Dissensus and shimmering: Tergiversation as politics Chapter uri icon


  • This chapter examines several phenomena in contemporary Russian art that seem to intentionally undermine or betray the very discourses that they claim to voice. It argues that these betrayals are a strategic effort towards a redistribution of the sensible, motivated by a deep scepticism about the prospects of overturning oppressive social institutions without replacing them with something equally odious. The chapter traces this effort to the counter-ideological strategy known as 'shimmering' (mertsatelnost or mertsanie) in the discourse of the Moscow Conceptualists, among whom the poet and artist Dmitrii Prigov, who coined the term 'shimmering' in the late 1970s, was a key figure. Politics manifests 'dissensus', the break within the whole, challenging the unity of the social totality that the 'police' seek to embody. The opposition between Russian Nonconformist art of the 1960s and Socialist Realism aptly represents Ranciere's terms in action. The chapter examines the afterlife of Moscow Conceptualism through several indirect examples from post-Soviet and contemporary Russian art.

author list (cited authors)

  • Leiderman, D.

complete list of authors

  • Leiderman, Daniil

editor list (cited editors)

  • Jonson, L., & Erofeev, A.

Book Title

  • Russia - Art Resistance and the Conservative-Authoritarian Zeitgeist

publication date

  • January 2017