelling exhibition co-curated with Inke Arns for the Goethe-Institut: The Frontier that calls into question the dividing line between Asia and Europe in the former Soviet states. Since 2017 this exhibition has been exhibited in St Petersburg, Moscow, Tashkent, Almaty, Krasnoyarsk (u.A.) and will open in Erevan in May 2019. His areas of interest range from new media to spiritualism to "exhibitions that are not exhibitions". Most of his projects are related to everyday, pop or underground culture. He has been the German correspondent for the French magazine artpress since 2003.

Lioudmila Voropai

Lioudmila Voropai is a curator, art critic and media artist. She studied philosophy at the Russian State University for the Humanities (RGGU) in Moscow and New Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts (KHM) in Cologne. Her curatorial and artistic projects are mainly focused on issues related to institutional critique and fake as an artistic strategy. As an art critic, she contributes to XZ Moscow Art Magazine, Art Issue, Logos and other periodicals. She is also a translator and editor of the Russian translations of Jürgen Habermas (Legitimation Crisis), Slavoj Zizek (Parallax View), Giorgio Agamben (State of Exception), Michael Walzer (The Company of Critics) among others. Lioudmila Voropai is an adjunct professor for Media Theory and Philosophy at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist. Born in Kazakhstan, she grew up as a so-called Russian-German in the south of Germany. After spending years of total assimilation she developed a strong interest in her cultural roots. Several long travels and stays took her to Easter-Europe over Russia to Central-Asia. Thereby she started to focus more on those regions also as art historian and journalist. She lives and works in Berlin. 

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This document was last updated on March 10, 2019

12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini

article

The first alternative art project from Azerbaijan in Venice
Asli Samadova

1st July 2019

Juggling Dinosaurs

article

The precariousness of motherhood in arts
Anna Kamay

24th June 2019

Interview with Elene Abashidze

interview

14th June 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your flight and accommodation

article

Thibaut de Ruyter

28th May 2019

Ich liebe dich!

article

Antonina Stebur

17th May 2019

Interview with Anna Vahrami

interview

23rd April 2019

Artist Portrait: Anastasia Akhvlediani

portrait

13th April 2019

Artist Portrait: Alisa Berger

article

Thibaut de Ruyter

21st March 2019

Faig Ahmed

interview

Interview geführt von Ira Konyukhova und Pavel Metelitsyn

18th March 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union!

article

Irina Konyukhova

11th March 2019

Interview mit Samvel Saghatelian

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

8th March 2019

Artist Portrait: Salome Dumbadze

portrait

4th March 2019

Interview mit Chinara Majidova

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova

26th February 2019

East Wind - Art in the Former Soviet Republics

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017
Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017
Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017
GHOSTS OF BODY
digital photography, work-in-progress, 2018
Solo for One: Identity Climax
video and performance, steaming water, ten performers, fireworks dimensions variable, 2017
Solo for One: Identity Climax
video and performance, steaming water, ten performers, fireworks dimensions variable, 2017
Three Borders
Video 55min, Digital, Color & BW, 4:3, 2017
Three Borders
Video 55min, Digital, Color & BW, 4:3, 2017

German artist Alisa Berger, graduate (2016) of Cologne’s prestigious Kunsthochshule für Medien (KHM), was
born in 1987 in Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia and grew up first in Lviv, Ukraine and then in Essen, Germany. Her work blends cinema, video, installation and performance, playing with historical references and personal anecdotes to tell absurd, incredible, poetic stories.
Alisa Berger’s graduation film is a 73-minute feature, produced using the school’s technical resources. A work in Cinemascope and DOLBY 5.1, titled Die Körper der Austronauten (The Astronauts’ Bodies), two sisters take invented rocket trips wearing a motorcycle helmet while their brother lends his body to scientific experiments on weightlessness.
Note that from the vocabulary related to the conquest of space, Alisa Berger chose the term astronaut (used by the Americans) and not cosmonaut (used by the Russians) or spacenaut (Europeans). Perhaps her choice demonstrates that though born in the Soviet Union, her life is made up of the Internet, English and travel. But mostly, not of nostalgia. In her film she weaves the link between one of the 20th century’s greatest myths (the conquest of space, its heroes and their tragic destinies) and the common people on the Earth. It is not helpful to recall how, in the middle of the Cold War, Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong opposed each other without ever meeting. But these figures, these icons, also add souls and bodies: this is what Alisa Berger reminds us of in her film, closer to the existential wanderings of Andrei Tarkovski’s Solaris (1971) than to the grandiloquence of Philip Kaufman’s Hero Fabric (1983).

 

HUMOUR AND DISTANCE

 

Post-colonialism is one of the discourses, the themes, that even the most diverse biennials like to deliver to us. Alisa Berger’s biography could fit neatly into this catalogue, and she uses it in her own works, avoiding any form of morbid exploitation. Indeed, it would be easy for an artist born in the USSR to a Jewish Ukrainian father and a Korean mother to recall the violence with which Russia in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 20th conquered territories and eradicated languages. But when she approaches this subject, the artist shows her humour and her distance. In 2016, for an exhibition questioning the existence and nature of the border between Asia and Europe, Alisa Berger produced Three Borders, a 55-minute slide show from her family’s archives. The artist’s voice accompanies the images, with an autobiographical text that also adds various historical contexts. How Stalin deported people of Asian origin, how Ukrainians ended up in the Caucasus, how customs officers cannot comprehend the link between a passport and a face. Until her emigration to Germany in the early 1990s, which while an opportunity for the artist, proved problematic for her father who was unable to learn and integrate the German language.A history of languages: Russian, Ukrainian, German and Korean, which finally converge in one person.

Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017

Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017

 


THE BODY’S WEIGHT

 

The aesthetic of Three Borders sits between that of Godard of the Histoire(s) du Cinéma (the video effects at least) and Chris Marker of La Jetée (the slide show as a form of literary essay). A game with fairy stories (the grandmother’s exile, the father’s lie when marrying) and crucial moments in history (genocides, the fall of the Eastern Bloc). While the story’s end is quickly understandable—one day, all these characters will meet to give birth to Alisa Berger—this is not a pretentious or self-analysing exercise. She loves her family, her artist father and her graphic designer mother, and above all, she pays tribute to people caught up in the torments of history.

Alisa Berger’s biography may seem extraordinary, but in the historic framework of the former Soviet Union, it is one of many. Following on from her story, the artist now searches for strange origins. During a residency in Erevan, Armenia, she set up pyrotechnic effects to ‘set fire’ to a ruined building (Domesticated Spectacle, 2017) and soon after, she left for Japan to film, and learn, the famous Butoh dance (Ghosts of Body, 2018). Obviously, we think of Hito Steyerl who before becoming the post-Internet generation’s muse, realized the brilliant Lovely Andrea, a documentary of her visit to Japan searching for the bondage photographs that she had posed for several years earlier. But while Hito Steyerl has a direct family link with Japan, Alisa Berger is only ‘part’ Asian. She humorously evokes this part of herself in Three Borders, as she recalls the moment in her adolescence when one of her two eyes took a more slanted shape than the other. What she looks for in Butoh, though, just as in her first film, are mutilated, masked and transformed bodies. In this dance, born in Japan after Nagasaki and Hiroshima, ghostly slowness and the body’s weight have a vital dimension. That same weight that astronauts, cosmonauts and spacenauts try to forget as they are flying into space, that weight that our history has written on our faces, the weight of family that makes us what we are. 

Die Körper der Astronauten
Experimental fictional feature film, 73min, 2017

GHOSTS OF BODY
digital photography, work-in-progress, 2018

Solo for One: Identity Climax
video and performance, steaming water, ten performers, fireworks dimensions variable, 2017

Solo for One: Identity Climax
video and performance, steaming water, ten performers, fireworks dimensions variable, 2017

 

Thibaut de Ruyter is an architect and independent curator. He lives in Berlin.

 

Translation: Bronwyn Mahoney

 

The text was commissioned and first published at ArtPress Nr. 460

 

 

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