Sometimes it seems that the field of Belarusian culture has turned out to be a platform for special social experiments. Two years of political crisis, ideological stagnation, the destruction of the former social order, the decline of humanitarian education and the permanent emergency evacuation of the most active from the creative class have created a specific zone of present absence – a chaotic cultural movement without a comprehensive scenario and clear priorities.
The rhetorical question became extremely relevant: how many pieces should Belarusian culture be cut into so that it looks almost alive and retains the ability for conditional activity? At the time of pre-election euphoria and hopes for a quick victory (and a little later – for a quick return), it seemed too depressing and not too significant. But the lack of qualitative changes on the political front, the loss of public international interest in the Belarusian story, the general disorientation of cultural life and the understanding that it is necessary to settle into the available routine thoroughly and for a long time, gave rise to the desire to build a new cultural infrastructure – a new system of Belarusian culture.
Recently, one can observe precisely the processes of a certain accumulation of creative and consumer circles around various institutional platforms – from the projects of "Belarusian Magistrates" to the Belarusian Independent Film Academy. The process of (self)structuring the cultural sphere has many dimensions and ambiguous perspectives. Because, on the one hand, it stimulates the active participation of Belarusians in cultural projects in the format of an improved version of the talaka or community projects ("Knihaŭka" magistrate). On the other hand, it is constructing a new managerial vertical of those willing to "head the process" in order to lead the culture not covered by administrative control in the desired direction. In fact, the well-known Belarusian division of cultural activists and initiatives into self-made and systemic ones is being restored.
It should be noted that the new self-made ones create a network of horizontal contacts, they are self-sufficient and do not seek to control the cultural sphere. As for the new systemic ones, here the questions of influence and control are fundamental. These new ones are not too new, because they use previously accumulated resources: contacts with the international cultural industry, corporate connections and the Belarusian experience of (authoritarian) management.
There is a change of generations of the Belarusian cultural bureaucracy. Domestic new Europeans in emigration rightly see a window of opportunity for themselves in the situation of self-isolation and creative degradation of the official Belarusian culture. And they fill it within their budget understanding.
As for self-made activists, they are united with systemic ones by a common understanding of new opportunities and mutual indifference.
This is a game of the departed. Those who remain in the country will have to join someone from this trend. Otherwise they may continue to exist in a society of decayed matrixes.
The problematic division also occurs functionally. After all, there are no finances or stable internal connections here. Taking into account the presence of direct international contacts and contracts among most important creators, the need for their own emigre structures is not obvious. So far, only declarations and special effects are visible.
Institutions do not produce texts. Creators have no experience in managing structures. The new structuring looks like a precocious artificial superstructure over the creative process, capable of using fresh creativity for the promotion of the newly chosen administrative resource.
But the loud promotional actions of new institutions leave the main trend of the season almost unnoticed: a qualitative breakthrough in the author's work of the post-traumatic format. Our common illness has finally been put into a package of weighty propositions, given a public voice and style. Mikita Łaŭrecki's depressingly restrained film "A Date in Minsk", a tender black cabaret of the project "Prijom!" ("Over!") by Sviatłana Bień and Hala Čykis, the tragic lyrics of Siarhiej Pryłucki, the rough underground rock of the Minsk band Syndrom Samazvanca, even the abstract acoustic sketches of itinerant electronic artists mark new dimensions of painful Belarusianness - traces of a prolonged drift along the edge of the abyss.
Belcult returns to the ashes. To where, it seems, no one is waiting for it. Simply because it is not possible otherwise. We are the country. The country is where we are.