Cultural Shifts in Russia since 2010: Messianic Cynicism and Paradigms of Artistic Resistance
The two most important processes influencing new cultural trends in today’s Russia are the state’s annexation of transgression and the transformation of social norms. In Russia’s public space, speakers representing different official or semi- official institutions make aggressive statements and defy accepted norms of public communication. They behave as if they perform the roles of “official holy fools”. Thus, the state “annexes” the right of mediatized public transgression characteristic of contemporary art. State actors are described in the article as “active conform- ists” embodying the expectations and desires of TV-watching “passive conformists”. Accordingly, strategies of heroic resistance in art and literature cease to be relevant for shaping the new wave of Russia’s aesthetic nonconformism. The article discusses alternative scenarios and discourses emerging in contemporary art and literature as formative for the new type of nonconformity.