7th Garage International Conference: Post-What? Neo-How? Contemporary Configurations of the Former Soviet Space


From 22 November 2019 to 23 November 2019


Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
7th Garage International Conference: Post-What? Neo-How? Contemporary Configurations of the Former Soviet Space7th Garage International Conference: Post-What? Neo-How? Contemporary Configurations of the Former Soviet Space


Researchers, curators, and artists from across the region will explore the legacy of Soviet cultural policies, strategies for integration into the international context, models of institutional development, and discursive regimes around the local and global and the national and postcolonial across the space that was until recently referred to as “post-Soviet.”

In 1990, the so-called “parade of sovereignties,” a series of declarations of sovereignty by constituent parts of the Soviet Union, marked the breakdown of the relatively unified Soviet cultural space into numerous independent entities. In the run-up to the 30th anniversary of the “parade,” the organizers of the 7th Garage International Conference have invited participants in those events from the 15 countries that gained independence to review the results of the cultural trajectories set in the 1990s and 2000s. Until recently, both the time following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the space formerly occupied by it (and sometimes even that of the Eastern Bloc countries) were referred to as post-Soviet. Today, this term no longer feels relevant. A new sense of cultural community between the former Soviet republics has emerged despite political conflicts, post-colonial traumas, and national differences. This community has yet to find a name, and the resulting terminological uncertainty will be the subject of several papers, whose authors will examine the limitations of existing terms and discuss alternatives.

Conference speakers will also share their experience of cultural institution building on the ruins of the Soviet system or the foundations laid by international institutions in the 1990s; discuss questions of national representation and international cooperation; look into DIY and artist-run initiatives across the former Soviet space; and review cultural development strategies based on state and private support. Alongside historical case studies, participants will discuss projects and practices of the last decade, which were often driven by people born after 1990. The program also includes several art interventions.    

The program of the 7th Garage International Conference was developed with the aim of contributing to a deeper understanding of recent cultural developments across the region. The conference is the latest in a series of projects bringing together the Museum and cultural institutions in the former Soviet Union, which also includes the Garage pavilion at Astana EXPO-2017, contributions to the program of Tselinny Center of Contemporary Culture in Almaty and Center for Contemporary Art in Tashkent, and collaborations with artists and independent curators organized as part of the Museum’s exhibition, publishing, research, and public programs.

The conference is organized by Ekaterina Lazareva and Andrey Misiano, Garage curators.

Conference Speakers: Hrach Bayadyan (Yerevan, Armenia), Aleksei Borisionok (Minsk, Belarus), Boris Chukhovich (Montreal, Canada), Teymur Daimi (Baku, Azerbaijan), Georgi Derluguian (Abu Dhabi, UAE), Anders Härm (Tallinn, Estonia), Nikita Kadan (Kyiv, Ukraine), Inga Lāce (Riga, Latvia), Viktor Misiano (Moscow, Russia), Stefan Rusu (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Kęstutis Šapoka (Vilnius, Lithuania), Yulia Sorokina (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Madina Tlostanova (Linköping, Sweden), Alexey Ulko (Tashkent, Uzbekistan), Vladimir Us (Chisinau, Moldova). 

Artistic Interventions: Bouillon Group (Tbilisi, Georgia).

Cover image: Babi Badalov (Paris, France).



Free admission with advance registration.


Conference Program

SESSION 1. What Was It? Analyses


Participants arrive


Welcome by Anton Belov, Director, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art


Introduction by conference organizers Ekaterina Lazareva and Andrey Misiano, Garage curators


Georgi Derluguian “1968/1989. The Revolution according to Max Weber, or Why Modernism and the USSR Collapsed Together”


Viktor Misiano “The Poetics of Trauma”


Anders Härm “From the Noughties to Now. What da Hell Happened?”


Discussion of papers, open discussion



West Gallery

SESSION 2. What Should We Call It? Terms and Concepts

SESSION 3. Who is in Charge? Positions and Relationships