- The Shock of the Whole: Phenomenologies of Global Mapping in Solomon Nikritin’s The Old and the New
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
A painting made in 1935 by the Soviet artist Solomon Nikritin offers an intriguing vision of global cartography at work in the social world. The Old and the New depicts an illegible globe amid figures symbolising tradition and progress in a desolate landscape. This article presents a reading of the painting as a reflection on how global mappings shape lived experience, drawing on phenomenological philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s conception of globes as articulating the enlightened and disenchanted space of modernity. My discussion of the painting stresses the coexistence of unsettling and affirmative tendencies in global spatiality: Nikritin’s globe estranges modern subjects from locality and meaning, but also offers omniscient perspectives from which to remould a newly contingent world. The article closes by arguing the painting’s resonance with global imaginations that prevailed in Soviet and contemporary culture; Nikritin focuses a perpetual, constitutively modern need to map meaning and order onto a disenchanted earth in which neither inhere.
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