Conference “Underground and Lifeworld: Late Soviet Unofficial Culture as a Socio-Aesthetic Phenomenon”

September 23rd, 2019

The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities and Uppsala University

Stockholm, 28–29 September 2019

The conference will highlight the most important aspects of underground culture – its lifeworlds.  We will focus on such formative aspects of underground culture as its infrastructures, self- conceptualization, interactions with external cultural realms through the mechanisms of samizdat, magnitizdat, and tamizdat; different forms of spirituality intertwined with artistic and cultural practices, as well as gender and performative practices of the late Soviet underground.

Organizing committee:

Per-Arne Bodin, The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities

Maria Engström, Uppsala University

Mark Lipovetsky, Columbia University


Working languages: English and Russian.


Venue: Ersta diakoni, Erstagatan 1, Stockholm


Saturday, 28 September 2019


10.00-10.30 Coffee and welcome from the organizing committee


Section 1. Conceptualizing Soviet cultural underground


Chair: Maria Engström

10.30-11.00 Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University). Underground culture and historical avant-garde

11.00-11.30 Ilya Kukuj (Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich). Infrastructures of the late Soviet underground

11.30-12.00 Klaudia Smola (University of Dresden). The Life-World of Late Soviet underground

12.00-13.00 Lunch


Section 2.


Chair: Mark Lipovetsky

13.00-13.30. Ann Komaromi (University of Toronto). Samizdat, tamizdat and magnitizdat

13.30-14.00 Irina Sandomirskaya (Södertörn University). ”Maria”, the underground, and an anti-feminist feminism

14.00-14.30 Per-Arne Bodin (The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities). Maria Iudina and the cult of heroines in the underground

14.30-15.00 Coffee

Section 3. Leningrad and Moscow Artistic Underground: 1980s and early 1990s


Chair: Ilya Kukuj

15.00-15.30 Maria Engström (Uppsala University). Консервативный андеграунд: Южинский кружок

15.30-16.00 Ekaterina Andreeva (State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg). Тимур Новиков и “Новые художники”. Ресайклинг советского быта

16.30-17.00 Andrei Khlobystin (St Petersburg). Народный концептуализм Тимура Новикова

17.00-17.30 Oleg Kotel’nikov (Pushkinskaia 10, St Petersburg). tbc


Sunday, 29 September 2019


9.00 Coffee


Section 4. Late Conceptualism


Chair: Per-Arne Bodin


9.30-10.00 Sabine Hänsgen (Humboldt University). Video poiesis. Documenting the Lifeworld of Moscow Conceptualism

10.00-10.30 Tomáš Glanc (Zurich University). West- and East-European sources and contexts of Late Soviet Underground 

10.30-11.00 Fruits


Section 5


Chair: Klaudia Smola


11.00-11.30 Ilya Kukulin (The Higher School of Economics, Moscow). Between Permitted and Unofficial Cultures: Leningrad’s “Club-81” and Its Strategies of Public Activities

11.30-12.00 Stanislav Savitsky (The Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg). Self-conceptualization of the late Soviet underground (theory and politics)

12.00-13.00 Roundtable. The Handbook of Soviet Underground Culture


Chair: Mark Lipovetsky



13.00-14.00 Lunch


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