The project “Rhizomes” consists of five parts:
Olga Shparaga, Philosopher, Candidate of philosophical sciences, about the project “Rhizomes”:
The concept of identity has a special role in the post-Soviet space, and Belarus is no exception. This is due to the fact that different national identities had to replace the single Soviet one. However, there was no public debate about what each national identity must represent. The need for such discussion is connected with the diversity of cultures and lifestyles in the post-Soviet space, where historically, especially in Belarus, nobody spoke one common language and there were multiple religions. As a result, the debate on identity turned toward the homogenization of historical diversity and the identification of dominant cultural traits. On the one hand, such dominance aims to develop these traits (the Belarusian language, for example), on the other, there is a danger of discrimination of other cultures. We also feel these trends in our country: on the part of state, which gives preference to Soviet identity, and from a wide range of communities. Some of them insist on religiosity as a defining feature, others – on traditional Belarusian culture, still others would like to go beyond the discussion on identity to talk about social practices and institutions, the self perception of Belarusians and ideas about Belarus in general, which they are shaping themselves. We need opportunities and places to meet different communities to at least temporarily agree on what unites and what separates us, and it would be great if this project becomes such place.
In my view, Belarusian word «supolnast’» (alliance) reflects the communities, in which there is no repression of differences between people, as it can and should be. What unites people in the community is recognition and respect for the individual. This is the reliance of horizontal and trust relations. If the number of such communities grows, then there are more chances for mutually respectful relations in whole society. For that to happen, the communities should be open to each other, create some kind of a network. The root system, which Maryna Batsiukova used in her project, can be a metaphor for such network. Let’s consider the other system of the World tree – the rhizomatic system, which is ramified and multiple, and it doesn’t have one single beginning, – the structure of bulbs and tubers. Our Belarusian culture was similarly described by Valentin Akudovich, considering it as nonlinear. For example, Euphrosyne of Polotsk and Symon Budny, Pyotr Masherov and Svetlana Alexievich and others – all of these personalities aren’t united in one, national Belarus. This structure is also similar to the swamp, if we don’t consider it as a black hole and distinguish the absence of center and the dynamic coexistence of land and water as defining features.