Right to Be Creative and Invisible Russia

Lecture | March 30 | 6:30-8 p.m. |  Osher Theater, BAMPFA

 2155 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94720

 Margarita Kuleva, Centre for German and European Studies at St. Petersburg State University–University of Bielefeld and the Centre for Art, Design and Social Research; Natalia Samutina, Head of the Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, nstitute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow

 Center for New Media, Arts + Design, Arts Research Center, Department of History of Art, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The Right to Be Creative:

What is fair in contemporary society, and how do people negotiate fairness when there is a lack of clarity and governmental regulation? This question urgently needs to be answered in our time of uncertainty that is blighted by economic austerity and severe political crises. The answer can be found in the regimes of fairness devised by highly innovative social groups as digital creative sectors in Post-Soviet countries as Russia. New generation of the YouTube revolutionists holds numerous records of cultural innovation and excellence in animation, video games, music. For instance, the Russian cartoon series Masha and the Bear has set a new world record as the most watched animated movie with over three billion views. At the same time, existing policies of culture and creativity in Russia neglect these achievements and impose constraints on digital sectors of artistic production. Digital producers are limited not only because of censorship, but also of conservative understanding of creativity as ‘high culture’ only. Having the right to be creative contested, this bright and talented social group seeks for alternative ways for social inclusion by revising notions of profession, social contract and solidarity.

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Invisible Russia: Participatory Cultures, Their Practices and Values

Participatory cultures, as defined by Henry Jenkins back in 1990th, are diverse and active communities, fans and enthusiasts, poachers and creators, whose practices are mostly connected to the underworld of publicly unrecognized amateur cultural production. This has been changing slowly - for example, the biggest fan fiction archive AO3 has been nominated for the Hugo Awards in 2019; comics conventions and anime festivals are big commercial enterprises in many countries; sometimes anonymous graffiti writers attract public attention with their politically motivated works, etc. In Russia, with its elitist culture and politically appropriated media, participatory cultures quite rarely become visible for the general public and elder generations – they remain something that is usually presented as marginal (although thousands participate), youth-related (although some practices are cross-generational), low and insignificant (for whom?).

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About the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium:

Founded by Prof. Ken Goldberg in 1997, the ATC lecture series is an internationally respected forum for creative ideas. Always free of charge and open to the public, the series is coordinated by the Berkeley Center for New Media and has presented over 200 leading artists, writers, and critical thinkers who question assumptions and push boundaries at the forefront of art, technology, and culture including: Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Sophie Calle, Bruno Latour, Maya Lin, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Miranda July, Billy Kluver, David Byrne, Gary Hill, and Charles Ray.

 macfee@berkeley.edu, (510) 495-3505