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  • Acknowledgments  vii
    Introduction. A Futureless Ontology?  1
    1. The Decolonial Sublime   25
    2. Decolonial Aesthetics and Post-Soviet Art  33
    3. A Woman Who Has Many Selves and Takes Over Many Spaces: A Conversation with Liina Siib   65
    4. Beyond Dependencies: A Talk with Vyacheslav Akhunov, the Lonely Ranger of Uzbeck Contemporary Art  84
    5. Reflecting on Time, Space, and Memory with Afanassy Mamedov  106
    Conclusion. People Are Silent . . .  119
    Notes  129
    References  135
  • “In this provocative and poignant book Madina Tlostanova expands her examination of the melancholia of postsocialist peoples as ‘problem people’ facing the ‘void’ of where to go when material conditions have collapsed amid the intensity of lived-experience, of sensing, feeling the, in a word, aesthesis of scarred temporality. The paradox of imagination, embodied in fiction and art, is the proverbial leap, without preordained outcomes, into the openness of decolonial responsibility and the possibility of belonging to a genuinely global future whose boomerang effect could be a transformed understanding of the present. Read this book and think. Read this book and imagine. Read this book and be inspired to create and, despite proverbial fear and trembling, act!” — Lewis Gordon, Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies

    “What do most postcommunist countries—which almost thirty years after the end of the Soviet Bloc still deal with antagonizing feelings of loss, nostalgia, trauma, and never-ending transition, as well as with neocolonial domination of today's neoliberal world—all have in common? In her outstanding book, Madina Tlostanova defines these common experiences as a futureless ontology that reveals the social disorientation of post-Soviet identitarian collectivities. In so doing, she suggests that post-Soviet politically engaged art practices known as artivism offer a possible solution to this futureless ontology.” — Jelena Petrovic, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

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  • Description

    In What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? Madina Tlostanova traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future—which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity—has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art. She interviews artists, art collectives, and writers such as Estonian artist Liina Siib, Uzbek artist Vyacheslav Akhunov, and Azerbaijani writer Afanassy Mamedov who frame the post-Soviet condition through the experience and expression of community, space, temporality, gender, and negotiating the demands of the state and the market. In foregrounding the unfolding aesthesis and activism in the post-Soviet space, Tlostanova emphasizes the important role that decolonial art plays in providing the foundation upon which to build new modes of thought and a decolonial future.

    About The Author(s)

    Madina Tlostanova is Professor of Postcolonial Feminisms at Linköping University, Sweden, and the author of several books, most recently, Postcolonialism and Postsocialism in Fiction and Art: Resistance and Re-existence.
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