Dmitry Vilensky


Dmitry Vilensky (selected publications):

Ранние тексты

Искусство траты (заметки о питерской ситуации) /// 2001
опубликовано в 2001 – Художественный журнал N°33 (не опубликовано на сайте)

Дискуссии с Дмитрием Гутовом и Анатолием Осмоловским на рассылке Грундриссе
в период с 2001 по 2005 год, во многом отразившие важнейшие аспекты развития российского искусства в последующие годы.

2003

Что Делать
вступление к первому номеру газеты Что Делать
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_9_2/%D1%87%D1%82%D0%BE-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C-%D0%B2%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5/?lang=ru

Автономия как пространство действия
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_9_1/editorial-autonomy-as-a-space-for-action/?lang=ru

2004

9 тезисов для начала дискуссии о субъекте истории
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_9/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-9-%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B2-%D0%B4%D0%BB%D1%8F-%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%87%D0%B0%D0%BB/?lang=ru

Джин Фишер и Дмитрий Виленский
Диалог о коллективной субъективности, об открытии новых социальных пространств и радикальной публике
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать №5
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_3/%D0%B4%D0%B6%D0%B8%D0%BD-%D1%84%D0%B8%D1%88%D0%B5%D1%80-%D0%B8-%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%BE/?lang=ru

2005

К вопросу о политической выставке
Художественный Журнал ВЫПУСК: №58-59 2005
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/30/article/570

К вопросу о чрезвычайном положении
(в соавторстве с Давидом Риффом)
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_3-ar_4/%D1%87%D1%82%D0%BE-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C-%D0%BE%D1%82-%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%86%D0%B8%D0%B8/?lang=ru

Frédéric Maufras and Dmitry Vilensky dialogue
The case of first Moscow Biennale
Published at Neue Review, 2005, Berlin
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/frederic-maufras-and-dmitry-vilensky/

Кронштадтский Дневник (стихотворение для проекта Кронштадт навсегда)
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9_2/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BD%D1%88%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B4%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B5%D0%B2/?lang=ru

Диалоги: Борис Михайлов – Дмитрий Виленский:
Этика взгляда
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/32/article/589

2006

Почему Брехт?
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_9/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%B5%D0%BC%D1%83-%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%85%D1%82/?lang=ru

Тезисы о самообразовании
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать #14: Самообразование https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_9_6/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%8B-%D0%BE-%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B7/?lang=ru

2007

Тезисы о Советском
Художественный Журнал ВЫПУСК: №65-66 2007
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/26/article/440

К вопросу о композиции современного политического искусства
Художественный Журнал ВЫПУСК: №64 2007
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/27/article/467

2008

Marina Gržinić in conversation with Dmitry Vilensky
What is to be done?
Published at Reartikulacija 03, 2008
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/marina-grini-a-conversation-with-dmitry-vilensky/

Dmitry Vilensky Interview with Bankleer
On the current situation for engaged artist in Russia today, distribution of knowledge and the political transformation of aesthetic experiences, Berlin, 2008
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/dmitry-vilensky-about-the-current-situation-for-engaged-artist-in-russia-today-distribution-of-knowledge-and-the-political-transformation-of-aesthetic-experiences-interview-with-bankleer-berlin-2008/

Опыты поражения / Комментарий к фильму «Победа над Путчем»
опубликовано в газете Что делать №19
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9_3/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%B5-%D0%BA-%D0%BF%D1%83%D0%B1%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5/?lang=ru

Dialogue with Gerald Raunig
An Issue of Organisation: Chto Delat?
Published at Afterall Journal #19;  Autumn/Winter 2008
https://afterall.org/journal/issue.19/issue.organisation.chto.delat

2009

Беседа Дмитрия Виленского и Александра Бикбова
Производство критически ангажированного искусства
Неприкосновенный запас 2009, 5(67)
http://magazines.russ.ru/nz/2009/5/po16.html

Беседа с Давидом Рифиом (A conversation with David Riff)
From Communism to Commons?
Опубликовано в  Third Text, Vol. 23, Issue 4, July, 2009, 465–480
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/riff/from-communism-to-commons-david-riff-and-dmitry-vilensky/

Activist Club or On the Concept of Cultural Houses, Social Centers & Museums
Опубликовано в он-лайн журнале New Productivism, 2009; eipcp  transversal
http://eipcp.net/transversal/0910/vilensky/en

Lolita Jablonskiene & Dmitry Vilensky
Hybrid Spaces for Common
Опубликовано в “Printed Project” Nr. 10, 2009
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/hybrid-spaces-for-common-lolita-jablonskiene-a-dmitry-vilensky/

Диалог – Алексей Пензин и Дмитрий Виленский
В чем ваша польза?
Искусство, философия и формирование субъективности
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_9/%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%B9-%D0%BF%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B7%D0%B8%D0%BD-%D0%B8-%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2/?lang=ru

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

опубликован в журнале Luxemburg 01 (на немецком языке)
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/2011-06-04-20-35-45/

2010

Исследовательское интервью в рамках проекта Former West
c Cosmin Costinaş and Maria Hlavajova
https://www.formerwest.org/ResearchInterviews/InterviewwithDmitryVilensky

Критика «живого романтического образа»
Комментарий к взаимоотношениям нового акционизма и искусства в России
Опубликовано в Московском Художественном Журнале №81, 2010
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/16/article/226

Pavilion UniCredit: An Artist’s Tale
Published at http://eipcp.net/policies/vilensky/en

Искусство будет оставаться левым или его не будет вообще
Опубликовано на сайте опенспейс
http://os.colta.ru/art/projects/15960/details/16073/?expand=yes

Sven Spieker in Conversation with Dmitry Vilensky
Теория и практика критических интервенций (на англ. подксаст)
Artmargins, internet journal, Aprill 2010
http://www.artmargins.com/index.php/podcast/119-interviews/563-qthe-theory-and-practice-of-critical-interventionq-sven-spieker-in-conversation-with-dmitry-vilensky-st-petersburg

Dmitry Vilensky in conversation with Boris Buden
We Teach With Our Works And Our Lives
published at transversal journal, An-academy, 12-2010
http://eipcp.net/transversal/1210/buden-interviews/vilensky

Что значит делать фильм политически сегодня?
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать #04- 28
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_7/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D1%87%D1%82%D0%BE-%D0%B7%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%87%D0%B8%D1%82-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C/?lang=ru

Interfug In conversation: interview with chto delat (Dmitry Vilensky)
https://www.interflugs.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/interflugspublikationIII_net.pdf

 2011

Диалог Виктор Мизиано и Дмитрий Виленский
Singular Together!
Published at the catalogue of Chto Delat solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden
https://www.kunsthalle-baden-baden.de/kaufen/publikationen/
https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/dialogue-victor-misiano-dmitry-vilensky-singular-together/#
По-русски опубликован в http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/14/article/190

Интервью с Merijn Oudenampsen
educate, entertain, inspire
опубликовано в Published in: Andrea Phillips and Markus Miessen (eds)
Caring Culture: Art, Architecture and the Politics of Public Health. Sternberg Press 2011
https://merijnoudenampsen.org/2013/04/18/interview-dmitry-vilensky-of-chto-delat/

2012

Мы победили!
небольшой лирический комментарий к текущей ситуации о протестах зимы 2012 года в России
(опубликовано на ФБ)

«Оккупай», которого все так давно ждали
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/12/article/168

Dmitry Vilenski in conversation with Artur Żmijewski
Fucking Winter Outside
Published at POST-POST-SOVIET?
ART, POLITICS & SOCIETY IN RUSSIA AT THE TURN OF THE DECADE
https://docplayer.net/67412515-Post-post-soviet-art-politics-society-in-russia-at-the-turn-of-the-decade.html

В защиту репрезентации
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать #10-34
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/nr_3/%D0%B4%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9-%D0%B2-%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%89%D0%B8%D1%82%D1%83-%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B7%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%82/?lang=ru

2013

A dialogue between Charles Esche and Dmitry Vilensky
Living in pre-period conditions
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать #36 The Sublime is Now?
https://chtodelat.org/b8-newspapers/12-36/dialogue-charles-esche-dmitry-vilensky/

ArtLeaks: From intervention to infrastructure (with Corina Lucia Apostol)
Published at Frakcija Časopis za izvedbene umjetnosti / Performing Arts Journal
No. 68/69,  zima/winter 2013 and Eurozine in English in 2015
https://www.eurozine.com/artleaks-from-intervention-to-infrastructure/

О необходимости Школы
опубликовано в Художественном Журнале №92
http://moscowartmagazine.com/issue/6/article/56

Materialities of Independent Publishing: A Conversation with AAAAARG, Chto Delat?, I Cite, Mute, and Neural. / Dean, J.; Dockray, S.; Ludovico, A.; van Mourik Broekman, P.; Thoburn, N.; Vilensky, D. In: New Formations, Vol. 78, 2013, p. 157-158.

https://chtodelat.org/b9-texts-2/vilensky/materialities-of-independent-publishing-a-conversation-with-aaaaarg-chto-delat-i-cite-mute-and-neural/

2014

Лицом к лицу с монументом
Опубликовано в газете ЧД №37
https://chtodelat.org/b8-newspapers/37_face-to-face-with-the-monument/

Открытое письмо: Выход с манифесты (совместно с коллективом Что Делать)
https://art-leaks.org/2014/03/15/chto-delat-withdraws-from-manifesta-10-st-petersburg-russia/

2015

Об Источниках и составных частях Что Делать
Опубликовано в газете Что Делать #39
https://chtodelat.org/category/ar_4/39-%D0%BE%D0%B1-%D0%B8%D1%81%D1%82%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%85-%D0%B8-%D1%81%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%BD%D1%8B%D1%85-%D1%87%D0%B0%D1%81%D1%82%D1%8F%D1%85-%D1%87%D1%82%D0%BE/?lang=ru

Создавая Школу
опубликовано в газете Что Делать и на сайте ЧД
https://chtodelat.org/ar_4/%D1%81%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B0-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D1%83-%D1%81%D0%BF%D0%B5%D1%86-%D0%B2%D1%8B%D0%BF%D1%83%D1%81%D0%BA/%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B7%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B0%D1%8F-%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%BB%D1%83/?lang=ru

2016

БЕСЕДА ДМИТРИЯ ВИЛЕНСКОГО И АРСЕНИЯ ЖИЛЯЕВА
«“Что делать» основана на принципах делегирования и инициативы
https://colta.ru/articles/art/12050

2017

О возможности света
https://chtodelat.org/category/%D0%BE-%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B7%D0%BC%D0%BE%D0%B6%D0%BD%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B8-%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B0/?lang=ru

Equal in Inequality: True Art Knows How to Wait
Petar Jandric in conversation with Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat) (co-authored with Ana Kuzmanić)
Learning in the Age of Digital Reason pp 331-352,  Sense Publishers 2017
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-6351-077-6_15

Интервью: Дмитрий Виленский и Сэм Торн
К истории Школа Вовлеченного искусства (2013-)
из книги — «Школа: Беседы об искусстве и низовом само-образовании» (School: Conversations on Art and Self-Organised Education), опубликована в издательстве Sternberg Press весной 2017
http://schoolengagedart.org/about/history/

2018

И еще раз о возможности Единого
Художественный журнал №106

On Fables
“Figures of Speech”, SUMMER 2018 ISSUE
http://magazine.art21.org/2018/08/20/on-fables/#.W-r4CWgzZ1s

Conversation: Dmitry Vilensky with Ksenia Nouril
Опубликовано в книге Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Anthology, The Museum of Modern Art, Нью-Йорк
https://post.at.moma.org/content_items/1168-conversation-dmitry-vilensky-with-ksenia-nouril?fbclid=IwAR05F-9J6b-BcUQhUt-HWtdaO4m_e1kHI6lNa1CFkVvcYwiEgHMM0e1BQMg

 

 

 

 

Marina Grzinic in conversation with Dmitry Vilensky // What is to be done?

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Marina Gržinić:: Let’s start with an unusual question, namely I would like you to describe yourself in terms of context, education, space and artistic ambitions. More than who Dmitry Vilensky is, what does Dmitry Vilensky want as an artist and editor of the journal Chto delat?

Dmitry Vilensky: I am an auto-didactic artist, from Petersburg. I am 44 and it means that half of my life was spent during the Soviet era – I was exactly 22 when Perestroika began. I belonged to a circle of so-called Soviet dissidents who were involved in the process of resisting official soviet-bureaucratic power. This means that we developed a very specific culture and the practice of confidential circles and different political strategies of exodus and conspiracy (being opaque to the power structures….), and it is strange see that these skills acquired during the Soviet era are in demand again.

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Интервью Дмитрия Виленского // Обществу нужно демократическое пространство площади, агоры, а не фаллосы

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Уже несколько летв петербургских средствах массовой информации обсуждается идея создания в городе Музея современного искусства. На прошлой неделе в прессе появилась информация, что подобный музей, вероятно, будет размещен в одном из корпусов пресловутого «Охта-центра». Если учесть, что строительство этого сооружения спровоцировало резкий общественный протест, то невольно возникают опасения, что и Музей современного искусства так никогда и не обретет своего пристанища.

На эту тему мы решили побеседовать с известным петербургским художникомДмитрием Виленским.

АД:Дмитрий, скажите, пожалуйста, как Вы в целомотноситесь к идее строительства «Охта-центра»?

ДВ:Сейчас в городе построено много всего ужасного, впервые с периода модерна начала ХХ века происходит сознательное производство новой экстремистки капиталистичекой среды – среды потребления, вытеснения, контроля, развлечения – это уникальный исторический момент. Вопрос в том, когда все это должно внушить людям отвращение? Пока, похоже царит общее упоение и делегирование прав новой буржуазии обращаться с городом в соответствии со своими понятиями о пространстве. Пока это делалось более или менее робко – отвратительное стилизаторство под классический Петербург, или навороченные торговые центры на окраинах. Но башня Газ-Прома это уже полноценная манифестация власти капитала в публичном пространстве города. Ведь сейчас правит не Матвиенко (вместо нее можно легко представить себе кого угодно) – правит капитал, а вот представить его отсутствие это уже серьезный вызов. То есть, на мой взгляд, простые охранительные призывы«не дадим исказить классический образ нашего города»не интересны – важно если они приведут к полноценному осознанию ничтожества всего капиталистического развития и общество окажется способным сформулировать свою альтернативную программу развития. Пока этого не происходит и мне кажется, что наглость Газ-Прома это отличная провокация, наконец-то демонстрирующая самым убежденным либералам, что значит власть капитала.

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Chto Delat (David Riff & Dmitry Vilensky) in a dialogue with WHW // Solidarity: with whom, how, against what?

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DV+ DR: Solidarity [a word which we owe to the French Communists] signifies a fellowship in gain and loss, in honor and dishonor, in victory and defeat, a being, so to speak, all in the same boat. Trench. Recently I was rather intrigued by a fragment that I found in one interview that Susan Buck-Moriss made with Grant Kester. She said: “This is Adorno’s point when he speaks of the somatic solidarity we feel with victims of socially organized violence, even when that violence is justified in our own culture’s term. So I want to say that aesthetics is the body’s form of critical cognition, and that this sensory knowledge can and should be trusted politically. It is empathy rather than sympathy, because it is capable of producing solidarity with those who are not part of our own group, who do not share our collective identity”.

I would like to suggest this quotation from Susan Buck-Moriss as point of departure in our exchange of opinions on what solidarity is. First of all, I hope that this statement might help us to bridge the traditional socio-political dimension of solidarity with art and the cultural situation in general.

In the sphere of real politics, there are different modes of “showing” solidarity:“Wear this ribbon to show your solidarity with AIDS victims”,or donate some money to support the victims of repression, or go to the demo, or whatever. Of course, just as in political life, cultural workers now find themselves signing different mailing lists and petitions in support of the victims of different type of repression from the side of the state, fundamentalist groups or intelligence services. This happens in the USA (enough to remember Critical Art Ensemble), in Poland, in Russia and so on…

But is this the only procedure for the demonstrating solidarity? And what are its limitations?

Moreover, the call for solidarity is often an appeal from a marginal position. What I mean is that it is a way of calling out for support when you are rather marginal in the local political situation and the question of your survival hinges upon your ability to mobilize mechanisms of international support (through funding, cooperation etc.). In this sense, the performance of a call for solidarity is rewarded in some way, out of sympathy. More often than not, the (much-needed) support comes from the system it opposes. The system is not homogeneous and there are always lots of “good guys” who are already inside, who can help you to come in, out of solidarity.

The question is relevant because such “shows of solidarity” often seem dangerously ineffective and crumble as soon as “real life” comes back into play. In recent times, we can hardly remember any relevant protest of cultural workers aimed at breaking the routine of the spectacle. The strike of “intermittents du spectacle” was aimed at keeping old social benefits and did not touch the notion of the festivals they worked on. And there are hardly any effective boycotts of biennales, exhibition-projects or institutional activities worth mentioning; it doesn’t not matter how bad and senseless they are and in which direction they seem to be heading. My experience in organizing such open protests and pushing the organizers to provide the artists with more decent conditions to realize their work have been very negative on the whole. At the beginning almost everyone is saying that the project has no sense, that the organizers are assholes and they see no reason to participate, but finally everyone is smiling and taking part in the event that they were opposing. It seems that you have no way to reveal your protest in our heavily competitive world; at times, it even seems really stupid to stand up against what is “just another show”, especially if this “show” doesn’t place your (cultural) existence in question. And even if you do “show” your solidarity, it often seems like you’re simply performing some speech-act or sympathizing at best, without actually experiencing the somatic solidarity that Adorno is talking about.

Isn’t “a show of solidarity” often just a non-committal performance? And what happens to such shows of solidarity when they are aestheticized? Don’t they become the kind of fake shows of solidarity that pretend to be interactive but wind up being little more that venues for cultural agents to “jump on the bandwagon” and profile themselves?

This brings me to the real crux of the matter: maybe solidarity is something that only become possible when we aren’t just expressing our sympathy, but when our “bodies” (to return to Buck-Moriss’ metaphor) revolt, when we empathize with those people who are appealing to us.

Perhaps it makes sense to think of politics as something beyond sympathy, as something based on an empathic experience that leads to the “existential” root of any genuine politicization. (The moment which the critic Dietrich Diedrichsen identifies when someone stands up and declares that “I can’t live like this anymore”, meaning “I can’t live knowing that the others live like this”, or “in fact, nobody should live like this, no matter whether they belong to our group or not”).

The question, then, is: can aesthetics be understood as a conduit for the kind of empathy that leads beyond the closed community of friends, beyond sympathy for some disconnected other, beyond performances that mean very little once these part of thespectacle is over?

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Gerald Rauning in conversation with Dmitry Vilensky // An Issue of Organisation: Chto Delat?

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GR: The name of your collective “Chto delat?” seems to derive from the title of that old Lenin text “What is to be done?” where Lenin tries to raise some “burning questions for our movement”.It is quite an early essay from the beginnings of what I tend to call the discourse “Lenin”. The name Lenin stands here for a discursive machine developing possible forms of radical politics, which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century. This machine was by no means unequivocally determined, not even in 1917, but drew instead from a multitude of positions, which by the way also explains the flexibility and versatility of Lenin’s own political position and his writings. In a broad field of social-democratic, socialist, communist, individual anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist positions, which continuously opened up new fields of reference, there seemed to be endless possibilities for inventing and recomposing revolutionary machines. Now if for example Slavoj Zizek’s book on Lenin, Revolution at the Gates, thus represents an attempt to “repeat Lenin”, specifically the Lenin that has vanished behind the proliferating dogmas of Marxism-Leninism, then I would more concisely claim to repeat the discourse “Lenin”: the discourse that arose especially in the years between the two revolutions in 1905 and 1917 in Europe, and certainly not only in Lenin’s own writings, but which instead articulates much in the debates relating to the Second International, social democracy and the unions, to the relationship between socialist and anarchist movements, to Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, to suitable forms of organization, to the avant-garde party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the relationship between spontaneous actions and cadre-like organization, to proletarian and political mass strikes, all of which would be worth “repeating” today – or at least purposely not repeating. I read the name of your group consciously repeating the old title of a Lenin text in this context.

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Dmitry Vilensky // On the current situation for engaged artist in Russia today, distribution of knowledge and the political transformation of aesthetic experiences

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Could you please describe the current situation for critical/engaged artist (groups) in Russia today? Which obstacles are the most important ones?

There are not only obstacles but serious offensive measures against all critical or oppositional voices. Frankly, I must say that we were not prepared that the situation would escalate at such a speed and in such a very oppressive direction. The main problem is the almost total control of all public spheres. Just take into the consideration the recent case of the arrest of our newspaper. On the evening of August 27, the new issue of the newspaper Chto Delat (No. 19: What Does It Mean to Lose? The Experience of Perestroika) was confiscated during a police raid at the printers in Petersburg. This raid on the printer’s workshop was connected to an earlier incident, when a Petersburg activist was arrested by Petersburg police at the gates of the Petersburg seaport for handing out flyers to workers. The flyer aroused suspicion because it contained material critical of the Russian-Georgian conflict, and the police raided the printer’s workshop where the flyer had been produced, discovering the most recent edition of Chto Delat. They confiscated the entire edition of 3,000 newspapers and detained me for questioning. The situation really did look pretty absurd, because we produced this issue as a part of our project for the U-Turn Quadriennial in Copenhagen, and it’s one of the most artsy issues we’ve made so far; it contains almost no references to the current political situation. Instead, the issue is dedicated to the problematic of perestroika, whose hopes and outcome the authors subject to critical enquiry. The security officials’ suspicion was aroused by the “political look” of the paper and, in particular, by the libretto of a film-opera by the Chto Delat workgroup in which a nationalist, a democrat, a revolutionary, and a businessman debate the fate of the Soviet Union and its present outcome.

The case had been handed over to the attorney’s office to investigate whether the newspaper is in violation of the Russian constitution, which contains paragraphs against extremism and the incitement of ethnic and religious hatred. The entire edition is still in custody, and was not distributed at U-Turn and October Salon in Belgrade, and I doubt if we will manage to rescue it quickly enough for the other shows scheduled for this month.

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Chto Delat? dialogue // When the Masses Can’t, and the Leaders Won’t: A Conversation about Perestroika

Posted in Aleksander Skidan, Dmitry Vilensky, Artemy Magun | 0 comments

Dmitry Vilensky: In our previous dialogue we touched on the question of being faithful[1]to the phenomenon of Perestroika. But today in Russia, the range of possibilities for action which goes against the policies of the government is increasingly shrinking, which inevitably leads to the question – which also arose during Perestroika – of how dependent the masses who demand change are on the strategy of those in power. With all of our sympathy for grassroots activism in the Perestroika period, it’s impossible to consider it separately from decisions made by the Politburo. At a certain moment the leaders’ agenda clearly were ahead of the national mood. How should we see this dialectic of opposition? I ask this question because now, on the one hand, there is a real danger of sliding into the dead-end Soviet situation of the “chill” after the Thaw of the early 1960s. On the other hand, it’s possible that we’ll pass through a new experience of mass mobilization against the discredited authorities, who, as is now obvious, after the pre-election hysteria, no longer fulfill the hopes not only of the active and educated part of the population, but of the people as a whole. The latter have not yet been able to articulate their discontent, but beneath the surface are already questioning the situation in Russia. That was the dialectic between leaders and masses in the Perestroika era, too. It is by nature a very Russian kind of dialectic and, it seems to me, one in need of detailed analysis.

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A Conversation on Education as a Radical Social (and Aesthetic) Practice with Marta Gregorcic, Bojana Piskur, Marjetica Potrc and Dmitry Vilensky

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The following interview has been published in “Maska” Performing Arts Journal, Winter 2007

(Art) education became an important issue within visual art practices in the last two years, not only as a mediation of the museum and arts programs but also as a curatorial practice. It seems that this model was, in all its political urgency, inaugurated by Manifesta 6, which, unfortunately, has never been realized in Nicosia, Cyprus. The concept of the exhibition as an art school, which is very much rooted in the local environment, was then introduced by the curatorial team Mai Abu El Dahab, Anton Vidokle and Florian Waldvogel and is now partly continued by Anton Vidokle’s project Unitednationsplaza in Berlin. This is based on the idea of historical experimental learning institutions which combined communal living with an informal class structure and foster the tradition of Free Universities.

Moreover, some art museums have followed this model by concentrating on projects with different groups of participants as well as on closer collaboration with art schools and universities. In the era of global neo-liberalism museums share the same concerns about the demands for simplification of their contents, bureaucratic control and result-oriented culture as the universities, which are now facing the.forthcoming “Bologna Accord” with its tendency to homogenize and rationalize higher education in order to gain more accessible and comparable outcomes. Museums as sites of informal learning should, according to Irit Rogoff, foster radical pedagogy “a pedagogy that eschews the simplicity of accessibility to information, experience or cultural capital, and replaces it with questions of access” . Rogoff is one of the authors of the project Academy: Learning from Art / Learning from the Museum, initiated last year by Siemens Arts Program in cooperation with the Kunstverein in Hamburg, the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College in London, the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (MuHKA), and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. It concentrated especially on “gaining access to the urgent and important issues of our day” as the result of radical pedagogy (in a sense how do we get to know things, how do we get to take part in them, how do we have a position …), but also on linking up the topics activism, participation and artistic practice and demarcating education not only as a model, but also as a field for political participation and cultural creativity.

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David Riff and Dmitry Vilensky // Interview

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DR: Just two days ago at Tate Liverpool, it was announced that the Turner Prize 2007 has been awarded to Mark Wallinger, for his work “State Britain at Tate Britain,” which consisted of a direct representation of the banners and paraphernalia of Brian Haw’s protest in Parliament Square, London. (The piece, as we know, is a reconstruction of banners, posters, flags and other items used by Brian Haw in his protest against the British involvement in Iraq war as they looked like before being dismantled and removed by 78 police officers on 23 May 2006.) Is it possible in today’s Russia to honor with the highest national art award an artist who identifies with someone protesting so severely against the mainstream politics of the State? Transferring this to the personal level, how do you compare your “status” as political artists within the Russian artscene compared to your status as political artists within the international art scene (which is, I think, practically dominated by the “architects” of Western cultural policies)? What are the differences in the reception or impact of the work of Chto Delat in these two different cultural environments?

DV: Thanks for your question. It allows us to trigger a very interesting discussion. You may not know it, but in parallel to the Turner Prize, in fact on the same day, there was a ceremony in Moscow at which the “Kandinsky Prize” was awarded. Since the prize’s main nomination consisted of the same amount of money (40,000 Euros), and the date were synchronized, we can say that the initiators of this prize (the glossy art magazine ArtKhronika and Deutsche Bank) were trying to match their prize with Turner.

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Frédéric Maufras and Dmitry Vilensky dialogue // The case of first Moscow Biennale

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Published in Neue Review, 2005, Berlin

 

Frédéric Maufras: The first Moscow Biennale took place throughout the city from the 28th of January until the 28th of February, particularly in the former Lenin Museum on the Red Square, and in the State Schusev Museum of Architecture. Previously announced as the biggest art event in Russia, this new biennial was reduced to a show of 41 young international artists selected by six European co-curators (Joseph Backstein, Daniel Birnbaum, Nicolas Bourriaud, Iara Boubovna, Rosa Martinez, Hans Ulrich Obrist). It seems that there were several problems during the preparation of the project. They first hit Viktor Misiano, editor-in-chief of the “Moscow Art Magazine” (the main magazine on contemporary art in Russia). Also an internationally renowned curator, Misiano was in the team of the “ Berlin-Moskau ” which was shown both in Martin Gropius Bau and in Historical Museum in 2003 and in 2004, in recent years he has curated the Russian pavilion in Venezia. V.Misiano was kicked off as a co-coordinating curator of the Biennale after the other coordinator, Joseph Backstein (the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art) sent a denunciation letter against him to the Russian Ministry of Culture. It seems that more generally, the Biennale has been the theater of a catastrophic screenplay linked to the political trouble of today’s Russia. The newspaper published by the group “Chto delat? / What is to be done?” was one of the rare observers to report this phenomena in Russia. Dmitry Vilensky, you are one of the instigators of the group, what could you say about the Moscow Biennale?

Dmitry Vilensky: I think it was the most controversial event in cultural situation in Russia recently. I am personally not a big fan of huge global events but I would admit that sometimes they could have a progressive role for developing local situations. Actually in Moscow at the beginning, when we first heard that our Ministry of Culture would support this type of event all of sudden, we were very inspired. I am not just talking about a narrow circle of artists and intellectuals who were associated with the “Moscow Art Magazine” – as far as I remember it was widely spread feeling: “Wow, now and we will have something like a real international event”. Victor Misiano decided to publish a whole issue dedicated to the problematic of a “big project for Russia”, where he managed to gain a broad spectrum of opinions on how, why, and for whom this event should be carried out here. I am on the editorial board of “Moscow Art Magazine” and remember well this heated process of discussing the situation that always starts with rather deep question like “who we are?” and how we should find an unique format for this delayed event. Then as you know a lot of shit has happened and the way how the Biennale was finally realized is far away from any reasonable consideration that we had here.

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Dmitry Vilensky // Activist Club or On the Concept of Cultural Houses, Social Centers & Museums

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The topic of my talk today will be the use of art and the search for the forms and places where it could attain its emancipatory role in society. At the same time, I would like to call your attention to our recent collective project that we call “Activist Club”. Its genealogy is obviously rooted in the process of the development of so-called Workers Cultural Houses in the Soviet Union, and I would like to take this recent work as a kind of case study that will hopefully help us to tackle different aspects of the issues of this seminar. I would also like to point out that the topic of my talk is based on the results of editorial work that I did recently for the new issue of our newspaper Chto Delat with the title “What’s the Use of Art?”

So I would like to start with a kind of “crude question”, which often asks art or critical reflection a simple thing: “What is the use of what you do?”

This question can, of course, provoke a quite negative reaction: it might be regarded as completely out of bounds, naive or just meaningless. If we take a closer look, however, we’ll find that it is both legitimate and essential.

It is clear that when we analyze it, we arrive at the old problem of the difference between the exchange and the use values of everything produced by human activity. Today, we can hardly take seriously the idea that art’s importance has to do with its anti-functionality, with its attempts to escape instrumentalization on the part of the culture industry or direct political action. The idea that art should dissolve into life, that it should be totally abolished in favor of daily life’s most basic functions, can likewise hardly be taken seriously today.

How can we find a way today to continue not only the project of Bildung —the process of individual development via aesthetic education (despite all the obvious sympathy for it) —but also find a new continuation for the project of art and thought as tools of a radical transformation of people’s consciousness?

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Roundtable: Utopia and Everyday Life of the Russian City

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First published in PROJECT RUSSIA MAGAZINE, 2005 

In place of a commentary to the projects "Drift. Narvskaya Zastava" and "Shrinking Cities". Excerpts from the roundtable at the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA), Moscow, February 18, 2005
Discussion was organized by the magazine "PROJECT RUSSIA" and the workgroup "Chto delat? / What is to be done?"

Alexei Muratov (A.M.) Our plan is to kick off by talking about the projects presented to you today before going on to discuss a wider range of issues relating to artistic investigation of the environment.

Nikita Tokarev (N.T.) ‘Shrinking Cities’ included a competition of ideas. Were there works from Russia and did they win?

Sergey Sitar (S.S.) There were 30 applications to develop projects relating to Ivanovo, two thirds of which came from Russia. This was 15 fewer than the number of applications regarding Manchester and Detroit. The bulk of proposals were dedicated to Germany. The project was organized by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, so, of course, the project received the broadest coverage in that country. I participated in the work of the jury during selection of applications. In the end, five of the 30 applications concerning Ivanovo were selected. Subsequently, however, not one of the Ivanovo projects made it through to the winners.

N.T. How do you explain this?

S.S. Given that in Russia there is no context for discussion, research, and reflection on the subject of shrinking cities, it would have been wrong to expect something supernatural of Russian participants.

Dmitry Vilensky (D.V.) When shrinking cities were discussed at the Berlin University, the very large auditorium was full to overflowing. But here in Russia, as we see now, this is a problem that not many take an interest in.

S.S.  And it should be said that for us Russians who are involved with this issue it’s not done to regard urban shrinkage as a disaster – but rather as an altogether objective process.

Boris Kagarlitsky (B.K.) But from the point of view of the sociologist, it really is a disaster.

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

Posted in David Riff, Dmitry Vilensky, Oxana Timofeeva, Artemy Magun | 0 comments

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?

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Answers to Questions Posed by WHW in Collective Creativity Exhibition Catalogue

Posted in Dmitry Vilensky, David Riff, Aleksander Skidan | 0 comments

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.

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