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Anton Ginzburg, Walking the Sea, 2013, digital video, color, sound, 30 minutes. From “Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art.” e-flux.

“Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art”

The James Gallery, the Graduate Center, City University of New York/e-flux

Anton Ginzburg, Walking the Sea, 2013, digital video, color, sound, 30 minutes. From “Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art.” e-flux.

In perhaps his most popular one-liner, perestroika-era satirist Mikhail Zadornov dubbed Russia “a country with an unpredictable past.” Spanning two continents and eleven time zones, the state now known as the Russian Federation lays claim to conflicting inheritances, from Kievan Rus and the Third Rome to the czarist Russian empire and the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin was able to consolidate power by cherry-picking aspects from each of these legacies and placing them under the banner of his political party, United Russia; the liberal opposition, however, is having a much harder time formulating a rallying call of its own. The left-leaning collective Chto Delat explores this predicament in its latest film, The Excluded. In a Moment of Danger, 2014, a nearly hour-long, twelve-episode Brechtian exercise in which students from Chto Delat’s School of Engaged Art answer questions regarding

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