Late Soviet Temporalities

Why should we care about time? Are time at work and time off still the same time? How does time shape how we live, speak and perceive the world? How does it feel to have no future? And what about being stuck in the past? Is time a circle, a spiral or a line? Is time a collective experience? How do people make sense of time in different societies and landscapes, at different ages and historical moments? Was there an end of history? Will there ever be one? The “Late Soviet Temporalities” room explores these questions by drawing on late socialist experiences, philosophies and artistic expressions of time.

The period from the 1960s to the mid-1980s is often labelled the “era of stagnation” in Soviet history. A perceived immutability of the Soviet system and the lack of prospect of change gave rise to a temporality unique to late socialism: an eternal present. It is precisely such a sense of eternity that enabled the creation of a complex underground network of artistic and intellectual alliances. The “Late Soviet Temporalities” room aims to reconstruct how philosophers and artists of the late Soviet underground conceptualised and expressed time. We are interested in communal time, impermanence, circularity, emptiness, repetition, ritual and death.

Our room explores these themes in a regular reading group where we discuss philosophical texts, essays, films, literature and music. We meet on Zoom once every three weeks. Everyone is welcome to join our network.

Our group was founded in 2022. We are an international and multidisciplinary community of people interested in time, late Soviet socialism and culture.