International Inspiration #2: Anna Novikov

15.01 at 18 lecture "Nation is the New Black: Patriotic Fashion and Performance in the Post-Communist States", room A501, EKA

16.01 at 18 seminar ""My Body is My Runestick and My Tattoos Tell My Story": Performing Self-Barbarization in the Digital Age", room A301, EKA

In the last decade, a transnational revival of patriotic attire linked to patriotic performance, becomes fashionable in the Post-Communist states of Eastern-Central Europe and Central Asia. I examine visual and ideological links between media, dress, performance and the current development of patriotic fashion and performance in these areas.

The Ukrainian Vyshyvanka appeared at Fashion Week in Paris. Combat trousers and T-shirts with “cursed soldiers” and neo-folk motives on dresses are now popular in Poland. During their yearly patriotic assemblies, Hungarian activists wear Mongolian inspired attire. The Lithuanian President purchases traditional people’s clothes, Kazakh female pop singers dress up as the Mongolian-Turk nomadic amazons and Russian girls wear dresses with portraits of Putin. Dress is politicized and it is commonly used these days in order to emphasize a political statement. This patriotic attire and performance, which includes elements of neo-folk, embroidery, historical scenes, religious symbols and photographs of politicians, is the result of current reconstruction of history within the Post-Communist states according to their own narrative of the past. Attire in various patriotic performances visualizes this ideology.

The lecture is followed by a seminar, held on January 16 at room A301.

What is common between the recent Kazakh movie Tomiris and the performance of the girls’ band Gauhartas, the controversial clip of German band Rammstein, the Slavs and Vikings festival in Wolin in Poland, the Hungarian Kurultaj assembly, the Norwegian series Norsemen and the global phenomenon of belly/tribal fusion dances?

Nowadays, a global culture of self-visualization in media combined with various anti-utopic, post-apocalyptic, post-colonial, medievalist, neo-pagan and orientalist fashions demonstrates a new trend which gathers momentum: the self-“barbarisation”. This trend comes as an opposition to the “civilized” Western culture, whose cultural narrative has been dominant in the last centuries. The seminar will focus on the current trend of return to a reconstructed or borrowed authenticity which in the Western cultural narrative has been previously regarded as a “barbarian” one.

Dr Anna Novikov, originally from Israel, lives and works in Greifswald, studies the broader sociopolitical context of fashion, including the recent rise in nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe, and its impact on the issues of fashion and identity.

All lectures and seminars are free of charge and in English. The lectures are recorded and shared on Estonian Academy of Arts’ Vimeo page.

International Inspiration is a collaborative lecture series between CCA and Estonian Academy of Arts that first started in 2015. The lecture series hosts internationally recognized curators and critics who are introducing their practice, work methods and are consulting students in seminars.

Season 2019/2020 is focused on the politics of different art institutions – museums, residencies, and art criticism. The aim has also been to invite thinkers from the regioon (Nordic countries, Eastern Europe). The list of speakers includes Alma Heikkilä ja Saara-Maria Kariranta (Mustarinda), Anna Novikov (Greifswaldi ülikool), The White Pube (art critics from London), Christoph Platz (Steirischer Herbst).

Supported by Estonian Cultural Endowment.