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Between Longings and Belongings
by Katherine Liberovskaya, translated by Timothy Barnard

I was born in Montreal
my parents are of Russian origin
themselves born in the former Yugoslavia
their parents having fled Russia
and its 1917 revolution
and so my parents were raised in the community of Russian exiles in
Belgrade
full of nostalgia for the mother country
with the Russian language, Russian traditions, Russian beliefs
and in anticipation
of the end of the Soviet regime...
but when communism caught up with them in Yugoslavia
they came here
and so
I was raised in Montreal
in a Russian home
with the Russian language, Russian traditions, Russian beliefs
and nostalgia for the Russian mother country
but also
in an English-speaking neighbourhood
with the English language and English traditions and English beliefs
and the Commonwealth and the Queen of England
and nostalgia for the English mother country
and yet
in a French school
in the French education system
founded by a community of French from France working in Montreal
with the French language, French traditions, French
beliefs,
and nostalgia for the French mother country
and what's more
in a Quebec that was asserting itself
with the Québécois language, Québécois traditions, Québécois
beliefs,
and nostalgia for a country of one's own

without speaking of having grown up a woman in a world of men
with their language, their traditions, and their beliefs

as for myself
out of all these worlds and nostalgias
I have always felt
both everywhere and nowhere
torn
between appearances
and loyalties
realities
and distances,
genetic
ideological
and geographic bonds
and no doubt it's not by chance
but in order to be rid of all these borders
and multiple personalities
that I found myself in the world of media
and cyber art
which held out the dream of a universal language
and a virtual country
a true electronic community
without hierarchies or boundaries
on a planetary scale

except that while media and cyberspace
simplified my existence
in terms of the possibility
of the once impossible
of achieving
all the dimensions
of importance to me all over the world
often at the same time
more and more
in this global binary universe
I come up against new borders
and new exclusions
these
involve computers, technology, economics
but they are also often linguistic

meanwhile through virtual relations
a new nostalgia
makes itself felt
that of physical contact . . .

Katherine Liberovskaya is a Montreal-born multidisciplinary artist who has been working predominantly in experimental video and multimedia since the late 1980s.

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