1. How important is it to appeal to the Communist roots of globalization today?
An appeal to Communist roots of globalization is practically impossible, since the grounds for such an appeal the Communist International do not in fact exist. Naturally, this does not change the following historical fact: Western European Social Democracy initiated the first global project. The Third (Communist) International was formed as this project was already in a state of decline; as we know, Stalin disbanded it in 1943 in favor of opening a second front. At the same time, contemporary globalization overcoming national boundaries and striving to unify all markets is a great danger. It is necessary to withstand this process, not through the obvious return to an ideology of national exclusion (or locality), but through some alternative view of globalization. Regrettably, the ideas of class solidarity in defense of the weak or solidarity as freedom do not enjoy any support from the masses. The right of force rules almost everywhere, be it in Russia openly or more secretively in the USA. Intellectuals (most of all in Russia) use their own force without feeling any “false” pangs of conscience; in this way, they legitimize the right of the stronger overall.
2. Which chances do you see for the ongoing democratization of art? Is it possible to break out of the framework of market hierarchy and exclusive global representation?
…The art world is exclusive. This question is too difficult and there is too little room here to launch upon any exploration, which would really have to address the question from a number of angles. I would just like to say that the exclusiveness of visual art is a very important factor. As paradoxical as it sounds, it is necessary to work with this factor, using it in the process of democratizing culture.
3. How important is it today to stop the conveyors of big events, opting instead for internationalist work on location?
Personally, I am quite skeptical of global events in the art world because they often fail, resulting in nothing more than overt representation. However, I like to think of my skepticism as a negative means to a positive end. After all, big events reveal new tendencies in art; sometimes, it is even possible to realize ideas that are very interesting there. However, global events need to be real (not representative) materializations of international cultural communication. Moreover, this field is always open for experimentation; the only thing that we really need is the political will of its organizers.
4. In how far is the experience of new local communities that draw their linguistic legitimacy from global pop-culture? In how far do they influence the development of contemporary art?
In my view, it is quite na?ve to attribute some kind of radicalism to punks and ravers. What’s so radical? That you smoke dope, have an extravagant haircut, that you own a brilliant bijouterie, or that you dance until the morning? One can probably speak of everyday radicalism when it comes to certain political groups. Some artists (like the Situationists) were successful in conducting special experiments in this field, but these were very limited experiences.
By the way, such experiences are closely related to exclusiveness. As far as pop-culture is concerned, I see that that the problematique of its influence on critical culture has exhausted itself long ago. The sale of the German music-journal SPEX, at the very latest, has put a close to any further inquiry. As we know, this publication tried to understand these or those segments of pop-culture as a part of critical culture. In my opinion, it is already clear today that the way they related to pop was an exaggeration. Pop culture is closely connected to the entertainment industry, which exerts a great deal of pressure onto art; most of the time, this pressure is extremely negative. With every year that passes, it becomes harder for us to resist.
5. Is international style the only relevant possibility for addressing the local problematique? Is there any room left for creative misunderstandings, lost in translation, experiences that are both subjective and local? Which experiences have you made in highlighting the uniqueness of a local cultural context as something of general relevance?
It is extremely schematic to talk about the unification of language and style in contemporary visual art. In the international artistic context, there are at least five or six tendencies. You cannot reduce to these a single style (and if you look more closely, you can discover many more). Of course, “creative misunderstandings” are always a very valuable quality, although international communication hardly values this category at all.
As far as “making connections” is concerned: I have always seen my own praxis in a number of initiatives on the left as something inherently international. It didn’t help this position much to see that the Russian social context was being left behind on history’s roadside during the end of the 20th century. Throughout my creative activities, I have personally encountered a great deal of pressure from the liberals that have taken over many of the key positions in Russia’s cultural context. Finally, their cultural policies have led to utter bankruptcy. In Russia, religious-orthodox reaction is the order of the day.
See the Russian version of the site for the author’s complete answer.