David Riff Dmitry Vilensky Oxana Timofeeva Artemy Magun

What do we have in common? A Fictional Panel Discussion*

A banner in the background announces the panel’s theme: “Creative Commons.” David is moderating. He is flanked by Artiom and Oxana on his right and Dmitry and Alexei on his left.


DAVID: What do we have in common? How can we redefine the common without falling back on commonplaces? Or are commonplaces the path to understanding how to free the common, to think the common freely? What would you say, Artiom?

ARTIOM: The common belongs to no one. It is a res nullius. Take the many empty lots in post-Soviet space. They are totally this-sided and profane, but as “zones” apart, they appear strangely sacral. The sacrality of the profane – isn’t this the true formula of democracy? The real common, the common beyond exchange, the common without the universal, lies beneath our feet at the exact place where it belongs to no one. The real question is actually how to keep this common from being taken over by bureaucracy or capitalism, and on the other hand, how to preserve the relationship to it: after all, once they are deeply involved in their private lives, people hardly notice the common void that chases all their particular little worlds away. In order to answer the question of how we can realize and maintain the existence of the common, we need to act in common. This action will not only realize the communal-mimetic potential that we have accumulated, but will be the first step taken toward a free common, owned by none.

DAVID: So how would you describe this communal-mimetic potential? Oxana?

Aleksander Skidan David Riff Dmitry Vilensky

Answers to Questions Posed by WHW in Collective Creativity Exhibition Catalogue

Published in the catalogue “Collective Creativity”, Kunsthallle Friedericianum, Kassel

1. What example of artistic collaborative practice (recent or historical) is the most important for your work?

Not one but many examples, because the history of contemporary art in Russia is unthinkable without communities and artist-circles, utopias of friendship, creative collectives, autodidactic circles, institutionalizations of friendship. Among the most important for us: Arefjev Group in Petersburg, Collective Actions in Moscow. But there are many more that have formed our experience of artistic collaboration and exchange. Not all of them engaged in collaborative practice, many of them totally disengaged, embarking on singular or multiple metaphysical explorations from the confines of the kitchen, performed for an intimate audience of friends. To rethink this tradition, you have to look to other sources, where collective creativity is more prominent: the experience of the Russian LEF (Left Front of Artists) or those of the Situationist International or Fluxus. The Situationists are probably most important as a trigger for rethinking the somewhat hermetic Russian experience of community as becoming a point of contact with the public sphere and the world at large.

2.    Which collaborative act / event / gesture / movement (recent or historical or both) – as a mode of operating in the world as such is the most important for you?

The concept of multitude by Negri and Hardt, understood as a multiplicity of singularities, drawn together by a common teleology. The appearance of this concept is capable of redefining many of the more isolate community-experiences of the past. It’s important because it supplies a model and an impulse for solidarity, expressed through networking out to other groups and maintaining dialogue with them, even if their “personal ontology” is different from your own.

Oxana Timofeeva

Белое биополитическое бессознательное

Существуют две «генеральные линии» русского ультраправого дискурса. Первая, экзотическая – линия имперского национализма, антизападничества, евразийства – направлена в сторону мифического Востока; вторая, классическая – линия «арийства» и белого расизма – обращена на Запад. Если евразийцы и близкие им люди мыслят геополитически, в терминах захвата, поглощения и бесконечного разрастания государства (с большими оговорками, но часто вполне даже искренне желая видеть его мультиэтничным, мультикультурным и мультиконфессиональным), то «арийцы», сторонники расовой чистоты и здоровья нации, наиболее открыто ассоциируют свои идеи с фашизмом или расизмом и говорят друг с другом на языке биополитики. Оговорюсь, что слово «биополитика» я употребляю здесь не в том – вернее, не совсем в том – смысле, в каком употреблял его М. Фуко и употребляет Дж. Агамбен, но гораздо более узко и прямолинейно: как обозначение фундирования политики биологией (политика «крови»). В этом обзоре я сосредоточусь на сообществах и группах второго типа. Слово «расисты», пожалуй, является для них наиболее подходящим – оставляя за скобками неизбежную путаницу в терминах, порождаемую внутренними различиями между «фашистами», «неофашистами», «ксенофобами», «националистами» и другими представителями ультраправого радикализма, я буду говорить, в основном, о тех, кто по цвету (или по другим похожим характеристикам) делит людей на людей и не людей, или не вполне людей.