Neoliberal Realism
  Neoliberal Realism In one little American town located on the eastern coast of the United States, one comes across a very intriguing public sculpture. The town is known for its Ivy League University – one of the oldest in this country – that has launched, for decades, or rather centuries, many of its successful alumni into the space of politics, business, and the sciences. The monument faces the northern wall of the campus, which is daily skirted by tourists who come from all over the world to capture on their digital cameras alphanumeric memories of neo-gothic, modernist, and po... (continue)

Fuck You Venice Biennale!
  Fuck You Venice Biennale! I don’t usually give this kind of title to my rare blog entries, but this case is special. The title expresses anger, but it also makes a reference to one work, by a Moldovan artist, which was presented a couple of years ago at the Venice Biennale. This was a play script called “Fuck You Europe!” written by Nicoleta Esinencu. The Venice Biennale liked it back then, because I would guess the play had expressed all the pessimism associated with the idea of a ...; Moldovan Contemporary Art; Bulgaria at Venice Biennale; Georgia at Venice Biennale; Berlusconi; (continue)

The “Rolling R” and the Forces of Evil
I often wonder when the American popular imagination will ever grow tired of Hollywood villains built upon enduring eastern European stereotypes. But really, when? Twenty years – Ladies and Gentlemen – have passed since the fall of that evil concrete Wall, and good old Hollywood still keeps feeding us with new Frankensteins and Draculas, making many believe that these monsters once inhabited some central or south-eastern parts of Europe. The seed of my new theory about the forces of Evil is in the observation that both the old and the new eastern European-inspired villains have one thi... (continue)

On Loudness
While attending, a few nights ago, a concert by WPO (the West Philadelphia Orchestra) – a loud brass band known in Philly for its dedication to Balkan music – I was reminded of an expression that I encountered on numerous occasions in Russian literature, especially in books written in the late 19th and the early 20th century. WPO playing at Tritone, Philadelphia, December 2010 The expression goes like this: “to sound like a Romanian orchestra,” as for instance in this quotation: It was Mandelshtam who reproached one of the most stentorian perpetra... Octavian Esanu, December, 2010 (continue)

When Mamaliga Becomes Form
Wikipedia will tell you that “mamaliga” – (Romanian pronunciation mămăligă [məməˈliɡə]) – is a dish made out of yellow maize popular in such countries as Romania, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. It is usually considered a peasant food, and in countries like Moldova and Romania mamaliga has often been regarded as the local farmer's substitute for bread. In these countries mamaliga is also a very iconic dish, with a lot of symbolic connotations, since it has not only been part of the national cuisine but has also appeared in loc... Octavian Esanu, November, 2010 (continue)

Poet Goldsmith
At the symposium entitled “Poetry of the Americas”—an event held last spring at Princeton University—the organizers invited the poet Kenneth Goldsmith to read his poems. Well, this last phrase requires some explanation. Poet Goldsmith did indeed read a few poems, only that it was not very clear whether these poems were his and whether these were poems at all. Poet Goldsmith simply appropriated several texts from the media, some old historical reports about the assassination of the Kennedy bothers, the assassination of John Lennon, the assassination of Salvador Allende, and one repor... (continue)

Kompotas
If the proverb “you are what you eat” has any validity, then I can say that for a couple of hours I was a “really existing socialist.” I came to this conclusion when I attended a presentation by the Lithuanian artist Indre Klimaite, who visited Chisinau in August in order to realize her project entitled “Canteen.” The project was part of the Chisinau – Art, Research and Public Sphere series of events curated by Stefan Rusu and organized by KSA:K (Center for Contemporary Art, Chisinau). Indre flew from Holland to investigate the canteens of the former socialist countries (or as... (continue)

Mark's Dugout
Deleuze believed that the success of a creative individual depends entirely on how skilled he or she is in inventing something that he regards as essential for a particular art or science. Thus he was convinced that a good philosopher is the one who is capable of inventing a new concept; a good musician is the one who creates a new affect; and good artists are those who discover new percepts. I was reminded of this Deleuzian coefficient of creativity quite recently, when I, together with a group of people, were invited to visit our good friend Mark, or Marik, or even Marioka, but better Mar... (continue)