The label below will be present in the exhibition alongside this piece. It is provided here so that fans submitting fanworks know in advance how fandom will be discussed in this project. However, fandworks do not need to take into account the below information and should be inspired by or responding to the piece of art alone: 

Mila Teshaieva 
Ukrainian, b. 1974 
Untitled (Aqtau), 2011 
Archival pigment print 
19 5/16 x 27 9/16 in 
Museum purchase 

Mila Teshaieva was born in Ukraine and currently lives in Berlin, Germany. In her “Promising Waters” series, Teshaieva documents the transformation of the three former Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The battle for control of the region's vast oil and gas reserves and the search for a national identity have led to far-reaching changes for the population, the environment, and general social values. Teshaieva highlights the struggle between aspiration and structural lack, between new world desires and old-world infrastructure. Her work focuses on constructed identities and the play between public and private histories. 


Cultural scholars Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman define play as “free movement within a more rigid structure.” Fans play with and against their fandoms, using the structure it provides to play with their own ideas, actions, and interpretations. In return, through their expectations, fans create a structure within which fandoms can also play. Fandoms “play” when they delight fans by giving them something new and unexpected. If, however, through this play, the owners and creators of these fandoms step too far outside of the boundaries of what fans see is acceptable, they may find themselves without any fans at all.   


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