Czech (Post)Socialist DIY-Material Culture as Vernacular Art: Inscribed Narratives and Their Urban Materialisation
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The aim of this paper is to rethink the narratives surrounding Czech (post)socialist Do-It-Yourself material culture (DIY) and to explore how it has become a medium for symbolic expression in urban and rural spaces after the (post)socialist transformation. Employing theoretical frameworks of material culture (Miller, 1998; Sennett, 2008), this paper argues that Czech (post)socialist DIY material culture should be conceptualised as “vernacular art”, an art which harbours and triggers memories of the (socialist) past as well as reflects wider contemporary social relationships, the exchange of materials and ideas and the political-economic milieu. Artefacts as vernacular art represent social, cultural and political dis/continuities in urban and rural spaces brought about by the (post)socialist transformation, which can also act as symbolic manifestations in the sense of the Lefebvre’s social production of space and time (Lefebvre, 1991). Based on my research, vernacular art made by handy/wo/men is a multi-layered concept, which manifests time, space, creative and affective dimensions. Simultaneously, it is a micro-spatial practice driven by authority and autonomy that reshapes urban/rural spaces.
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