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Margins of Error

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In the 1920s, the term ‘factography’ was coined by Russian revolutionary artists and theorists (such as Tret'iakov, Chuzhak, Brik and Vertov). This was a utopian dream, pursued by very talented and idealistic people, who failed to understand that there should have been two kinds of factography – positive and negative, affirmative and non-affirmative: a factography of de jure legitimate actions (promulgated by the State) and a factography of ‘illegal legitimacies’ that challenge the status quo. A paradigm shift discussed in ‘Margins of Error’ is Moscow conceptualism. In the 1970s and 1980s, unable to compete with the mass media and societal spectacles, these artists created their own ‘low-tech’ factographic discourse, aimed at registering their performances and other manifestations of ‘cultural insurgency’ that took place in parks and forests beyond the city. This brings to mind Carl Schmitt's theory of the partisan, especially when one can extend this political category to aesthetic practices.

Keywords: Brik; Carl Schmitt; Chuzhak; Moscow conceptualism; Russian revolutionary artists; Tret'iakov; Tupitsyn; Vertov; cultural insurgency; factography; partisan

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

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