29 September 2020. 16:30 – 18:00.
The collective Chto Delat
(What is to be done?) is a working group of artists, critics, philosophers and writers from Saint Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod which was founded in 2003 in Saint Petersburg with the goal of merging political theory, art and activism. Chto Delat sees itself as an artistic cell and as a community organiser for a variety of cultural activities intent on politicising knowledge production. The activity of the collective takes responsibility for the postsocialist condition and for bringing the forgotten and repressed potentiality of Soviet past tothe forefront, often engaging in a politics of commemoration.
In 2013, Chto Delat initiated an educational platform, the School of Engaged Art, and also provides resources for a space called Rosa’s House of Culture. This artistic activity is realised across a range of media—from video and theatre plays to radio programmes and murals—and it includes art projects, seminars and public campaigns. The works of the collective are characterised by the use of an alienation effect, surreal scenery, typicality and—always—analyses of concrete social and political struggles. These activities are coordinated by the core group including Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist), Artiom Magun (philosopher), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist), Natalia Pershina / Glucklya (artist), Alexey Penzin (philosopher), Alexander Skidan (poet and critic), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher), Dmitry Vilensky (artist) and Nina Gasteva (choreographer).
Chto Delat has participated in major exhibitions including the Shanghai Biennal 2018, the São Paulo Biennal 2014; Modern Art: 1960–2000. Restart, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2018), MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico (solo show 2017); KOW BERLIN (solo shows 2017 and 2015), Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789–2013 – Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2013); FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2013). Its works have been included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Museo Reina Sophia, Madrid; the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Tretyakov Art Gallery, Moscow, among others.
The Post-Soviet Studies project is dedicated to developing and redistributing the local knowledge acquired through research on different aspects of current post-communist conditions in Russia and other ex-socialist countries. There is a certain urgency of doing this programme now. We need to rethink and practise such things as comradeship, the specifics of decolonial development, applied post-Soviet hauntology, antifascist politics and relations between body and territory. The work of the laboratory consists of a series of collective and individual research, publication and exhibition projects which involve local and international communities.