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Round table: Interaction between Social Sciences and Contemporary Art

21 April 2019


As part of the conference Development Vectors of Modern Russia organized by Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, Garage will hold a round table involving experts in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and art theory who will discuss the correspondence and interconnections between contemporary artistic and research theories and practices.

Social sciences and art share a long history of exchanging ideas with each other. This process gained special momentum in the second half of the twentieth century, as, influenced by the development of social theory, art and science lost their independent positions in the social context. As a result, artists and researchers started paying more attention to the social implications of their activities and their impact on social processes.

What kind of limitations do the understanding of social sciences and that of contemporary art face today? What conceptual languages should be used in order to overcome them? What kind of current issues do artists and researchers have to deal with today? And how can they help each other to do so?


Viktor Vakhshtain, sociologist, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at MSSES. Candidate of Sociology. Expert in social theory, history, sociology of the everyday, and urban studies. Author of the books Sociology of the Everyday and the Theory of Frames (2011) and The Case of the Everyday. Sociology in Judicial Precedents (2015), as well as regular publications in the Logos and Sociology of Power magazines. Viktor lives and works in Moscow.

Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, anthropologist, professor at the St. Petersburg campus of NRS HSE. Nikolai holds a PhD degree from Stanford University, with his scope of academic interests embracing Soviet ethnography, the performative character of anthropological knowledge, and gift-exchange processes in Soviet society. Author of the methodology of conceptual ethnography. Curator of the exhibition Gifts to Soviet Leaders, Moscow State Exhibition Hall New Manege (2006). Author of the books The Social Life of the State in Subarctic Siberia (1998) and Two Lenins: A Brief Anthropology of Time (2017). Editor-in-chief of Social Anthropology—a journal published by the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA). He lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Sarah Wilson, art historian, professor at the Courtauld Institute, London. Specialist in the history of postwar art in the former socialist block countries and France. Curator of the 1st Asian Biennale (Guangzhou, 2014). Sarah was awarded by the International Association of Art Critics (IAAC) for her book Paris, Capital of the Arts, 1900–1968. She is currently working on the second volume of the book The Visual World of French Theory which studies the interconnection between philosophy and art in France. She lives and works in London and Paris.

Valentin Diaconov, curator at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, art critic. Candidate of Cultural Studies. Valentin worked as a journalist writing about art for the Kommersant newspaper and the magazines Arthronika, Novy Mir Isskusstva (The New World of Art), Frieze, and others. Selected exhibition projects include: Philosophy of Common Task, Perm State Art Gallery (2012), Detective, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2014), Laughter in the Room, Na Shabolovke Gallery, Moscow (2015), Congo Art Works: Popular Painting, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2017), and The Fabric of Felicity, (co-curated with Ekaterina Lazareva and Iaroslav Volovod), Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018). Valentin lives and works in Moscow.


Free admission with advance registration


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