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#1 What is to be done?

Dmitry Vilensky // The Negation of Negation

The revolution is over, but in the end of revolution what wins is a completely reactionary mode of living. And the nostalgia of the poet is really the attempt to reconstruct in this passage, this reactionary desert in which humans have been thrown, to reconstruct those other values, pushing them forward.

Tony Negri

The development of history occurs through the negation of historical experience which – in turn – negates the one that precedes it.
My work deals with such basic notions as a “Worker” and a “Dissident”. In the contemporary context, both terms seem to lack any actual meaning. Yet, as history teaches us, certain phenomena from the past tend to return and represent another semantic level in the present.

 

The revolution is over, but in the end of revolution what wins is a completely reactionary mode of living. And the nostalgia of the poet is really the attempt to reconstruct in this passage, this reactionary desert in which humans have been thrown, to reconstruct those other values, pushing them forward.

Antonio Negri

 

The development of history occurs through the negation of historical experience which – in turn – negates the one that precedes it.
My work deals with such basic notions as a “Worker” and a “Dissident”. In the contemporary context, both terms seem to lack any actual meaning. Yet, as history teaches us, certain phenomena from the past tend to return and represent another semantic level in the present.

What does it mean today to be a worker or to be a dissident?
Which connection could be established between these two notions?
Is it possible that this historical paradigm reverts?
What is an artist’s role in the comprehension of history and the delineation of historical development?

In the film “Production Line”, it is important for me to express the most basic labour activity on the production line and make the viewers see workers in the exhibition space again – following a long break. Addressing the proletariat is also important on a symbolic level. The very definition of physical labour is forced out to the periphery in the society of financial speculations and services. Yet physical labour still exists – it never vanished in post-capitalist society.  At the same time it was necessary to place workers’ images in a new context and thus give them a new interpretation. The graphic part of the exhibition represents three main socially active groups known through the history. A worker symbolizes labour activity, a dissident represents intellectual confrontation, and an artist performs creative comprehension.  As a result, all the three categories are connected with each other in a new different way:

a worker as a dissident, a dissident as an artist, an artist as a worker…

According to the Marxist interpretation’s historical perspective, the proletariat is the main opposing force to capitalism. It is labour that is in classical opposition to capital. As such, the worker is endowed with characteristics of a system opponent a priori. In this quality, the worker is the main driving force behind history. Thus, the worker appears as a subject of history that prejudices stability of the capital world by its very existence. Such subversive functions are also important for the notion of a dissident, that is a person who is capable of thinking differently, thus subverting the existing order of things.

Today, the artist is granted an opportunity to re-connect these categories in dialectical unity by freeing them from the captivity of non-realized expectations of the past and turning them into the future. The artist is capable of introducing necessary reminders about a historical mission that is yet to happen.

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