Affective commoning: Collective curating in the post-socialist space

Gkitsa, Dimitra. 2020. Affective commoning: Collective curating in the post-socialist space. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis investigates the political, philosophical and aesthetic trajectories of collective curating in Southeast Europe. It is developed from a theoretical and philosophical standpoint that focuses on four key curatorial collectives and their interventionist reconfigurations of the region’s socialist past: Kiosk (Belgrade), Multidisciplinary Arts Movements (Tirana), Kontekst Collective (Belgrade), and Kooperacija (Skopje). Responding to a gap in previous literature and focusing on more underrepresented practices from the region, the thesis argues that a younger generation of artists and curators have employed infrastructures of collectivity and self-organisation to reclaim public spaces that were predominantly defined by discourses of trauma, nostalgia, and the distinct failure produced by ideologies of both communist regimes and neoliberalism. In so doing, the thesis is centralised around analysing the key notions of memory and affect, transition, post-socialism, self-organisation and commoning. The research commences with a historic approach and critical reflection on the ways “Eastern Europe” appeared as a specific category in practices of exhibition-making after 1989. This is put into dialogue with the practice of self-organisation in the 1990s and the ways it allowed art groups to obtain political agency. Using Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History (1942) and Derrida’s Spectres of Marx (1994) as a critical entry point, the thesis explores the multiple temporalities of memory as well as the post-communist conditions and the potentialities of revising the socialist past after socialism via the curatorial. The thesis proposes the term “affective commoning” as a concept-tool to describe an emerging body of curatorial practices that raise collectivity and self-organisation as an important element of affective political action by revisiting spaces and temporalities of ruination.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Curatorial, curating, collectives, postcommunism, postsocialism, memory, affect; East Europe

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


31 May 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2020 13:36

Last Modified:

31 May 2024 01:26


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