Transliterative Tease: A Radical Reader
Drawing on the form of the board book or reading primer, and in particular its avant-garde heritage and pedagogical mission in the former USSR, Transliterative Tease: A Radical Reader, takes up the problem of worldbuilding through language acquisition, albeit a century later: that is, a decidedly decolonial one where Soviet books were imperialist, a queer one where the former were decidedly heteronormative, a heteroglossic one where the Soviets were almost Muslim in their emphasis on unicity.
Slavs and Tatars
Slavs and Tatars is an internationally-renowned art collective devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Salt, Istanbul; Vienna Secession, Kunsthalle Zurich, Albertinum in Dresden and Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw, among others. The collective’s practice is based on three activities: exhibitions, publications and lecture-performances. Imbued with humor and a generosity of spirit, their work commonly blends pop visuals with esoteric traditions, oral rituals with scholarly analysis in a way that opens new paths of contemporary discourse. In addition to their translation of the legendary Azerbaijani satirical periodical Molla Nasreddin (currently in its 2nd edition with I.B Tauris), Slavs and Tatars have published more than ten books to date, most recently Wripped Scripped (Hatje Cantz, 2018) on the politics of alphabets and transliteration. In 2019, the collective curated the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts and their work was included in the main exhibition, "May You Live in Interesting Times," of the 58th Venice Biennale. They have participated in the 11th Sharjah, 10th Manifesta, 8th Berlin and 9th Gwangju Biennials as well as group shows at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Kunsthaus Graz, and Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. The collective launched a residency and mentorship program for young professionals from their region in 2018 and recently opened Pickle Bar, a new project space-cum-slavic apéritivo bar a few doors down from their studio in Berlin’s Moabit district.
Leah Feldman's research explores the poetics and the politics of global literary and cultural entanglements, focusing critical approaches to translation theory, semiotics, Marxist aesthetics and decolonial theory, which traverse the Caucasus and Central Asia. Her book On the Threshold of Eurasia: Orientalism and Revolutionary Aesthetics in the Caucasus (Cornell 2018) exposes the ways in which the idea of a revolutionary Eurasia informed the interplay between orientalist and anti-imperial discourses in Russian and Azeri poetry and prose. Tracing translations and intertextual engagements across Russia, the Caucasus and western Europe, it offers an alternative vision of empire, modernity and anti-imperialism from the vantage point of cosmopolitan centers in the Russian empire and Soviet Union. She is currently writing on the rise of the New Right in late/post-Soviet Eurasia and a book tentatively titled Feeling Collapse on Soviet film, art and performance from Central Asia and the Caucasus amidst the collapsing sensorium of the Soviet Empire. Her work has appeared in Slavic Review, boundary 2, Ab Imperio, and Global South and I serve on the editorial collective for boundary 2.