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Performance Where has Communism Gone?

Where Has Communism Gone? (Former West, 2013)

POSTER COM GONEOPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

Where Has Communism Gone?: A Learning Play initiated by Chto Delat?/What is to be Done? In the framework of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 

The process takes place between 16-21 March 2013

You are invited to participate in a four-day seminar led by the artist collective Chto Delat? and develop and perform the collective learning play Where Has Communism Gone? as part of
the main program of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin from 18–24 March 2013.

Using playwright and director Bertolt Brecht’s model of the learning play, Chto Delat? invite 25 participants to collectively develop an educational didactic performance. Centered on the question “where has communism gone?” participants are asked to work on and articulate their own positions throughout the process of acquiring and advocating for their attitudes towards this theme. The seminar consists of four subsequent sessions of collective discussions-rehearsals, which culminate in the www of a Brechtian learning play on Thursday 21 March from 21.24 hrs.

Dates 

Seminar: Saturday 16 March & Sunday 17 March, 12–19hrs
Tuesday 19 March & Wednesday 20 March, 19–23hrs
Rehearsal: Thursday 21 March, 2013, starting 10hrs
Learning Play: Thursday 21 March, 2013, 21.24 hrs

Involvement is limited to 25 participants. Participants must commit to full attendance for all five days’ activities inclusive of seminar, rehearsal, and the www of the learning play. Each participant receives an honorarium of EUR 150 and a week-long pass for FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects.

In order to participate, please send a motivational statement to Dmitry Vilenski dmvilen@gmail.com and Annika Kuhlmann annika.kuhlmann@hkw.de. Annika can respond to all organizational questions, and can also be reached by phone at +49 30 39787 224.

 Application deadline is Sunday 10 March, 2013

Where Has Communism Gone?

Where has Communism gone? This question refers, firstly, to Russian revolutionary writer Andrei Platonov. The hero of this novel Chevengur suddenly awakes in the middle of the night after a dream asking where socialism is, searching for it as if it were an object, a thing which supposedly belongs to him. Following the line of thought in this passage, Socialism or communism is communicated as an object of desire, and this kind of desire, as Marxist political theorist Fredric Jameson says, hasn’t yet found its Sigmund Freud or Jacques Lacan. By posing the question about communism, we aim to explore the nature of this political desire, which, in spite of the demise of what they call “real socialism” or “communist regimes,” is still persistent, at least in the field of contemporary theory and art.

We are used to the reality principle of one-dimensional liberal propaganda, according to which, nothing can be better than the present state of things, which in fact means the neoliberal economy accompanied by the rhetoric of human rights and legal democracy. They say that communism was a utopian project, which ended in disaster, with violence and totalitarianism, and that the only thing we have left to do is to forget all hope for a better future for society and rather focus on our individual lives, to enjoy this eternal present, to use our possibilities and skills in order to succeed in working our way up a pyramid built of money, trampling the heads of others as we climb.

However, today, after decades of excessive ideological overproduction of the monstrosity of communism, a general anti-communist phobia has ended in a new disappointment. The liberal utopia, based on the notion of free individuals freely operating in a free market, was demolished by the intervention of the reality of a global economic, political, and ecological crisis. From this perspective, all the debates about communism became valuable and actual again, not only with communism as a valuable experience from the past, but also as an alternative for the future.

The only problem is nobody really takes it seriously.

Neoliberal institutions easily give their money to any kind of creative and sophisticated critic of the present, taking for granted that all these debates are based on market exchange, and that all the ideas discussed have their own nominal values. The ghost of communism still wanders around, and to transform it into a commodity form seems a good way to finally get rid of it. Conferences and artistic events dedicated to the idea of communism are going on one after another, speakers are paid or non-paid, advertisement production machines function well, and the sphere turns round as before.

But beyond this exhausting machinery of actualization and commodification, we still have as a potentiality this totally new desire of communism, the desire which cannot but be shared, since it keeps in itself a “common” of communism, a claim for togetherness, so ambiguous and problematic among the human species. This claim cannot be privatized, calculated, and capitalized since it exists not inside individuals, but between them, between us, and can be experienced in our attempts to construct this space between, to expose ourselves inside this “common” and to teach ourselves to produce it out of what we have as social beings.

We invite you to think, discuss, and live through these issues together at our seminar and try to find a form of representation for our debate.

During this seminar the platform is represented by Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Nina Gasteva, Artemy Magun, Alexey Penzin, Natalya Pershina, David Riff, Oxana Timofeeva, Alexander Skidan, and Dmitry Vilensky.

About FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects consists of artworks, talks, discussions, rehearsals, and performances in various constellations of documents and prospects that offer a multitude of encounters with the public for negotiating the way of the world from 1989 to today, and thinking beyond. The seven-day period is guided by five currents that feature contemporary negotiations on Art Production, Infrastructure, and Insurgent Cosmopolitanism, with Dissident Knowledges contributions offering dynamic interventions into the ongoing program with artworks, performances, and statements. Finally, Learning Place operates alongside the full program involving students in workshops and inviting them to engage in the week of discussions.

Conceptualized by Maria Hlavajova and Kathrin Rhomberg in collaboration with Boris Buden, Boris Groys, Ranjit Hoskote, Katrin Klingan, and Irit Rogoff. FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects is a joint project by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.

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