Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Nerija Putinaitė (Vilnius University, Lithuania)

Aesthetics of Socialist Realism between Ideal and Utopia: Lithuanian SSR Song and Dance Festivals

The presentation argues that the Soviet political aesthetics developed a specific shape of socialist realism. The socialist realism politic aesthetics contained progressive as well as a-progressive and a-revolutionary images, and it paradoxically presented a realist ideal as well as a utopian (lost) reality, which had potential to disprove the Soviet reality. The massive amateur festivals (as a rule – sports festivals) in the Soviet Union were events of the enacted socialist realism for the masses. They created a specific socialist realism type aesthetics for masses and generated specific regime of feelings, which dressed the prose of the everyday Soviet life. Aesthetics of the soviet realism dealt with the images of idealized existence and used even nationalist elements to make the aesthetic images more acceptable for a particular community of a republic. The sports festivals or mass demonstrations of the workers had limited aesthetic appeal. In some of the Soviet republics (as the case of the Soviet Lithuania) the nationalist feelings of the pre-soviet bourgeois society were disciplined to serve the purpose of the aesthetics of socialist realism. In Lithuania the first massive Song festival was organized in 1946. Huge resources were mobilised for the organization. The Song and Dances festivals attracted crowds of people. They created a nationalist type of socialist realism aesthetics, which employed ideal a-progressive utopian images of a peaceful singing, dancing and working folk.