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Book Review: Learned Helplessness: Utopia Shopping Center

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Learned Helplessness (Utopia Shopping Center. Episode IV) Dmitry Kavko. 2017 Introduction In 1975 an American psychologist Martin Seligman conducted a series of experiments with dogs and found that under certain conditions, dogs lost the power to resist, they ceased trying to change their unenviable situation, threw up their paws and fell into deep depression. He named the condition “learned helplessness”. Epigraph 1 I see how imperturbable my dog is in coping with hardships of life. It gives me the strength to live on and approach difficulties with optimism. Note Utopia Shopping Centre is an imaginary bedroom suburb of Moscow, scaled down to just one long self-contained house integrated with a shopping centre. In the house people…show more content…
Helpless art, or the art of the helpless is a new trend in modern culture. It reached the height of its development in the late 2010s, mainly in the bedroom suburbs around Moscow. Helpless art: 1. Calls itself art only out of helplessness. 2. Creates art from what can be purchased in the nearest shopping centre, or be found in the nearest landfill. 3. Is not critical towards the art world (institutions, markets, history of art, dead, alive and yet unborn artists). 4. Refuses to adhere to any school, movement, or style. 5. Is not interested either in form or content. 6. Does not create concepts, is incapable of being preoccupied with a theory of itself. 7. Does not distinguish painting from performance, sculpture from text, social protest from a psychotherapy session. 8. Its production can stop at any moment or can continue in perpetuity. 9. Does not seek completeness either in terms of the form or meaning. 10. Finds meaning only in the artist’s internal urge to produce art and desire to do this endlessly. 11. Sees its purpose in the uncertain assertion, adulation and dissemination of itself. 12. Cannot be understood by the…show more content…
Its walls were once painted in white and blue. Yellow light is coming from some of its windows. In the center of the courtyard, somebody has placed a children’s playground with a faded orange plastic slide, a red brick transformer booth, and several dirty-green garbage containers. Between the house walls and the yard, cars are densely parked. In front of each entrance, there is a shabby blue wooden bench and a purple-bluish concrete litter bins. Each entrance has a blind rusty metal door. Everything in the yard and the house itself is covered by a thin layer of dust and dirt. At the shopping center nearby you can buy potatoes, beer, vodka, a blouse, a bra, a glue, slippers, a towel, a garden figurine, a wiping cloth, a flat-head screwdriver, a cross-head screwdriver, cigarettes, boots, an umbrella, a bathroom curtain, a puzzle, buckwheat, and so on. It’s a late night or an early morning now. A dog is barking. It's
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