Mihhail Lotman is a member of the Semiotics Research Group at the University of Tartu and Professor of Semiotics and Literary Theory at the Tallinn University. In Tartu, Lotman also teaches in the international master’s programme in semiotics.
Art fulfills several functions in society and, according to the Tartu—Moscow Semiotic School, one of its main functions is prognostic. While the esthetics stemming from Aristotle sees art’s true nature in mimesis, or imitation of life, Juri Lotman emphasised art’s modelling function. Notably, the models that come to life after the creation of a piece of art are particularly important. Mathematician Vladimir Uspenski referred to this as Lotman’s paradox: not only does art imitate life, but life also imitates art.
Recently, an artist known by his pen name, Vasya Lozhkin, has become immensely popular in Russian social media. It seems as though his pictures and songs are acutely political; however, the artist created them much earlier and claims that he only pictures his own subconsciousness.
The picture below has become particularly popular in connection to Crimea’s “referendum”. Putin’s propaganda emphasises with untiring energy that Crimea is a native Russian territory, and what has taken place is not separatism or a break-up, but instead a homecoming. So: “Welcome Back Home!”
The Estonian version of this post originally appeared on Mihhail Lotman’s blog.