Beyond the Borders of a Post-Soviet Body

Ester Petukhova (2022)
In this ongoing research practice, Ester Petukhova (CMU School of Art) asks “When does a ‘post-Soviet’ history begin? What does the ‘post-Soviet’ person look like? The post-Soviet, is a terminology used to describe Eastern European diaspora that originate from nations after the collapse of the USSR. This diaspora is rarely composed of one national identity, and it is never exclusively “Russian”.
If and When You Find Me, is a series of paintings that attempt to organize a fractured and unreliable timeline of a “post-Soviet” nationhood. From border maps, controlled information dissemination, and registration devices, to the cultural signifiers of a nationhood clouded by the collapse: these six paintings search for a post-Soviet body by forging an escape route towards a new future.
This project was made possible with support from the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund microgrant# 2023-009.
Burgeoning Blue Screen:
The “Blue Screen of Death” is a terminology prompted by frequent internet users: it represents the moment of absolute technological malfunction when prompted with an impenetrable blue screen on a desktop computer. Within the painting is a compressed red map that is interjected by the 1980 USSR Olympic stamp. Pictured in the image is a young man who appears to have installed his desktop computer into the frame of his refrigerator as a “DIY” PC cooling system.
Indexed Landmarks 1 & 2:
Facial Recognition software has been designed to register one of the two categories, an invasive and a non-invasive body. But what is the range for malfunction? Is the post-Soviet body a kind of malfunction? In the image you will find that two “landmarks” have been registered in this scenario: 1.) A young man, and 2.) the Northern pike fish.
Both bodies have been classified as invasive to their regions.
Alla’s Alignment:
Alla Pugacheva remarkably escaped the effects of the collapse in 1991.
After having single-handedly held up the entire economy of the USSR amidst the “era of stagnation”, Pugacheva continued to perform and tour globally with her music through the collapse. On September 18th, 2022, Pugacheva declared her opposition to Putin’s inhumane invasion of Ukraine and denounced his fascist leadership, swearing to never perform in Russia ever again.There are ten marks to index the passage of a star.