THINKING WITH SOME FRIENDS OF THE VIRUS | Dmitry Vilensky & Some friends of the virus

The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration  We have a situation here
holds this online meeting on Thursday 15 OCTOBER at 20:00 CET
Facilitated by Dmitry Vilensky, with The friends of the virus

We ask you to kindly register here to allow us to better organize the meeting
and join us on Zoom platform on October 15 at 20:00 CET clicking on the link

On 22 of March some friends of the 16 Beaver initiative have published first issue of the zine The Society of the Friends of the Virus, Vol. 1

The project starts with provocative open letter to the virus:

Dear Virus, We want to write to you this communication, as a short note of thank you. To our human companions on this planet, such a gesture would appear a betrayal, since at this very moment you have been declared as an enemy of humanity . Not since the events of September ll has there been such unanimity and propagation of fear and the mobilization of uncritical construction of an enemy toward relinquishing further power to states and exposing our most intimate (i.e., personal and impersonal) details ? habits to the observation, surveillance, determination. In some states, even what …

16 Beaver Group has been inhabited since 1999 by a wide range of artists, intellectuals and activists who have for more than 20 years been involved in conjoining and considering the interrelations between art, political thought and action. Its name is based on the address where the space was initiated just below Wall Street.

Different friendships, collaborations, and initiatives have resulted over the years, including regular meetings, encounters, collectively produced situations and occasionally public-actions. Among the many anchors weaving the practices of those involved in the material and virtual space together has been the very question of what constitutes politics and a political activity today. And where do art and learning play a part in this process of rethinking life in common. 

the Society of the Friends of the Virus exists as a series of publications in the form of zines, and has extended into a series of weekly thematic online assemblies, where some of the ‘friends’ have been invited to share and discuss questions which they feel the virus has provoked or opens us all to reconsider. 

In this conversation, we will be joined by several contributors from the Society to think together the “mutations” in the social fields and how they may alter our conceptualizing of agency and even ‘what is to be done’ or as the Society has written, What/How is to be undone?

All publications of the Society of Friends of the Virus can be found on the website

Society Against the State

Society for Cutting Up Men

Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Friends of the Text

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Société Anonyme

Society Must Be Defended

Postscript to Societies of Control

We begin with this list to map out trajectories of the invocations of ‘society’ which could be some reference points, in a sharp counterpoint to uncritical invocations of the term society, including the dubious ‘civil society’ notion which shall be familiar to readers of this text.

The exigency of the Society of the Friends of the Virus has been very precise, like the periods of 2001-2007, 2008-2019, this conjuncture, which we have sometimes referred to as the epoch of the virus, opens up to a critical shift in the way state and capital organize themselves in relation to the forces which stand opposed to their monopolization of the meaning and form life acquires in this century.

The attempt to find a way to struggle at every level of our lives and affirm what it is we are willing to do with our bodies in the conflicts of ‘interest’ (in all the variances and vagaries this word calls) that are laid ever more apparent before us.

Those who side with moderate steps and keeping things as they are, well, they will work to erase this moment as quickly as possible if they can. Turning it into a phenomena or event which they may later ‘reflect upon’ as yet another purloined letter for discourse produc- tion and ultimately oblivion. They will say, we were either mad or naive, unrealistic in assessing the powers of states and capital to recoup the gains of this entire viral affair. But this is the composure of impotence guised as intelligence.

We have lived long enough to see the fruits of these objectivities, which produce the most docile subjectivities. To shift our perspectives and our bodies in the lines where we see the faults, the fault lines of our deteriorated existences, and where desire wrests open paths which we have either been too fearful or too alone to embark upon.

Those paths do not lead to the existing institutions, they call for a multiplicity of strikes, exits, and this is why we intervene in this moment. Destroying the highly militarized states seems as improbable as voting our way through them. What this moment of stoppage opens is the possibility to take a deep collective breath, and not return to the states we have been living in and reproducing through our ‘participation’ and endless ‘activities of compliance’.

Our lives are structured like a performance organized by another who determines the rules and in which we are invited to ‘participate’. We know all about these forms of participation and they are as false as the pre-scripted roles and potential set of actions allotted. Everything is possible, in accordance with everything unquestionable.

To find our ways, we must discover new choreographies of our own collective un/making. Our names and biographies identify us and also stand in our way. We must take distance from ourselves to rediscover again the art of distances, most importantly from capital and state.

A l’amitié à venir,

The Society of the Friends …

Since March 2020 the Society has published four volumes:





Two supplements:

PERSPECTIVES Supplement Vol. 2

PERSPECTIVES Supplement Vol. 3

Five films:


And organized more than twenty assemblies with friends from 16 Beaver Group and Centre for Parrhesia:


On this occasion, we will be joined by some of the animators of the Society for a conversation about art, life, politics, strike and whatever questions you may have in relation to their published materials.