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Picturing Postsocialism: A visual anthropology study on the affective dimensions of “renovation” of panel homes in Moscow and Berlin

Picturing Postsocialism

Picturing Postsocialism
Image Credit: (c) Gregory Gan

Dr. Gregory Gan is a Russian-Canadian visual anthropologist, filmmaker, and multimedia artist with a research focus on post-Soviet memory, placemaking, and material culture amongst Russian transnational migrants. Gregory’s doctoral research (University of British Columbia, 2019) focused on Soviet and post-Soviet narratives about migration from Moscow, to Paris, Berlin, and New York. His training as a filmmaker resulted in two acclaimed ethnographic films, Turning Back the Waves (2010), and The Theory of Happiness (2014), nominated for Best Canadian Documentary at the Hot Docs International Film Festival.  

Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2021-2023), Gregory joins the CRC as a postdoctoral fellow currently developing a comparative, art-based research project on the demolition and reconstruction of Soviet-era panel homes in Moscow, Russia, and Berlin, Germany, respectively. The research is tentatively titled “Picturing Postsocialism: A visual anthropology study on the affective dimensions of “renovation” of panel homes in Moscow and Berlin."

Gregory plans to research affective homemaking strategies amongst inhabitants of panel homes in Moscow and Berlin by hosting online conversations with participants displaced both in their own homes by pandemic conditions, and between their homes by renovation plans. In tandem with these conversations, Gregory will paint a series of watercolours interrogating the potential of virtual, art-based methods in conducting multimodal fieldwork. Gregory has recently moved to Berlin, and may be found riding his bike and sketching around various Plattenbau neighbourhoods.