This bilingual text collection is focused on the role of archives in the visual culture and public discourse of East European transformational societies. It is an important signal in acknowledging East European discourse and common experience.
The collection charts multiple theoretical and artistic positions and critiques. Art institutions, museums, photo and video banks have been above all here received as ‘archives’. Archive acts as a means of governing and an agency of identity politics that controls system of values, the behaviour of people, use of language and subjectivity. This approach dwells on presupposition that archives as discursive practices not only preserve and collocate but shape and create the positions of subject and object in society. The notions of ‘archive’ and ‘disobedience’ offer an approach that opens up different ways to elaborate and acknowledge on the past and future of Eastern European discourse. By bringing together these notions this collection of texts conceptualises geopolitical changes in the context of Eastern Europe and relates them to changes in the contemporary world. Visual culture has acquired several new forms and tactics of intervention in the course of these changes.
The contributions help to understand how in Eastern Europe knowledge is produced and reproduced, how it is transformed and what complex role there is for visual culture and images in this process. The texts rethink the relations between curator, artist and archivist; the correlation of archive with time and its consuming, and with disobedient and suppressed sexual and other social identities; the role of categorisation and criminalisation; and the notions of aestheticisation and politicisation, spectrality, surveillance and counter-archives.
The collection comprises of 12 texts that are divided into three parts: 1) The Aporias of Post-Socialist Archive; 2) The Discontents of Control and its Mechanisms; 3) Counterarchives and Disobedience. The book holds visual material to describe the contents. The co-authors are the following: Tina Bastajian, Achille Mbembe, Marina Gržinić, Andrej Kurnik, Vesna Madžoski, Eléonore de Montesquiou, Anu Pennanen, Marko Raat, Oliver Laas, Margaret Tali, Tanel Rander ja Anna-Stina Treumund.
Among the authors there are theoreticians and practitioners who approach archives from different perspectives, such as the realms of documentary films, visual art and photography. One of the aims of the collection has been to bring together these fields that are usually separated as distinct disciplines.Paperback, 456 pages, in english and estonian