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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.

How to contact us

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

Victoria Kravtsova

Ira Konyukhova

Thibaut de Ruyter

Asli Samadova

Antonina Stebur

Alex Ulko

Katharina Wiedlack

People

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. 

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.

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.

Daria Prydybailo

Daria Prydybailo is a curator, researcher, founder of the TRSHCHN platform and co-founder of the NGO Art Matters Ukraine. Her background includes +7 years in leading cultural institutions of Ukraine such as National museum complex Art Arsenal and CCA PinchukArtCentre, as well as independent curatorial practice with a strong focus on the body in contemporary art, sensual turn, sound art, and in-situ projects. She worked on large-scale international projects such as International forum Art Kyiv, the First Kyiv Biennale of contemporary art ARSENALE 2012, and Ukrainian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. During 2013-2015 she curated online-platform & collective of artists, curators and writers  (wo)manorial, who contemplate the ever-changing concept of femininity. Her latest research is focused on love and intimacy in the context of emotional capitalism. Originally from Kyiv currently she lives and works in Berlin. 

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.

Kundry Reif

Kundry Reif grew up in Vienna, Austria. Whilst studying cultural studies at university in Berlin she started to work in art collectives and galleries. Last year she went to work at the Goethe Institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for a year. Having never heard a lot about Central Asia before, this year abroad sparked her interest. Being back now, she misses Central Asian Kurt, and has decided that her favorite museum of all times is the Sawitsky Museum in Nukus, Uzbekistan. 

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.

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.

Alexandra Vetter

Alexandra Vetter is a film maker currently based in Berlin. In 2010, she achieved a Master Degree in theatre, film and media studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. She then specialized in creating documentary films and shorts, filming in Germany, the UK, Russia, Italy and Ireland. During her stay in Dublin from 2013-2019, she was co-organiser of an independent film group Dublin Filmmakers Collective, where she regularly held film-making events, workshops as well as film screenings. Her works have been screened at several film festivals including REFLECTA – Rethink Your World, Frankensteiner Film Festival, Open Film Festival Weiterstadt, International Theatre Festival Frankfurt am Main "Sommerwerft" and Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dublin. Her video works were shown at the Historische Museum Frankfurt, at the World Cultural Museum and the exhibition hall 1A in Frankfurt. More recently she has been exploring the topic of age and ageing.

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.

17th January 2020

On the loop

interview

en

23rd December 2019

"Мы сёння знаходзімся ў іншай вытворчай драме"

interview

Работай Больше! Отдыхай Больше!
by

5th December 2019

Another production drama

interview

Interview with WORK HARD! PLAY HARD! working group
en

20th November 2019

Wandering poetics of Central Asian mestizas

interview

Interview with Krëlex Zentre
en

6th November 2019

Conversation with Julieta Aranda and Anna Kamay

interview

en

29th October 2019

Where the roses grow

interview

Interview with Almagul Menlibaeva
en

25th October 2019

On language of supremacy: Medina Bazargali in conversation

interview

en

16th October 2019

Interiors

portrait

Exhibition by Xenia Fink In Ta(r)dino 6 Baku
en

10th October 2019

Madina Tlostanova on decolonizing the post-Soviet, exotization and political imagination(s)

interview

part two
en

26th September 2019

Madina Tlostanova on feminism, coloniality, returned pasts and reimagined futures

interview

part one
en

6th September 2019

It is more important to make films queerly than to make queer films

interview

en

12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini

article

Asli Samadova
en

1st July 2019

Juggling Dinosaurs

article

The precariousness of motherhood in arts
Anna Kamay
en

24th June 2019

Interview with Elene Abashidze

interview

en

14th June 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your flight and accommodation

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en

28th May 2019

Ich liebe dich!

article

Antonina Stebur
de

17th May 2019

Interview with Anna Vahrami

interview

en

23rd April 2019

Artist Portrait: Anastasia Akhvlediani

portrait

en

13th April 2019

Artist Portrait: Alisa Berger

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en

21st March 2019

Faig Ahmed

interview

Interview geführt von Ira Konyukhova und Pavel Metelitsyn
de

18th March 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union!

article

Irina Konyukhova
en

11th March 2019

Interview mit Samvel Saghatelian

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova
de

8th March 2019

Artist Portrait: Salome Dumbadze

portrait

en

4th March 2019

Interview mit Chinara Majidova

interview

Geführt von Ira Konyukhova
de

26th February 2019

East Wind - Art in the Former Soviet Republics

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en
Taus Makhacheva, Way of an Object, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, 2013, courtesy of the artist and M HKA museum
photo by Nikita Shokhov
Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme.
Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme.
Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme

Madina Tlostanova on feminism, coloniality, returned pasts and reimagined futures

part one

with Victoria Kravtsova

26th September 2019

As feminism is taking more and more space within politics, art and activism on the post-Soviet area, geopolitical cleavages, histories of interdependence and coloniality give the questions of identity and difference a renewed relevance. Victoria Kravtsova talked to Madina Tlostanova, a feminist thinker and one of the first scholars to bring post- and decolonial approaches to the post-Soviet space about the past, present and future(s) of feminist discourses.

Victoria Kravtsova

 Dear Madina, as a thinker and academic, where would you place your work? 

Madina Tlostanova

I see myself as a decolonial verbal artist and perhaps thinker whereas being an academic is an accidental thing which can change at any point. I do not see myself as a philosopher (even if I spent half of my academic career as a professor of philosophy) as I am very sceptical of traditional disciplinary divisions grounded in what Lewis Gordon calls “disciplinary decadence”.

Taus Makhacheva, Way of an Object, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, 2013, courtesy of the artist and M HKA museum
photo by Nikita Shokhov

Victoria Kravtsova

Could you please talk a bit more about decoloniality: what makes it not a theory, but an option, as you once stated in an interview? 

Madina Tlostanova

We do not impose any ready-made interpretations onto reality, we learn from indigenous and colonized populations, and with them and in the process of constant discussion and negotiation we come up with some options which we put on the table for everyone to consider and improve, or reject, without forcing our option as theories usually do. We consciously and from the start, reject disciplinary decadence and refuse to become a discipline and a theory. We have no space here to discuss this, but I refer the readers to the wonderful Afro-Caribbean philosopher Lewis Gordon who coined this term and reflected on the shifting of the geography of reason. To oppose something to the coloniality of thinking and knowledge, one needs to get rid of theories in their modern/colonial understanding. And this is what we - decolonial thinkers - are trying to do. Importantly it is as much an ethical and political choice as an epistemic one.  

Victoria Kravtsova

For many scientists these two terms - decolonial and postcolonial - are often interchangable. Where do you see the difference between them?

Madina Tlostanova

There is a huge and perhaps even growing difference between these positions. They differ not only because they had to do with different types of colonialism in the Americas (decolonial) and in Asia and Africa (postcolonial) and hence with different focuses of the two discourses, e.g. the decolonial focus on indigeneity and the postcolonial focus on subalternity, migrations, and creolization. A more fundamental difference was and is that the postcolonial discourse is not radically de-automatizing of and delinking from the Western epistemic premises,  naturalized cognitive operations, methodological clichés and disciplinary divisionsand consequently, it is not attempting to build a different conceptual apparatus to launch or set free an alternative world perception.

Decolonial thinking sees this as the main problem of postcolonial studies because no matter how factually accurate and descriptively detailed they are, postcolonial thinkers often continue using methodological tools of the master to dismantle his house, to paraphrase Audre Lorde. And this is indeed impossible. The delocalized universalism of postcolonial theory is discordant with decolonial pluriversality as coexistence and correlation of many interacting and intersecting non-abstract universals grounded in the geopolitics and corpopolitics of knowledge, being, gender, and perception, reinstating the experiential nature of knowledge and the origin of any theory in the human life-world. Pluriversal critique targets not the concrete constellations of race, gender, and class but rather the aberration of the universal as such. For me, this is the main difference between the two discourses and not even the simple fact that one stems from Latin America and the other from Great Britain and its former colonies.

Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme.

Victoria Kravtsova

Whom would you highlight out of artists who represent decolonial approach?

Madina Tlostanova

There are definitely many decolonial artists who are both connected with theories and aware of them and are decolonial due to their specific subjectivities and sensibilities. Among them Aslan Gaisumov and Taus Makhacheva, Saule Suleimenova and Almagul Menlibaeva, Pedro Lash, Jeannette Ehlers, Patricia Kaersenhout, Hayv Kahraman and many others

Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme.

Victoria Kravtsova

One of the artists you mentioned, Taus Makhacheva, is born and raised in Dagestan, a multi-ethnic republic in the south of Russia with the majority of the Muslim population. As an artist, she's working with topics of national identity and her feminine role in a conservative society. Which works of Taus in your opinion apply decolonial gestures?

Madina Tlostanova

The general impulse of Taus’s work, of her art as research and refuturing - is deeply decolonial as it deals with problematizing the assumptions and norms that coloniality - soviet and post-soviet and national as well, embedded in all of us and with ways to re-existence - in every of her work. In more concrete terms Makhacheva deals with the decolonisation of museums in complex performances such as Tightrope and The Way of an Object where she questions the disciplinary role of the museum as an imperial/national institution that provides one legitimised historical or aesthetic truth. Instead, she narrates multiple histories, putting museum objects in unfamiliar contexts outside the institution to give their voices back to them and muses on the complex transfer of ethnic-national traditions, and the precarity in artists’ works that end up in museums as easily as the abyss of a crevasse. Decolonial artworks are less straightforward than artivism – they are open to various interpretations and grounded in different temporalities, unfixed in the actionist metaphysics of the presence, reflecting on multiple pasts, without which there is no present or future.

Tightrope, Dagestan, 2015. 58.10 min., video, colour, sound. Tightrope walker: Rasul Abakarov
The work is based on the collection of Dagestan Museum of Fine Arts named after P. S. Gamzatova, and its production supported by Cosmoscow Artists’ Patrons Programme

Victoria Kravtsova

In your interview with AnFem - a Russian anarcha-feminist group - you mentioned that decoloniality is now experiencing what intersectionality already did: Western feminism appropriated concepts from the Global South, distorts and depoliticizes them. What is to be done in this situation, is there a way to contradict this depoliticization? 

Madina Tlostanova

Nothing can be done or should be done except ignoring all this and continuing to do what we find important and relevant. Intersectionality, in its original interpretations, has not become corrupted because some white feminists decided to hijack it. The same happens with decoloniality. It is deeply political and will continue to be so, whereas cases of its misuse and abuse are just temporary superficial efforts to revive the deflated feminist and not only feminist agenda.

Victoria Kravtsova

In an another interview your mentioned that some post-Socialist feminists appropriate postcolonial discourse, erasing race from it. How, in your opinion, decolonial feminism could/should look like in the post-Soviet space instead?

Madina Tlostanova

I do not believe in schemes through which we decide to practice decolonial feminism in this or that region. It does not work like that. There could be certain internal impulses, needs, wills that would eventually rhyme or come into dialogue with decolonial agendas or not. But it has to grow out of the local history and not be imposed from outside. As I wrote ages ago in my book on feminist epistemologies in Eurasian borderlands, the most suitable spaces for such impulses to emerge are the non-European racialized colonies and ex-colonies such as Central Asian countries and the Caucasus where race is and always have been an issue in contrast with Russia proper or with secondary European colonies. I have no idea how it could look like because the feminists themselves in these spaces would have to decide it and create it. I do not own the decolonial option; it is free and open for everyone to design and rethink depending on people’s needs and interests.

Victoria Kravtsova

Your book “Gender Epistemologies and Eurasian borderlands“ (2010, Palgrave Macmillan) is somehow pointing at feminisms from the post-Soviet borderlands as a source of possible common visions. Did you perception change since then? 

Madina Tlostanova

I do not think I ever formulated my question like this - trying to find who or what would be the source of common visions. I was just trying to put Central Asia and the Caucasus on the map and look at our feminist or rather, “womanist” (in Alice Walker’s sense) genealogies and trajectories, vis-a-vis other major feminist models, names, movements, and also put them into the context of Russian (post)/neo-colonialism and global coloniality.

What has changed perhaps is hope or the degree to which changes are possible and how soon are they to happen. I was never an optimist, but I did believe more in the possibility of decolonial reemergence of erased cosmologies and ways of thinking and acting in the Caucasus and Central Asia. And I was hoping that feminist movements will be among the first and most important ones to start this shift.

What I underestimated was the devastating and long-lived effect of the Soviet modernity, its “duress” to quote Ann Laura Stoler that wiped out whatever was still alive in these indigenous and colonial contexts. The present regime makes sure that no revival is possible. An example of this is the new law regulating the study of native languages in Russia (it was made optional) which for minorities basically means that within several years their languages would die as practically the last marker of ethnic identity.

In this respect, the post-Soviet space is very different from Latin America where in spite of the genocides and dehumanization, the indigenous people managed to preserve their cosmologies until now. In the post-Soviet cases, this was virtually impossible, and perhaps it is even too late now to capture the seeds of alternative thinking and perception. Yet I see some promising cases even today, and it is wonderful that they come from the younger generation of scholars, activists, artists, writers. Once again, they are not bringing a new Truth with a capital letter to the world. They are just working humbly on their decoloniality which quite importantly is a decoloniality for rather than merely against, for a creation of a world otherwise, a world with a returned past and a reimagined future.

 

Madina Tlostanova is a decolonial thinker and fiction writer, professor of postcolonial feminisms at Linköping University (Sweden). She focuses on decolonial thought, feminisms of the Global South, postsocialist sensibilities, fiction and art. Her most recent books include Postcolonialism and Postsocialism in Fiction and Art: Resistance and Re-existence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and What Does it Mean to Be Post-Soviet? Decolonial Art from the Ruins of the Soviet Empire (Duke University Press, 2018).

 

Victoria Kravtsova has studied International Relations in St. Petersburg and Berlin. In Berlin she is active in NGO projects in Eastern Europe, co-organizing seminars and exchange programs in the fields of environment, human rights, gender equality and civic education. Victoria receives a scholarship from Heinrich Böll Foundation and is engaged in writing her thesis “Between the ‘posts’, out of the void” where she traces the travels of the contemporary feminist discourses to and from Central Asia.

 

Editors: Ina Hildebrandt, Ira Konyukhova.

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