Totalitarian Nostalgia / The Flow / 2015

"...Does it evoke any feeling?  I want to spit!  These are the feelings evoked.  We evaluate our conditions as good.  But there is also a lot of trash.  A lot!  We have to clean!  We cannot just pass by, you know, like an observer, you know, as if a person is standing on the bank of the river and observing:  here, it is swimming, which is good and the shit swims.  And he is completely indifferent since this is the flow!"

Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev at the exhibition of the avant-garde artists at Manezh on 1 December 1962, Moscow. (phonogram)


Nostalgia is a central feature in how people form, maintain and reconstruct a sense of self and the place of the individual in the world. Nostalgia develops usually in the face of present fears, disquiet about the state of affairs and uncertainty about the future. Confronted with social anomie and disjuncture nostalgia provides a sense of continuity. Totalitarian nostalgia is primarily an aesthetic nostalgia. The mechanism of public nostalgia, especially when it is manipulated by the media, often makes the past more palatable and handy for shoring up present exigencies.