Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art launches the new publication that aims to capture the traces of Soviet era in our recent past

On September 18 at 6 pm Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art  presents the newly released publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region. It will take place within the framework of the Contemporary Art Festival Survival K(n)it 7 in the former building of the National Library of Latvia, Krišjāņa Barona Street 14.

The publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region aims to capture and analyse the persistent Soviet era traces or references in art, public space, architecture, society, the field of collective and individual memories. Similar to footnotes in a book, the translated references – various processes, events, artefacts, symbols, systems, mythologies and nostalgias – give a kaleidoscopic commentary, elaborate and bring closer narratives about the recent past.

Within the book launch lectures by the Estonian curator, researcher and writer Margaret Tali and Latvian sociologist Baiba Bela-Krūmiņa will take place followed by a discussion. Researchers will focus their presentations on several issues related to the representation and absence within the art structures and will give insights to the questions of memory and biography in the changing contexts, linking their research topics to the materials published in the book.

Margaret Tali is a writer, critic and teacher from Estonia, currently living in Amsterdam. She works in and with the cross-sections of visual art, cultural theory and philosophy. Her current research deals with the roles of testimonies in the context of Eastern European history, waves of migration and the transcultural memories of traumatic events. In 2014 she defended her PhD thesis “Speaking Absence. Art Museums, Representation and Knowledge Creation” at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis in University of Amsterdam. She works as a lecturer and researcher at the Sandberg Institute, and at the Maastricht University. Together with Tanel Rander she is currently working on an edited book project “Archives and Disobedience” (forthcoming in fall 2015).

Baiba Bela-Krūmiņa is an Associate professor in Sociology and Social Anthropology in the University of Latvia. In her PhD thesis she has researched the life stories in the border region between Latvia and Lithuania, focusing on the reciprocity between people and the cultural and social context, stories and culture within the depictions of the everyday life. She has researched memory and identity in relation to belonging to place in different regions in Latvia, as well as to the migration and experience of refugees in the stories of Latvians who undertook a path to Sweden.

Editors and compilers of the publication Revisiting Footnotes. Footprints of the Recent Past in the Post-Socialist Region are Ieva Astahovska and Inga Lāce, graphic designer is Monika Grūzīte. The first part of the publication contains essays by Ieva Astahovska (LV), Ilya Budraitskis (RU), Viktorija Eksta (LV), Mārtiņš Kaprāns (LV), Inga Lāce (LV), Davor Mišković (HR), Magdalena Radomska (PL), Mykola Ridnyi (UA), Tanel Rander (EE), Slavs and Tatars (Eurasia), Tamta-Tamara Shavgulidze (GE), Margaret Tali (EE), Sophia Tabatadze (GE), Dovilė Tumpytė (LT) and Ieva Viese (LV). There are visual materials and diagrams illustrating some of the essays using the mapping methods by Vytautas Michelkevičius (LT), Agnė Narušytė (LT) and Lina Michelkevičė (LT) and new media artists Maija Demitere (LV), Paula Vītola (LV), Krista Dintere (LV) and Rihards Vītols (LV).

The second part of the publication translates footnotes of the socialism and post-socialism through artworks exhibited in the project’s exhibitions Revisiting Footnotes in 2013 by the artists Arnis Balčus (LV), Aija Bley (LV), Marijan Crtalić (HR), Henrik Duncker (FI), Indrė Klimaitė (LT), Žilvinas Landzbergas (LT), Marge Monko (EE), Lada Nakonechna (UA), Kristina Norman (EE) and Slavs and Tatars (Eurasia).

The contributors of the publication belong to the generation that returns to the consciously forgotten socialist past, yet their interest is rather an attempt to investigate and understand the conditions of contemporary reality that are still tied with this heritage. They explore, interpret and translate this experience through both visual imprints and the interrelationships of their meanings, applying different approaches, such as documentary, reconstructive, anthropological, archival and others. They do not refrain from depicting the dramas that arose from the change of the political and economic systems, instead treating the past and the present as belonging to the same timeline, which also contains potential scenarios for the future.

Echo Gone Wrong
September 17, 2015
Published in News from Latvia
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