The First Post-Soviet Generation in the Estonian Art Field
Keywords:Eastern Europe, Youth cultures, Postsocialism, Generational memory, Children of freedom, Area Studies
This article reflects on the current explanatory value of concepts such as postsocialism and Eastern Europe by exploring how they are represented in contemporary art projects in Estonia. Through an overview of recent exhibitions in which I collaborated with local artists and curators, the research considers generational differences in relation to cultural discourses of the postsocialist experience. Methodologically, artists and curators were not simply my informants in the field, but makers of analytical knowledge themselves in their practice. Exhibitions were also approached as contact zones, whereby new cultural forms are simultaneously reflected and constructed. Critically, this inquiry gathers new ways of representing and conceptualising cultural changes in Estonia and novel perspectives of interpreting the relations to the Soviet past. The focus is put on art practice because of its capacity of bringing together global and local frames of reference simultaneously. The research also draws attention to the inbetweenness of the first post-Soviet generation (those born near the time of the breakup of the USSR); they are revising established cultural forms as well as historical representations through mixing practices, and therefore updating traditional ideas of identity and attachment to places.
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