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Syg.ma: resuming work and presenting 2022 program

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Lembersky A.B. “Peace!”

Lembersky A.B. “Peace!”

Russian version of this text/Версия текста на русском языке

Syg.ma is resuming its work. The war in Ukraine continues. With all free media blocked in Russia, we believe it is high time to start analyzing what has happened and look for the appropriate language with which to comprehend this new reality. To reach these goals, syg.ma team would like to provide our authors with the necessary platform. We stand against the war and Russian imperialism. However, we continue to be an open platform where anyone eager to publish their texts can do so. This approach requires new rules of pre-moderation.

Since most of our authors are based in Russia, for their safety, we recommend and provide them with an opportunity to upload their materials anonymously (names can be changed in their personal account settings). Syg.ma’s editorial team can add any text to the main page, with the exception of those that articulate pro-war positions. We are putting syg.ma vk page’s on hold and we are not planning to publish overtly entertaining and/or abstract material on our other social networks until peace is established.

In addition to emergency changes to the text moderation rules, this month we have formulated the tasks that syg.ma is going to work on in 2022, all of which will gradually affect the entire structure of our site. They are as follows:

— We are reviewing our platform’s language policy and changing the Russian language’s dominant position on the site. The syg.ma interface will now be in English. We also want our main page to eventually turn into a polyphony of Eastern European and Central Asian languages. The first language we are going to add is Ukrainian.

— The war in Ukraine has confirmed the importance of syg.ma’s previous initiatives aimed at studying the colonial history of Russia and the USSR. Thus, we have decided to continue holding online discussions that critically reflect on the history of 20th and 21st centuries and apply post-colonial optics to the regions of Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

— With numerous people’s lives and freedoms exposed to direct danger, we have realized the importance of informing our community about new opportunities that are being offered to artists and researchers from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. We are going to create a special section on syg.ma where we will feature announcements of events, open calls, job offers, and grants, and also try to develop our mailing list. We hope that in future it may help to reconfigure and resume broken connections between countries through new foundations.

— The current crisis made us clearly understand the necessity to further “fine-tune” the self-organization of syg.ma. In 2022, we have decided to expand the team of our editors from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, and we expect them to help us reflect and update the syg.ma archive and draw up a long-term plan for its development.

— With the Internet currently blocked in Russia, we have realized the importance of syg.ma as an open archive. More than 22,000 materials have already been published on our platform. We have initiated a new project focused on the archiving of culture-related Internet resources and publishing initiatives that are now at risk of disappearing. If you would like to archive and save the fruits of your labor, please contact us (Telegram — @fur_qat or email — furqat@syg.ma).

— We have realized the importance of physical co-presence, legal status, and financial infrastructure. We refuse any legal status in the Russian Federation. In the near future, we are planning to organize a small syg.ma residence that will allow us to create a safe environment for our employees. Most likely, this (temporary) home will be based in Central Asia.

— We have never been and will never be a resource for news. Our task remains the same — to bring together a community of authors who are exploring their realities. We would like to promote dialogue and holistic comprehension of the catastrophe that is unfolding today in the post-Soviet space and to become a link between the democratic movements that are spread all over the world. For us, these are anti-fascist and anti-military activities.

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