Alexey Penzin

Texts // Alexey Penzin

From the Perspective of Hope – A Conversation Between Alexey Penzin and Dmitry Vilensky


Алексей Пензин // “Затерянный мир”, или О деколонизации российских общественных наук

Опубликовано в Ab Imperio, 3/2008


Alexei Penzin // Le réveil du sommeil

Publié au Le Courrier de Russie, 2009, N 157


An Interview with Paolo Virno (by Alexei Penzin) // The Soviets of the Multitude: On Collectivity and Collective Work

Published in Manifesta Journal, # 8, 2010.


Алексей Пензин // Формирование новых политических субъективностей: между «тоской» и изобретением общей жизни

Опубликовано в «Художественном журнале», 2009, NN 75/76


Alexei Penzin // Capital: Symbolic and Real

In this op-ed piece for, philosopher and Chto Delat member Alexei Penzin reflects on the curious fate of Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic capital in contemporaryRussia.


Алексей Пензин // Аборигены острова Россия?

Опубликовано в веб-журнале «Культура. Открытый доступ»


Alexei Penzin // Profanation of the Profane, or, Giorgio Agamben on the Moscow Biennale

Published at Rethinking Marxism. A Journal of Economics, Culture & Society


Алексей Пензин // Minima Anthropologica: «аналитическая антропология» в обществе миметического труда

Опубликовано на сайте «Интеллектуальная Россия»


Алексей Пензин // Рецензия на “Коммунистический постскриптум”

Опубликовано в журнале «Критическая Масса», 2007, № 1

Рец. на Борис Гройс. Коммунистический постскриптум
Пер. с нем. Андрея Фоменко. М.: Аd Marginem, 2007. 128 с. Тираж 1000 экз.


Alexei Penzin // Schlaf, Kapital, Politik

Published at Dokumentationsstelle für ost- und mitteleuropäische Literatur, 2007


Алексей Пензин // В защиту «грубой мысли»

Опубликовано в «Художественном журнале», 2008, № 67-68


Алексей Пензин // Новые социальные субъекты: версия Паоло Вирно

Опубликовано в журнале «Прогнозис», 2006, №3


Alexei Penzin // Post-Soviet Singularity and Codes of Cultural Translation Some stories, preliminary theses and variations around one enormous problem

Forthcomimg at Dictionary of Transition (Prague, 2010)


Алексей Пензин // «Революционное чудовище»: понятие множества в философии Антонио Негри

Опубликовано в журнале «Синий диван», 2004, № 5.


Artemy Magun

Texts// Artemy Magun

Negativity in communism: Ontology and politics (2011)


Higher Education in Post-Soviet Russia and the Global Crisis of the University (2010)


Поэтика революционного времени. Гельдерлин и Мандельштам (2010)


Res publica sive nullius (2008)




Новые имена современной поэзии: Ника Скандиака (2007)


Артем Магун // В чем состоит фашизм, и откуда он берется (2006)


Что значит ориентироваться в истории? (2006)


Слои сетчатки (2005)


Slavoj Žižek /// Lecture at European Uni. St. Petersburg

panel discussion:
– IS THERE A REASON IN HISTORY? STATE AND REVOLUTION TODAY. (participants Keti Chuchrov, Artyom Magun, Alexey Penzin & Dmitry Vilensky)

in 6 parts – go to

to watch further…



Mladen Dollar // Lecture at the St. Petersburg European University


Mladen Dollar // What, If Anything, Is An Atom?  (Lecture Documentation in Three Parts)



Dmitry Vilensky

Dmitry Vilensky / Theses on the Soviet Experience

Today, nostalgia for all things Soviet is a popular commodity that is so fluid precisely because its underlying experience has already been hollowed out. As the Soviet experience returns in new capitalist packaging, even the right to interpret its history becomes an object of unabashed speculation.

A host of contemporaries is attempting to construct a comfortable image of the past (Stalin – the might of empire – party dictatorship – socialist realism – avant-garde as surface design) to legitimate a flimsy power and a shabby everyday. To interrupt the din of this choir, it makes sense to turn to the central question that Benjamin asks in his theses on the concept of history: who is the subject of history? For those who take on the task of continuing the struggle for emancipation, the answer to this question is unambiguous: “not man or men, but the struggling, oppressed class itself is the depository of historical knowledge,” a class-multitude that clearly realizes and rejects the status quo that fetters its lives, dreams, and the dignity and strength of constituent labor: all those who still remember the pride of belonging to the human struggle for freedom.

Dmitry Vilensky

Dialogue Victor Misiano – Dmitry Vilensky /// Singular Together!

Published at the catalogue of Chto Delat? solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

(see here:

Singular Together!

Viktor Misiano: In one of the latest issues of Chto Delat you and Alexei Penzin discussed the ways that a new subjectivity is shaped. Indeed, how can protest consciousness suddenly emerge in a passive, apathetic society, which is what contemporary Russian society is? One possibility here (almost the only one) is traumatic experience, a personal encounter with flagrant injustice and cynical lawlessness capable of instantly jolting a person from their civic hibernation. Alexei defined this process as a kind of “metanoia,” a “transfiguration” that happens in an explosive, uncontrolled, revolutionary manner. Hence my question. How did it happen that a group of artists and intellectuals living in apolitical Putinist Russia united into a group that programmatically defends political goals? What “metanoia” could lead to the fact that during the second post-Soviet decade creative people began criticizing the regime – not, however, in unison with rightist/liberal public opinion, but speaking a language that had seemingly vanished into the past, reviving terms like solidarity, soviets, non-alienated labor, and communism? Moreover, what matters here are not even the gestures of fidelity to the communist legacy, because they have occurred (albeit extremely rarely) before and after Chto Delat’s emergence. The important thing is that until very recently you were the only example of an artistic practice that consistently identified itself with civic activism. So what were the circumstances, what was the trauma that led to the formation of your working platform?

Dmitry Vilensky

Дмитрий Виленский /// Критика «живого романтического образа»


Опубликовано в Московском Художественном Журнале №81

текст написан в июне 2011

За последнее время появилась целая серия критических материалов о феномене нового российского активизма. Вот только некоторые из них: текст из блога Павла Арсеньева на сайте радио «Свобода», публикация Анатолия Осмоловского на сайте, статья Андрея Ерофеева в «Артхронике» [1].Отдельно стоит отметить деятельность галереи «Жир», специализирующейся на репрезентации уличного и активистского искусства. Последние громкие акции группы «Война», недавний арест двух ее активистов, выход номера «Артхроники», посвященный их творчеству и, конечно же, присуждение им госпремии «Инновация» также подогрели интерес к вопросу, что же такое активизм в его улично-перформативных формах и как он соотносится с искусством, политикой и повседневной реальностью.

David Riff Dmitry Vilensky

From Communism to Commons? /// David Riff and Dmitry Vilensky

DV: What does it mean today to talk about the ‘communist imaginary’? What is it to ‘imagine communism’? Is it some revenge fantasy with a happy ending; Latin American tanks knocking down prefabs in the American South West? Is it the memory of the Fordist ‘worker’s state’ in the biomechanics of the Moscow Metro? Is it when we collectively invent practices that make temporary worlds beyond private property? Or is it when we imagine that the world is still moving toward the total emancipation of the socialized human senses, conscious species being, that reveals itself in the collaboration of a ‘free community of producers’? Can we imagine a communist government that conceives of governmentality as withering away, made up of our own incorruptible comrades? Or are we just imagining things? Does all of what I have just written sound absurd? That doubt is always there. Maybe its just idealism… If you consider yourself a Marxist, this is hell: banished to utopia. I’m not saying that we should immediately give up ‘imagining communism,’ but maybe we should try to be more “scientific” in an old-fashioned Marxist way, namely by setting out a central hypothesis, and then by proving that hypothesis in practice. It’s funny, but when I was studying at the university we were all obliged to take a yearlong course in ‘scientific communism’. Can you imagine this now? Of course, we played all kinds of tricks to escape this dull course at any price. Now things are quite different for me, and I’ve left that traumatic experience behind. I think that it definitely makes sense to keep on thinking the ‘hypothesis of communism,’ a term Alain Badiou has been using, and I think it’s the right place to start. I too would much prefer this term to the ‘communist imaginary,’ which seems so abstract. You can see it right away: we’re talking about two different intellectual patterns that are always actualized differently. One is practical – a hypothesis you set out to prove; the other is speculation that has no consequences. So what is this ‘communist hypothesis’? Let’s look at Badiou’s definition: given in its canonic Manifesto, ‘communist’ means, first, that the logic of class—the fundamental subordination of labor to a dominant class, the arrangement that has persisted since Antiquity—is not inevitable; it can be overcome. The communist hypothesis is that a different collective organization is practicable, one that will eliminate the inequality of wealth and even the division of labor. The private appropriation of massive fortunes and their transmission by inheritance will disappear. The existence of a coercive state, separate from civil society, will no longer appear a necessity: a long process of reorganization based on a free association of producers will see it withering away.

To me, that doesn’t sound absurd at all, and I see no intellectual problems with still believing in the validity of this statement. But on the level of practice, the realization of the ‘hypothesis of communism’ encounters many obstacles at this particular historical moment as well, obstacles that we should talk about.

Artemy Magun

Artemy Magun /// Negativity in communism: Ontology and politics.

The French translation of this article was published in: L’idée du communisme 2, ed. par S. Zizek et A. Badiou (P.: Lignes, 2011).

here is an English version

Dmitry Vilensky

О репрезентации и участии. Современное политическое искусство и социальные движения.

опубликован в журнале Luxemburg 01 на немецком языке

For if we agree that the mere existence of social misery and class struggle will not lead automatically to an emancipating system change, and that conscious agency always has to be prepared and organized strategically, then we have to grant culture – learning and the arts, and the arts of learning – an important part in any future renewal of radical leftist politics.

Gene Ray, Radical Learning and Dialectical Realism:Brecht and Adorno on Representing Capitalism

Истоки конфликта

Последнее время мне, в своей художественной деятельности, пришлось столкнуться с проявлениями открытой конфронтации между художниками – участниками выставок с откровенно политической программой, и активистами, которые эти проекты выбирали мишенью своей критики. Наиболее яркий конфликт произошел недавно в Стамбуле, во время последней Стамбульской биеннале, когда сеть активистов готовивших, как раз в момент открытия биеннале, протесты против проведения IMF форума в Стамбуле ( выразили свой протест и против участников этого выставочного проекта, основанного на развитии идей Брехта и отрицания буржуазных ценностей. Своим протестом они поставили под сомнение возможности выражения левого критического пафоса в рамках проектов, поддержанных подозрительными корпоративными спонсорами, такими как семейство Коч, очевидно связанными с милитаристкой индустрией. После того как инициаторы Резистстамбул написали обращение к художникам участникам биеннале возникла важная и принципиальная дискуссия которая ярко высветила основную структуру разногласий между ними. В чем они заключаются?