Transition to Nowhere

Today, after Post-Communism has ended in chaos and confusion, we are entitled to ask: was it a condition, or a transition; a rise or a decline; progression, regression or simply a time-lag? Has it ever shaped its own form of social being, a unique mode of economic production, a politics of its own, a culture? Or was it just another interregnum of history, full of morbid symptoms we cannot get rid of?

Most of the essays in this book search for answers to questions in works of art. Not because art possesses a superior knowledge on history, but because the knowledge on history we posses has failed in providing those answers. This is a new experience made possible by both art and history, which, in simultaneously facing their end, have come closer to one another than ever before. It is an experience we might possibly learn from.

Listen to Boris Buden in conversation with Archive Books’ editor Paolo Caffoni as they discuss art in history and language in history; language as a means of production as well as a commodity; the notions of native speaker and native informant. They also talk about childhood and history; Orientalism and temporalities; the role of the art and the intellectual, on the backdrop of the war in former Yugoslavia.

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It is time for closure.
An epoch repeats
itself ad nauseam:
democracy, democracy,
Each time the word
is uttered, yet another
piece of its truthfulness
becomes lost.

Boris Buden is a writer, cultural critic and translator. He studied philosophy in Zagreb and received his PhD in Cultural Theory from Humboldt University, Berlin. His essays and articles cover topics related to philosophy, politics, cultural and art criticism. Among his translations into Croatian are some of the most important works of Sigmund Freud. Buden has co-edited several books and is author of Übersetzung: Das Versprechen eines Begriffs (Translation: Promises of a Concept, 2008, with Stefan Nowotny), Zone des Übergangs: Vom Ende des Postkommunismus (Zone of Transition: On the End of Post-communism, 2009), Findet Europa, (Find Europe, 2015), among others. Buden is permanent fellow at the European Institute of Progressive Cultural Policies, Vienna. He lives and works in Berlin.