Where is the Line Between Us?: Cautionary Tales From Now brings together practitioners and thinkers from the fields of art, history, and sociology to explore new models of cultural production and historicization that have been shaped by the unique characteristics of the region.
Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Grammar of Freedom / Five Lessons: Works from the Arteast 2000+ Collection, the conference is the first in Russia to take as its starting point common urgencies shared by artists from Eastern Europe and Russia.
The title is a reference to a series of photographs of 1980 by Komar & Melamid wherein the duo collaborated with American artist Douglas Davis on a series of photographs that commented on the political divide between the East and West during the Cold War. Standing on opposite sides of a thick vertical line, the artists hold plaques with provocative questions that ask what the line is for, until the last image, when they finally reach towards one another and move through the barrier.
Examining the legacy of such a divide in relation to current polarizing politics, the conference will convene three sessions that each explore evolving positions toward the East/West axis in a post-socialist world. Through lectures and panel discussions, speakers will revisit select regional histories since 1989 to suggest how our understanding of past situations can change and develop through the perspectives offered by present circumstances, and vice versa. Acknowledging the renewed need for retrospection as a progressive tool to look to the future, the day-long event will address the “revisionist” approach to making history while opening up the opportunity for fresh engagement with underrepresented worldviews and their transformative potential in current cultural conditions.
Concept: Kate Fowle, Zdenka Badovinac
Organized by: Snejana Krasteva, Ekaterina Inozemtseva
Project managers: Elena Melkumova, Maria Sarycheva
Coordinator: Brittany Stewart
Conference program can be downloaded here.