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15 Nov 2010

Kunsthalle Lissabon presents Chto Delat?


Chto Delat?, film still from 'Partisan Songspiel. A Belgrade Story', 2009.

Chto Delat? - Realism: Between Tragedy and Farse
Kunsthalle Lissabon
http://kunsthalle-lissabon.org/

Info

Screening and discussion with Chto Delat? members Olga Egorova Tsaplya e Dmitry Vilensky November 19 - 6 p.m.

Contact

info@kunsthalle-lissabon.org

+351 91 2045650

Address

http://kunsthalle-lissabon.org/
Kunsthalle Lissabon
Rua Rosa Araújo 7-9
1250-194 Lisbon
Portugal

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Chto Delat? - Realism: Between Tragedy and Farse

The platform Chto Delat/What is to be done? was founded with the goal of merging political theory, art, and activism in early 2003 in Saint Petersburg by a workgroup of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod. It originally consists of Olga Egorova/Tsaplya (artist, Saint Petersburg), Artiom Magun (philosopher, Saint Petersburg), Nikolai Oleinikov (artist, Moscow), Natalia Pershina/Glucklya (artist, Saint Petersburg), Alexei Penzin (philosopher, Moscow), David Riff (art critic, Moscow), Alexander Skidan (poet, critic, Saint Petersburg), Kirill Shuvalov (artist, Saint Petersburg), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher, Moscow) and Dmitry Vilensky (artist, Saint Petersburg). Chto Delat?'s ideas are rooted in its members' active participation in, and research into, current social and political situations in Russia, as well as principles of self-organisation and collective doings. Their work uses a variety of means to advance a leftist position on economic, social and cultural agendas; they publish a regular newspaper, produce artwork in the form of videos, installations, public actions, and radio programs, and contribute regularly to conferences and publications.

For Kunsthalle Lissabon, Chto Delat? will screen the films Partisan Songspiel. A Belgrade Story (2009) and The Tower: A Songspiel (2010), both parts of a triptych of socially engaged musicals that the Chto Delat? collective began working on in 2008. This cycle includes also the film Perestroika Songspiel: Victory over the Coup (2008). The screening will be followed by a lecture/discussion with Chto Delat? members Olga Egorova Tsaplya e Dmitry Vilensky.

Partisan Songspiel. A Belgrade Story begins with a representation of the political oppression (forced evictions) caused by the government of the city of Belgrade against the Roma population living in 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. Simultaneously 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.

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 Saint 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.

Chto Delat? (founded in 2003 in Saint Petersburg, Russia) has exhibited and presented its work in many recent projects including The Urgent Need to Struggle, ICA, London (2010), Vectors of the Possible, BAK, Utrecht (2010), The Idea of Communism, Volksbühne, Berlin (2010); The Beauty of Distance, 17th Sydney Biennale (2010); The Potosí Principle, Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid (2010); Morality, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); A History of Irritated Material, Raven Row, London (2010); Plug In, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2009); Istanbul Biennial (2009); 4th Biennial of Moving Image, Contour Mechelen, Belgium (2009).


Event supported by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and by Fundação de Serralves, on the occasion of the exhibition To the Arts, Citizens!