This journey begins as a reminiscence of travels in Eastern Europe since the 1990s and gradually turns into a search for the internal colonial subject: postsocialism, postcolonialism, nationalism, national identity, social memory, documentation of recent history, biographical method, reflexive sociology, anthropology of places and things, local histories, micro-narratives. Nostalgia for childhood memories during the Soviet era. Minsk, Lviv, Chernivtsi — Soviet and post-Soviet times. The Baltic States as the part of the USSR closest to the West. The feeling of the 90s that is created by bright neon lights, advertisements, parasols, and plastic chairs. Not many tourists yet, but soon there will be economic growth and even an explosion — everybody wants to make money. Traveling: the inevitability of the postcolonial gaze. Colonial longings, Tobago, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Curzon Line, Eastern Europe as a buffer zone between Russia and Europe, and Czesław Milosz on Eastern Europe’s longing for European belonging. The material outcome of the project is a series of nine paintings and discursive practices. The series is composed of relatively independent postsocialist/postcolonial motifs. The discursive practices interact with the juxtaposed images. This alters the perception of both text and image, creating new, combined meanings and exposing the split nature of the postcolonial subject, which critiques the colonial and yet subconsciously longs for the hierarchical stability it provides.
Photo: Kristīne Madjare
Haralds Matulis is a writer, publicist, and translator. He has studied philosophy as well as social and cultural anthropology at the University of Latvia. He has translated, written, and evaluated various fiction texts. He has translated Jonathan Culler’s book Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (2007), William S. Carter’s book Proust in Love (2011), Daniil Kharms’s Selected Prose (2014), and other works. In 2019, his collection of short stories, Middle Class Problems, received the Annual Latvian Literature Award for the best debut.