The title, Slogans, alludes to prescriptive regulations of the Soviet era, and the formation of the specific conscience of “the Soviet person.” I have a feeling that past conditions keep reproducing themselves with unerring stubbornness of a perpetuum mobile. I have presently focused on commands that our contemporaries could adopt when it comes to joys of life, because leisure and pleasure, too, are now regulated. We have to rejoice in agreement with others, and this, nevertheless, has nothing in common with the joy shared with the near and dear. I’m dealing instead with conventional pleasures, so to speak, that only become pleasurable once they get the external approval of the eye of the selfie camera.

Ernest Gellner had introduced the term “modular persons,” which perfectly encapsulates the principles of constructing one’s own life within the framework of roles suggested by society, and instructions from influential mentors. For contemporary persons, it no longer suffices to adopt the required position: they transform themselves so that the stages of their lives or the organs of their bodies could be replaced not by other fragments from life and bodies, but by objects. Values, therefore, are made literal, and become prosthetics rather than inner buttresses.

Thematically, Slogans are both an antithesis and a supplement to my series My Work Works Me, in that they deal with leisure. The tendency to limit one’s needs in life to a miserly list of ways to attain joy has long perplexed me. Whereas Gellner compared modes of existence with modular furniture that can be assembled in various ways, depending on the owner’s capabilities, I would like to emphasize the stable meagerness of these needs, regardless of each individual’s material status and possibilities connected to that. High-income persons often realize in their passions and leisure the simple beggar’s dreams of food, drink, a good car, a house of one’s own, and understandable ideals. In Slogans, the coveted attributes of this happy, carefree leisure and comfort, such as a house, a barbecue, a car, a fence or an ideological symbol, become a perverse embodiment of values that assault or quietly assimilate the divine body of the humankind. (Vlada Ralko. September 2019)