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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

Antonina Stebur

Alex Ulko

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini

article

Asli Samadova
Naturalizations. Vertical Flâneur, Pedro Lash, 2012
Documentation by Pedro Lasch & Cliff Lauson
Naturalizations. Vertical Flâneur, Pedro Lash, 2012
Documentation by Pedro Lasch & Cliff Lauson
Naturalizations. CAN YOU REPHRASE THAT IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION, Pedro Lash, 2009
Photo by Esther Gabara
Naturalizations. CAN YOU REPHRASE THAT IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION, Pedro Lash, 2009
Photo by Esther Gabara

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

part two

with Victoria Kravtsova

10th October 2019

Taking a decolonial angle on the (post-)Soviet modernity opens an array of questions before artists, activists and scholars working within and from this locale. How to address the post-Soviet pasts and futures without collapsing into exoticization and orientalization? Victoria Kravtsova asked Madina Tlostanova for her reflections on the subject.

Victoria Kravtsova

What is the role of the post-Soviet in decolonial thinking? In which form does it make sense to work with the Soviet heritage and experience(s)?

Madina Tlostanova

In the global context of today’s world stuck in a systemic crisis of everything the post-Soviet and wider, post-Socialist sensibility is important to critically analyze and take into account in any efforts to imagine a future, because it is a different version of modernity/coloniality that has been erased and forgotten after the end of the Cold War and the triumph of the neoliberal globalization and the end of history model. It is important first of all because it can help avoid or at least predict certain mistakes that were already made within the Soviet experiment. Additionally, it is important as a nuancing and complication of the conceptual black-and-whiteness that is often to be found in geopolitical thinking. Historically it is perhaps important to work with the Soviet legacy (and it is done more or less satisfactorily) although I am more interested in the post-soviet post-traumatic experiences and their reflections which have not yet received all the attention they deserve. Needless to say, this should be a critical work which requires a number of tools many of which do not even exist and need to be invented by the post-soviet thinkers themselves. 

Naturalizations. Vertical Flâneur, Pedro Lash, 2012
Documentation by Pedro Lasch & Cliff Lauson

Victoria Kravtsova

How does reflecting on the experience of a failed Soviet modernity helps to find ways out of the current context of multiple and overlapping discriminations? 

Madina Tlostanova

Many of the current discriminations are just continuations, developments and distortions of what already existed in the failed Soviet modernity and/or results of being unable and unwilling to criticize the Soviet models. Starting from scratch and taking into account only the present situation without the trace of the Czarist Russian and Soviet patterns inevitably oversimplifies the picture and erases the genealogies of the current intersectional nodes. 

So this critical reflection is necessary for better understanding where we are now and why. As for finding the ways out, it is a different story as it requires to imagine and create something new, something different,  rather than just going back or denouncing the past. Yet in this case, as well, a critical awareness of the Soviet experience is an important asset. 

Naturalizations. Vertical Flâneur, Pedro Lash, 2012
Documentation by Pedro Lasch & Cliff Lauson

Victoria Kravtsova

How to attract attention to the specificity of the (post-)Soviet context without exotifying the (post-)Soviet subject and/or reproducing colonial relationships?

Madina Tlostanova

I am not sure at all that I want to attract the attention to our specificity or rather, we have to agree first whose attention we want to attract and why. The hegemonic Global North will not be convinced so in this case I agree with the decolonial principle of radical delinking. It is better to just do our job of analyzing the post-Soviet specificity to better understand ourselves and trace our possible future trajectories without attracting the attention or asking to be admitted into this elite knowledge-production club. If you mean the internal relations between the former metropolis and its quasi-colonies (the Soviet republics), it is a different story, because here a postcolonial denial or/and rage need to be taken into account and a lot depends on who is doing this research or even who has the right to do it. The risk of reproducing the familiar missionary syndrome and orientalist frames is very high. At the same time, the other extreme of the stand-point positions is also not an option. Balancing these approaches relationally is a hard but necessary task. 

Naturalizations. CAN YOU REPHRASE THAT IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION, Pedro Lash, 2009
Photo by Esther Gabara

Victoria Kravtsova

Why quasi-colonies? What makes you use this term to describe, for instance, the relationship of the Soviet state to Central Asian republics?

Madina Tlostanova

To me, they are colonies pure and simple, though in some points different from British or French colonies overseas. But of course the Soviet tactic was precisely to persuade the colonies that they were liberated by the Soviet regime and present their recolonization as decolonization - this is the myth still very much alive in Central Asia. So they are quasi-colonies in the way they understood themselves and their history through the soviet brainwashing. It is the rhetoric of soviet modernity and its logic of coloniality. 

Naturalizations. CAN YOU REPHRASE THAT IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION, Pedro Lash, 2009
Photo by Esther Gabara

Victoria Kravtsova

What kind of futures do you see for the artists, activists, scholars working in and with the (post-) Soviet context? In the context of the currently collapsing neoliberal system, is there a place for specific context-based utopias? Do we need common utopias – if yes, where could they come from?

Madina Tlostanova

I think the time for utopias has passed long ago and is irrevocable. We do not need utopias or nostalgia. We need a realistic analysis and learning to understand more rather than know more (just accumulate knowledge)  trying to save what little there is still to save on this planet or at least postpone the global catastrophic shifts. And this is not a context-based task, it is as global as it can be as it relates to each and every, but it is also thoroughly relational, dynamic and complex. In other words, if we as a species do not treat the complex crisis of today as a common challenge we will soon disappear together with the rest of life on this planet. And this is something that can perhaps bring us back together not in a homogenizing way, keeping our differences intact, yet realizing the importance of this final utmost challenge that no one can escape. 

The question then is not about utopias but rather about what are we ready to sacrifice in our stand-point particularities for the sake of survival and refuturing, to quote Tony Fry. Such a political imagination cannot come ready and finished from anywhere I am afraid. We would have to imagine and create it together in a (co)relational way. There is no guarantee of success here and no shining closed utopia in the end but only humble efforts to conscious and cautious redirective practices, of walking along a hard path marked by constantly asking questions on the way, listening to answers and reimagining our designs relationally.

 

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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