Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

An art work by Tiulpanov.



Blind Spots of the Counter-Canon: Soviet Underground Culture Revisited
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Important Note

Registration required for attendance. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community. To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events. Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues.

Please join the Harriman Institute for a conference entitled “Blind Spots of the Counter-Canon: Soviet Underground Culture Revisited,” organized by Mark Lipovetsky.


Conference Organization Committee:

  • Mark Lipovetsky (Columbia University)
  • Maria Engström (Uppsala University, Sweden)
  • Tomáš Glanc (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Ilja Kukuj (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany)
  • Klavdia Smola (University of Dresden, Germany)


Day One

Monday, February 13, 2023

Deutsches Haus

420 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027


2:00pm | Opening


2:15-3:00pm | Late Soviet Underground in the Nonconformist Culture of the 2010s-2020s

Chair: Mark Lipovetsky (New York)

  • Klavdia Smola (Dresden)


3:15-4:45pm | Opening the Treasure Chest: Ukrainian Cultural Underground Reassessed

  • Chair: Vitaly Chernetsky (Lawrence)
  • Tamara Hundorova (Kyiv/Princeton)
  • Olena Martynyuk (New York)
  • Mykola Ryabchuk (Kyiv/Amsterdam)


5:00-7:00pm | Film Screening & Discussion 

Chubai. Hovoryty Znovu (Chubai. Speaking Again)

(with English subtitles)

Discussion with director Mykhailo Krupiievskyi (Kyiv). Introduced by Mark Andryczyk (New York).




Day Two

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Deutsches Haus

420 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027


9:30-11:15am | Baltic Underground Art

Chair: Alla Rosenfeld (New York)

  • Māra Traumane (Riga), Regional perspectives on underground histories in the Baltic countries
  • Mark Svede (Columbus), Other Treasures of the Hermitage: The Lone Wolves of Soviet Latvian Art
  • Jane Sharp (New Brunswick), Tallinn–Moscow Dialogues and the Riddle of Painting


11:30am-12:15pm | The Belarusian Underground

Chair: Tomáš Glanc (Zurich)

  • Artur Klinau (Minsk) (via Zoom), Non-conformism in Belarusian art of the 1960s-1980s


1:00-2:15pm | Discussion of Alexei Konakov’s book Evgenii Kharitonov. Poetics of the Underground

  • Chair: Tatiana Klepikova (Regensburg)
  • Vitaly Chernetsky (Lawrence)
  • Uma Payne (New York)
  • Alexei Konakov (Moscow) (via Zoom)


2:30-4:15pm | Occult

Chair: Klavdia Smola (Dresden)

  • Evgeny Pavlov (New Zealand), Between Jimi Hendrix and the Tibetan Gong: Buddhism and Esoteric Practices of the Leningrad Underground
  • Daniil Leiderman (College Station), Shimmering Sacred: Dmitri Prigov’s visual alchemies
  • Maria Engstrom (Uppsala), Orientation – North: From the Iuzhinskii Circle to “Civilization of DiviZion”


4:30-5:45pm | Psychedelics

Chair: Ilya Kalinin (Princeton)

  • Tomáš Glanc (Zurich), Functions, Vectors and Consequences of Psychedelic Aesthetics in Russian Underground Literature and Art
  • Dennis Ioffe (Brussels), Post-Soviet hallucinatory underground on the way to post-history. From Fly Agaric to Augmented Reality


6:00-7:30pm | PEREGARY: Late-Soviet Underground and Its Current Aftersound

A Concert by Pavel Lion (a.k.a. Psoy Korolenko)

Maison Française

515 W 116th St, New York, NY 10027




Day Three

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

International Affairs Building, 15th Floor, Room 1512

420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027


9:30-10:45am | The Performative

Chair: Klavdia Smola (Dresden)

  • Ilja Kukuj (Munich), Liberating Things: Material (Life) World of Boris Ponizovsky and Sergei Paradzhanov
  • Mark Lipovetsky (New York), Tricksters of the Underground


11:00am-12:45pm | Gender/Queer

Chair: Maria Engstrom (Uppsala)

  • Ann Komaromi (Toronto), Women Artists of the Underground
  • Andrei Ustinov (San Francisco), From Inadvertent Underground to the Direct Dissent: The Plight of Lydia Aver’ianova
  • Ilya Kukulin (Amherst), Do we need to queer the canon of Russophone uncensored literature? A case of Gennadii Trifonov


1:30-2:45pm | Music from the Cracks in the System: Soviet Musical Underground

  • Chair: Ilja Kukuj (Munich)
  • Dennis Ioffe (Brussels)
  • Mark Yoffe (Washington, DC)
  • Alexander Kan (London)


3:00-4:15pm | Trajectories and Transformations

Chair: Tomáš Glanc (Zurich)

  • Yasha Klots (New York), The Terrifying Mimicry of Tamizdat, or Socialist Realism on the Other Shore?
  • Ainsley Morse (Hanover), Underground Empire Strikes Back: Expressions of Resistance to Post-Soviet Conditions


4:15-5:00pm | Reevaluation, Reconceptualization, and Perspectives

  • Chair: Mark Lipovetsky (New York)
  • Maria Engstrom (Uppsala)
  • Tomáš Glanc (Zurich)
  • Ilja Kukuj (Munich)
  • Klavdia Smola (Dresden)


CANCELLED: 5:15-7:30pm | “Prigov’s Distant Planets

Andrey Prigov (Denmark)/Ekaterina Eloshvili (Germany)

Presentation of the Project