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Regular version of the site

Article

Gift/knowledge relations at the exhibition of gifts to Soviet leaders

Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research. 2013. Vol. 5. No. 2. P. 166-192.

This is a study of audience reactions to the exhibition Gifts to Soviet Leaders (Kremlin Museum, Moscow, 2006) that ranges from comments in the viewers’ response book to the decision of the Kremlin Museum to gift a copy of the exhibition catalog to President Vladimir Putin for his fi fty-fi fth birthday in 2007. My goal is to demonstrate how relations of knowledge, which confi gure this complex post-Soviet audience in the form of social memory, perform the gift and, vice versa, how gift giving performs these relations of knowledge and power. In doing so, this article contributes from a new angle to the gift theory and also to anthropological understandings of performativity. It is a study in “ethnographic conceptualism” that refers to anthropological themes and concepts as they can be used in conceptual art and also, conversely, to anthropology conducted as conceptual art.

 

Keywords: Gift; Knowledge; Gift/Knowledge; Performativity; Ethnographic Conceptualism; Conceptual Art; Power