Russische en Slavische studies - East Seminar


This ARTES EAST seminar will take place on Thursday, the 20th of May at 4pm Amsterdam time

Infrastructure memes and temporal politics in the cracks

Dr Neda Genova (Goldsmiths University of London)
Infrastructure memes and temporal politics in the cracks
Thursday, 20 May 2021, 4:00-5:30pm
Zoom Link:

NEDA GENOVA from Goldsmiths University of London will talk about her ongoing project on infrastructure memes in the context of contemporary Bulgaria.

Cracked and wavy asphalt, mismatched tiles and potholes surfacing in road infrastructure have been subject to public outcry and mockery since the beginning of the transition period in Bulgaria, while the defects and at times deadly malfunctioning of these infrastructures are often used as a shorthand to indicate the inadequacy and corrupted character of ruling governments. However, in recent years, images of defunct and broken pavement slabs and asphalt taken in Sofia have also been reworked in a new genre of ‘infrastructure memes’. These are then circulated on social media and make for waves of ridicule and laughter.

In this presentation I would like to explore the political modality of these images vis-à-vis their capacity of disrupting a post-communist temporality, which, as Boris Buden has argued, is governed by a logic of (historical) belatedness. Furthermore, I will engage with the work of Alenka Zupančič in order to shed light on two interrelated aspects in relation to humour’s subversive potential: first, its capacity to intervene in a temporal order by building a “continuity-through-interruption” and second, its ability to render abstractions concrete.

Neda Genova holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths University of London and currently lectures at Goldsmiths, London South Bank, Regent’s and Winchester Universities. In 2020, Neda was a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography in Leipzig, Germany. Her interdisciplinary research sits at the intersection of cultural studies, visual cultures, urban and post-communist studies. Genova is member of the editorial collective of the Bulgarian-language activist-academic journal “dVERSIA”. She is currently working on a monograph titled “Politics of Surfaces. The Panels, Walls and Memes of Post-Communism”.

For more information on EAST seminars please contact Ewa Stańczyk.