Co-presented with the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society in collaboration with the Oriental Institute, the Renaissance Society will host a 40-minute lecture-performance by Slavs and Tatars, I Utter Other. I Utter Other considers the study and conception of the “East” in 19th and 20th-century Russia and the USSR against bodies of scholarship on Orientalism—the critique of Western imaginations of the East. Founded in 2006, Slavs and Tatars is an art collective whose practice spans exhibitions, books, and lecture-performances.
As the artists describe this program’s focus: “What does it mean for one east to look to and at another one? Can the romanticized romanticize? From Poles in the service of the Tsar to Persian Presbyterians, I Utter Other looks at the curious case of Slavic Orientalism in the Russian Empire and early USSR. Slavic Orientalism offers a crucial counterpoint if not antecedent to the received wisdom of Saidian Orientalism. Despite the radical transition from Tsarism to Bolshevism, the study of the East in the East complicates notions of identity politics and knowledge in the service of power, offering a coherent post-colonial critique some 60 years avant la lettre.”
This event coincides with the opening of the collective’s exhibition, MERCZbau at the Neubauer Collegium, a short walk away from the Oriental Institute, where the lecture-performance is being held. All attendees are welcomed to join the opening reception, which continues after the lecture-performance until 8pm.
Slavs and Tatars’ presence on campus was made possible by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.