The Lesson on Dis-Consent /2011/

The Lesson on Dis-Consent (2011)

Concert: The Lesson on Dis-Consent (Das Lehrstück vom Un-Einverständnis) / Концерт: Урок несоглаcия from chto delat on Vimeo.

“The Lesson on Dis-Consent“ was recorded in Baden-Baden on October 28, 2011, during the opening of the exhibition Chto Delat? at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.

Mikhail Krutik

Drehbuch/Script & concept:
Tsaplya (Olga Egorova) & Dmitry Vilensky


Gluklya (Natalya Pershina) & Nikolay Oleynikov

The Lesson on Dis-Consent

This performance was recorded at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden on October 28, 2011.

This piece continues the series of musicals (songspiels)* written and produced by Chto Delat and composed by Mikhail Krutik over the past three years.

The occasion for this latest work was the Chto Delat solo show at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. We could not pass up this opportunity to engage in dialogue with the legacy of Bertolt Brecht, who premiered two works, Mahagonny-Songspiel (1927) and The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent (1929), at the new German chamber music festival in this same city. We wanted to produce a new piece in direct dialogue and debate with the work of this great master.

The piece is based on a critical reading of a number of texts produced by the anti-psychiatry movement, which emerged in the late sixties and early seventies in the Europe and US, especially those of the well-known Socialist Patients’ Collective in Heidelberg. In our performance, a “chorus of patients” that has been invited to appear at the exhibition opening becomes engaged in dialogue with the audience.

It is also noteworthy that Baden-Baden is a city with deep historical ties to Russia, and even today it is frequented by members of the Russian elite, who go there to relax and seek medical treatment. We thought it important to critically reflect this state of affairs: thus, one of the characters in our performance is a “typical” Russian businessman, who argues with the chorus and voices the values of this new class.

Our work critiques the modern concept of a healthy lifestyle and discusses how we might radicalize this concept and “turn illness into a weapon.”

* You can view our songspiels at the Chto Delat web site:〈=en

Концерт в Баден-Баденском Кунстхалле состоялся 28-ого Октября 2011 года
Эта работа продолжает развитие мюзиклов (Зонгшпилей*), над которыми Что делать и композитор Михаил Крутик работают последние три года.
Поводом для последней работы стала персональная выставка Что Делать? в Кунстхалле Баден-Бадена, и мы не могли не воспользоваться этим случаем, чтобы не вступить в диалог с наследием Бертольта Брехта, который в рамках немецкого фестиваля музыки, именно в этом городе, реализовал ряд премьер «Махогони», «Говорящий Да» и «Баден-Баденские уроки согласия» (1929). Нам хотелось реализовать новую работу в прямом диалоге и полемике с творчеством этого великого мастера.
В основу работы положено наше критическое прочтение ряда текстов движения антипсихиатрии, получившей свое развитие в Европе в конце 60ых начале 70ых годов и, прежде всего, известного Гайдельбергского «Коллектива Социалистических Пациентов». В концерте перформансе принимают участие «хор пациентов», который приглашен выступить на открытие выставки и оказывается вовлеченным в диалог с публикой, пришедшей на открытие.
Также, важно отметить что Баден- Баден – это город, традиционно имеющий глубокие исторические связи с Россией, и сегодня остается местом отдыха и лечения российских элит. Нам было важно также критически отразить эту ситуацию и один из героев концерта, полемизирующий с хором является «типическим» образом русского бизнесмена, выражающего ценности этого нового класса.
В целом можно сказать, что наше произведение посвящено критике современной концепции здорового образа жизни и о том, как можно радикализировать и «сделать свою болезнь оружием».
* смотрите Зонгшпили на сайте Что Делать?⟨=en

The Tower. A Songspiel /2010/

The Tower. A Songspiel ( from Songspiel Triptych)

Башня. Зонгшпиль /// The Tower: A Songspiel from chto delat on Vimeo.

Фильм реализован коллективом «что делать»

Фильм основан на анализе развития ситуации вокруг строительства Охта Центр в Петербурге и реальных документах социальной и политической жизни в России. Апрель 2010 года

(читайте группу в контакте –

This film is based on an analysis of the conflict that has developed around the planned Okhta Center with a Gazprom skyscraper in Petersburg and on real documents from Russian social and political life. April 2010

Идея фильма: Виленский Дмитрий и Цапля (Ольга Егорова)

Film Concept: Vilensky Dmitry & Tsaplya (Olga Egorova)

Режисер: Цапля (Ольга Егорова)
Director: Tsaplya (Olga Egorova)

Сценарий: что делать

Screenplay: сhto delat

Музыка: Михаил Крутик
Composer: Mikhail Krutik

Хореография: Нина Гастева, Михаил Иванов
и Цапля
Choreography: Nina Gasteva, Mikhail Ivanov and Tsaplya

Декорации: Дмитрий Виленский и Глюкля (Наталья Першина)

Set: Dmitry Vilensky, and Gluklya Natalya Pershina)

Камера и свет: Артем Игнатов

Director of Photography: Artyom Ignatov

Монтаж: Виленский и Цапля

Editing: Vilensky and Tsaplya

Director: Tsaplya (Olga Egorova) Screenplay: Chto Delat Composer: Mikhail Krutik; Choreography: Nina Gasteva, Mikhail Ivanov and Tsaplya Set: Dmitry Vilensky and Gluklya (Natalya Pershina) Director of Photography: Artyom Ignatov

This film is the final part in a triptych of socially engaged musicals that the Chto Delat collective began work on in 2008. This cycle includes the video films Perestroika Songspiel: Victory over the Coup (2008) and Partisan Songspiel: A Belgrade Story (2009).
Filmed in April 2009, The Tower: A Songspiel is based on real documents of Russian social and political life and on an analysis of the conflict that has developed around the planned Okhta Center development in Petersburg, where the Gazprom corporation intends to house the headquarters of its locally-based subsidiaries in a 403-meter-high skyscraper designed by the UK-based architectural firm RMJM. The proposed skyscraper has provoked one of the fiercest confrontations between the authorities and society in recent Russian political history. Despite resistance on the part of various groups who believe that construction of the building would have a catastrophic impact on the appearance of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gazprom has so far managed to secure all the necessary permissions and has practically begun the first phase of construction.
The Gazprom tower is promoted by the authorities as a symbol of a new, modernized Russia. How are such symbols produced? How does the ideological machine of power function? How are projects like this pushed through despite the resistance of ordinary citizens? These are the principal questions raised by this film.

This video film was made possible with the kind support of:

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (Spain); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Germany, and Sociedad Estatal para la Acciуn Cultural Exterior, Spain, as part of the project “The Potosí Principle”; and BAK (basis voor actuele kunst), Utrecht, as part of the project “Vectors of the Possible.”

With additional support from the research project “Creating Worlds,” financed by Vienna Science and Technology Fund (

and ar/ge kunst Galleria Museo, Bolzano, Italy

Here are some interesting press links:

And the film the “Tale of Gazprom Tower” (2010)

Partisan Songspiel /2009/

Partisan Songspiel. A Belgrade Story /from Songspiel Triptych/

Partisan Songspiel. Belgrade Story from chto delat on Vimeo.

A video film by Chto Delat
music by Mikhail Krutik

Script: Vladan Jeremić, Rena Rädle, Dmitry Vilensky & Tsaplya
Director: Olga Egorova (Tsaplya)
Set: Vladan Jeremić, Tsaplya, Rena Rädle, Dmitry Vilensky
Costumes: Natalya Pershina (Gluklya)
Choreography: Nina Gasteva
Camera and lighting: Artem Ignatov
Editing and Post-Production: Olga Egorova (Tsaplya) and Dmitry Vilensky

Production was done in Belgrade in July 2009 by Biro Beograd za Kulturu i Komunikaciju.

The film presents an analysis of a concrete situation: Partisan Songspiel begins with a representation of the political oppression (forced evictions) the government of the city of Belgrade visited on the Roma people inhabiting the settlement of Belleville, on the occasion of the summer Universiade Belgrade 2009. It also addresses a more universal political message about the existence of the oppressors and the oppressed: in this case, the city government, war profiteers and business tycoons versus groups of disadvantaged people − factory workers, NGO/minoritarian activists, disabled war veterans, and ethnic minorities. At the same time the film establishes something that we can call the “horizon of historical consciousness,” which is represented through the choir of “dead partisans” who comment on the political dialogue between the oppressors and the oppressed.

Perestroika Songspiel /2008/

Perestroika Songspiel. A Victory over the coup / from Songspiel Triptych/

 Perestroika Songspiel

Perestroika Songspiel. /// Перестройка Зонгшпиль from chto delat on Vimeo.

Chronicles of Perestroika

Chronicles of Perestroika / Хроники Перестройки from chto delat on Vimeo.

a film by Dmitry Vilensky
Music: Mikhail Krutik

The film is based on the documentation of different manifestation at the time of Perestroyka from 1987 till 1991 in Petersburg
Materials are generously provided by the Saint Petersburg Studio of Documentary Films
Special thanks to all camera men who preserved these unique moments of history and to Sergey Gelver, who has saved and is taking care of these precious materials.


Фильм Дмитрия Виленского
Музыка Михаила Крутика

Фильм создан на основе съемок демонстраций в Петербурге в период перестройки с периода 1987 по 1991 год. Материалы предоставлены архивом Петербургской студии Документальных фильмов.

Angry Sandwich People /2006/

Angry Sandwich People or in Praise of Dialectics

Angry Sandwich people or in a Praise of Dialectic / Хвала диалектике [2006] from chto delat on Vimeo.

a video project by Chto Delat

realised by Tsaplya [Olga Egorova], Nikolay Oleinikov, Dmitry Vilensky

Text: Bertolt Brecht

In this new piece, we decided to try to imagine protest in form of theatrical happening in urban space. This action was carried out in close collaboration with two local activist groups, namely “Worker’s Democracy and The Pyotr Alexeev Resistance Movement”.
In fact, these activists have a great deal of experience in street politics; they participate in demonstrations of protests and picket-lines, and hand out flyers. As such, they have retained that basic form of grass-roots political culture that has an entire aesthetic of its own.
Together, we defined the goal of the piece. We wanted to visualize “In Praise of Dialectics”, one of Bertolt Brecht’s most striking poems.
The site of this visualization would be Stachek Square, from where the striking workers of 1905 marched on the Winter Palace (stachka means “strike” in Russian). We decided to bring Brecht’s poem out into this urban space line for line, carried by “engaged” sandwich people.
Bertold Brecht’s body of work was a such an important point of reference because it contains such a broad variety of aesthetic methods to answer the call of the concrete historical situation. In Brecht’s work, there is a clear understanding of how dialectical mechanisms are always at work in creativity, describing reality as a process of constant change that arises as a result of the conflicts and contradictions that makes the transformation of society possible.
In our piece, we tried to imagine how this dialectic might work today. Silently coagulating and reconfiguring their body-signs to the soundtrack of passing cars, these sandwich people demonstrate the potential of new representational constellations between protesting singularities from a broad variety of backgrounds and age groups pensioners, activists, children thrown into a dialectic of constant change.
But at the end of our piece, we asked our participants to read Brecht’s poem out loud. The effect is very strange, and might be described with what Brecht called the alienation effect: the silent motility of political potential erupts into decisive poetic speech, distancing the spectator from the action’s reconfigurative flow. Recited in a “Soviet” mode, the poem now resounds with the depleted pathos of the revolutionary past, a re-collection (Er-innerung) of the very language that new forms of protest aspire to negate.

Builders /2005/

Builders (photographs from 2004)

Builders / Строители [2005] from chto delat on Vimeo.

a video project by Chto Delat

realised by Tsaplya [Olga Egorova], Nikolay Oleinikov, Dmitry Vilensky

This video project is inspired by the painting “The Builders of Bratsk” (1961) by Viktor Popkov. As a Soviet art critic once accurately noted, “the paintings main theme is the ‘resurgence of life.'” By today, this piece has become an iconographic symbol of self-possessed, concentrated people, not only standing on the brink of great changes, but capable of making sense of this transformation and realizing it.

see related materials in the publication of Chto Delat
“What do we have in common”

It is important to note that the workers on the painting are not shown in the process of working, but that they are taking a well-deserved cigarette break. They have interrupted their work and now have the chance to consider both the relations that govern it, but also the significance it will have to the transformation of society at large. This is exactly how the painting was read in its time, as an interpretation we would like to return to today.

Our project’s goal is to apply this ideal image to contemporaneity. We invite the spectator to return to the composition of this painting and to suggest a new version of the process of its creation. We want to show (through a slide show and sound track) what might have preceded this moment, in which they took on a pose that turned them into a symbol of certainty, strength and belief. What was it? Hard work? A conflict in production that found its own solution? Or maybe even a hidden love story? Maybe it was all of these things at once, and maybe none of it happened. Our goal lies in constructing a situation in which people today (ourselves and our colleagues from Chto delat) become “ideal,” stretching to reach this image.


видео проект “Что Делать”

реализован Цаплей, Николаем Олейниковым и Дмитрием Виленским

Проект «Строители»
Художники: Цапля (Ольга Егорова, Николай Олейников, Дмитрий Виленский – рабочая группа «Что делать?»)

Этот проект вдохновлен картиной Виктора Попкова «Строители Братска» (1961 г.)
Как точно отмечала советская критика: «главный мотив картины – это мотив «обновления жизни». Сегодня это произведения стало уже иконографическим символом людей самоуглубленных и сосредоточенных – не просто стоящих на пороге перемен, но способных самим осмыслить и реализовать эти перемены.

Важно отметить, что рабочие на картине показаны не в процессе трудовой деятельности, а в процессе паузы – перекура – в тот момент, когда они на какое-то время приостановили процесс труда и способны заново осмыслить свое место, как в трудовых отношениях, так и осознать значение труда, в целом, в процессе общественных преобразований. Именно так эта картина была считана в свое время, к этому смыслу мы и предлагаем вернуться сегодня.

Эта картина – идеальный образ «оттепели», когда казалось, что уже создан настоящий советский человек, который способен построить коммунистическое общество. Персонажи картины – именно такие люди. Однако сила картины в том, что, при всей их идеальности, это абсолютно реальные люди.

Задача нашего проекта – примерить этот идеальный образ на современность. В этом слайд шоу мы предлагаем зрителю вернуться к композиции этой картины и предложить свою новую версию процесса её создания. Мы хотим показать, что могло предшествовать этому моменту, когда они встали так, чтобы превратились в символ уверенности, силы и веры.

Что это было? Тяжелый труд? Производственный конфликт, который нашел свое разрешение? Может быть там скрыта любовная история? Может быть все это вместе, а может ничего такого. Наша задача заключается в том, чтобы сконструировать ситуацию, в которой современные люди (мы сами и наши коллеги и друзья из рабочей группы «Что делать») стали «идеальны», «подтянулись» под этот образ. Что в нашей жизни может привести нас к такому состоянию? Наши дискуссии, наши конфликты, наше вера друг в друга, наше трудовая деятельность, проекты, мечты – все это нашло отражение в дискуссиях, ставших основой для звукового ряда этого фильма

Drift. Narvskaya Zastava /2004/

Drift. Narvskaya Zastava. Day 2


This film is edited from the documentation of the two days drifting process through Narvskaya Zastava – the legendary constructivist district in Leningrad. The drift was organized by Chto Delat? in 2004 (see more about exhibition project here⟨=en)

Film editing: Dmitry Vilensky

Drift. Narvskaya Zastava /2004/

Drift. Narvskaya Zastava. Day 1 (2004)


This film is edited from documentation of a two-day drift through Narvskaya Zastava, the legendary constructivist district in Leningrad. You can read more about this project in the seventh issue of our newspaper. (Download the .pdf here.)

The footage was shot on two cameras and edited by Dmitry Vilensky.

Sandwhiched /2004/

Sandwiched or Stop the Machine

A film by Dmitry Vilensky based on the action in public space realized by the workgroup Chto Delat?

A group of Saint-Petersburg artists, intellectuals, and writers came out into one of the central city squares, to become, for a while, the
“sandwichmen” and “sandwichwomen”. Each of them put on two advertising signs. The front one was empty. Language on strike. On the rear sign there were written various puzzling questions concerning the meaning and dignity of labour. The sandwichmen and sandwichwomen were handling newspapers to the passers by. The newspapers were also empty, except for their last page, where all the questions were listed together.

The film is based on the video material of these action and also include the fragments of the interviews made with real the “sandwichmen” and
“sandwichwomen” on the streets of Petersburg that reflects their descriptions of their working conditions and their place in society and
labour structures.

the questions put on placards:

Are you being exploited?
Are you exploiting somebody?
Is exploitation inevitable?

Did you dream of this job when you were a child?

Is work a woman thing?
Is work a man thing?
Is work a common thing?

Does work make you free?

Your boss needs you?
Your team needs you?
Your president needs you?
Who needs you anyway?

Who does not work, is not?

Are you afraid of the authorities?
Are the authorities afraid of you?
Let us be afraid together?

Happiness through labour?
Happiness through money?
How much does happiness cost?