Tag: Dmitry Vilensky

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, BUT NOT UNDISTURBED | Dmitry Vilensky & Joanna Warsza and Florian Malzacher

Discussion on the production of pandemic public sphere with contribution of Joanna Warsza and Florian Malzacher. Moderated by Dmitry Vilensky 
The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration  We have a situation here holds this online meeting on Wednesday 21 OCTOBER at 16:00 CET. Join us on Zoom platform by clicking on the link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88910935697 Meeting ID: 889 1093 5697

In last days it has become more then obvious, the pandemic is here to stay. A long winter ahead full of anxiety, solitude but also time to think and re-think. It is obvious to say that at the moment of pandemic the access to art has changed dramatically. It is not about lockdown when this encounter was almost completely impossible (the excuse to leave the flat for the meeting with art did not work). Performing arts are even in more trouble, since you can encounter art in intimacy, and it is so much more complicated with arts designed for creating assemblies.

What could be a new postcovid public sphere. Some people keep believing that it is a chance to build new relations based on care, celebration of reproductive work and mutual support. Others, in a deep pessimist way, predict that new reality could look more as a dystopia – with atomized individuals, full of fear, totally broken financially, psychologically and ethically, addicted to social media, when only online gallery showrooms survives. 

Most likely we can expect that future reality stays, as a hybrid of this opposite scenarios and we – art workers, could contribute to the proliferation of certain models. Those of us who criticize and attack the art system as it used to be, now need to show a courage of finding a way out and despite all failure try to create a new situation which help us to move forward 

Let’s start this discussion with a very simple question – can you imagine any art events which people will join even if they feel certain hygienic insecurity? What could be a role of public art in a new formation of the commons?  What would be art’s role in over-coming the isolation, the fear and taking care more about the mental health? How to go on… since we have to, but we can not go on undisturbed… 


Joanna Warsza is a Program Director of CuratorLab at Konstfack University of Arts in Stockholm, and an independent curator interested in how art functions politically and socially outside the white cubes. She was the Artistic Director of Public Art Munich 2018, curator of the Georgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale and associate curator of the 7th Berlin Biennale among others. During the spring of 2020 together with Övül Ö. Durmusoglu she co-initiated “Die Balkone: Life, Art, Pandemic and Proximity” in the windows and balconies of Berlin’s Prenzlauerberg where they both live. They are currently preparing the third edition of the Autostrada Biennale in Kosovo for summer 2021. 

Florian Malzacher is an independent performing arts curator, dramaturge and writer. 2013 – 2017 he was artistic director of Impulse Theater Festival (Germany), 2006 – 2012 co-programmer of steirischer herbst festival (Austria).

MEETING WITH THE SOCIETY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE VIRUS | Dmitry Vilensky & The 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 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84228138309

On 22 of March the co-initiators of 16 Beaver project 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 propogation 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 www.centreparrhesia.org

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.


Image from @Reco Steemit.com

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting is on Thursday July 16 at 19:00 CEST. Facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky, with Oxana Timofeeva.
register here

Today provoked by pandemic situation we hear more and more often different proposals for establishing Universal Basic Income (UBI). The UBI is often presented as the only measure which could save human life in front of growing precarity and forthcoming competitions with AI and robots. 

As correctly and precisely mentioned by previous panel of IRI:

it is a necessary condition in order to rethink our extractivist ecological model, to correct many race and gender asymmetries and, last but not least, to change the art world’s present neoliberal structure. UBI must be seen as a tool to open up new subjective spaces, alternative to the dominating entrepreneurial individualism and focused instead on commons and care. 

At the moment looks like that some affluent societies could come closer to implement this measures not at universal/global level but at their national proximity – regulated by local governments and national agencies. 

If we look back, we could discover that something similar to BI was already existed – in the West it was called welfare system, in the socialist countries it was a system of all-embracing social support and exchange of basic work/services for basic wage covering basic housing, basic food and basic health care. 

I think that we should analyses what is basic? 

Within welfare state it was pretty clear that bureaucracy has an expert power to calculate how many calories one should consumer a day, how often one need to new underwear, how many sq. meters should be sufficient for one person, what kind of medical services should stay accessible and at which quality level. So, it did not differ much from the situation when one speaks about regulation of prison’ population or orphanages. 

In general we are demanding the return to some bio-political regulations which right now sounds like a golden age of humanity which was later kind of annihilated by the assault of neo-liberalism. 

But we definitely not returning – we reconsider this radical survival strategy in completely new political situation. And we should stay sensitive to this new challenges. 

To recognize them more precisely we suggest to reconsider the BI through the concept of the gift. Right now young generation do not remember that the topic of the gift economy was the most fashionable in artistic and intellectual discourse during the nineties. Jean Baudrillard (after Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille and some other anthropologists) in his work differentiate between the symbolic realm and the realm of signs and signification. According to his ideas “signs can be exchanged like commodities; symbols, on the other hand, operate quite differently: they are exchanged, like gifts, sometimes violently as a form of potlatch”. And he warns us that contemporary society more and more often converting this “symbolic” element into commodified signs. This we could watch very clearly in the tendencies of art world. 

Anthropologist Marcel Mauss studied the notion of the gift, particularly the notion of the “hau” – the invisible energy emanating from social relations which keeps valuable objects in circulation – to imagine a socialist state or rather commons, based on non-commodified and generalized reciprocity permeating all social relations. 

According to Georges Bataille, there are two types of economies: the general and the restricted one. Restricted economies are human activities subordinated to the production, accumulation, and growth of individuals, households, states, etc. The general, or planetary economy is the one of the non-productive expenditure. In nature, it is presented by the sun which gives light and warmth to all living beings without ever receiving anything back. In case of humanity, the general economy becomes the gift economy. How does the gift economy relate to the contemporary condition of total capitalist alienation of labor, and especially artistic labor? What is the connection between labor as our essential activity, and the gift?

So we would like to suggest to look deeper what the idea of gift means nowadays and see if we could re-approach the BI – as a new form of unconditional gift system. And as we know that any gift is a manifestation of sovereign power it imposes a certain rules of exchange – putting someone into position of debt. Gifts are not innocent and to operate inside gift economy one need to acquire a special knowledge and type of behavior – then we could reclaim a gift – basic income not as a basic compensation to temporary save our life (and as a general recognitions of our humanness) but as a precondition for plenitude of living in commons. 

So we would suggest the basic questions in relation of the transformation of art system in connection with possibility of establish BI 

1) If artists receive BI (in its minimal or utopian version) as a kind of a “gift” should they consider their artistic manifestation as a gift to society and do not demand additional remuneration? How do we combine BI and new market regulations which keeps competition afloat? 

2) With implementation of BI the old dream which haunting art world might come true: everyone becomes an artist and do not need a special institutional recognition. Would BI diminish a professional approach to art and undermine the difference between professional and amateurish approach? 

3) Would artist with BI need art system at all or they manage to establish their own system of the distribution of artistic practice – making it more local, more social and convivial?   

4) The implementation of BI could be hardly imagined practically at global scale. Like industrial revolutions it could start from the most affluent countries and then (hopefully) spread around globe. How could we soften the growing inequalities between the artists with BI and those who do not have any support? What kind of international structures of redistribution we might need? 

5) If we consider BI not just as a gift, but more as a dole could it be particular “poisoned” for the artists which system put in the position of returning gift in a form of “welcomed” withdrawing from work and from any additional responsibility of the cultural institutions?


Oxana Timofeeva is a Professor of the Centre for Practical Philosophy “Stasis” at the European University at St. Petersburg, leading researcher at Tyumen State University, member of the artistic collective “Chto Delat?” (“What is to be done?”), deputy editor of the journal “Stasis”, and the author of books History of Animals (Maastricht: Jan van Eyck, 2012; Moscow, 2017; London: Bloomsbury, 2018), and Introduction to the Erotic Philosophy of Georges Bataille (Moscow: New Literary Observer, 2009). She is also author of numerous contributions to e-flux journal and other art magazines.

Recommended readings:

The Case Against a Basic Income by DANIEL ZAMORA

David Graeber on basic income 

Can a Universal Basic Income rid the world of bullshit jobs?

THE ART CARE AND CARE ABOUT ART | Dmitry Vilensky & Janna Graham

Photo Catastrophes, performance at MUAC by Chto Delat

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting is on Thursday July 9th at 19:00 CEST. Facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky, with Janna Graham.
register here [registration open until Wednesday July 8th at 12:00 CEST]

The questions for the assembly:

  1. The practices of care do not need a critical apparatus. Aiming for good and wellbeing – they themselves become an unconditional good. Can we care critically, or can we criticize with care?
  2. How can we formulate the good of art and how will it differ from the immediate humanitarian benefit of caring for life in general – the reproductive labor?
  3. How to build relationships of equality in a situation of care?
  4. Your favorite art projects, which is based on the practices of care?
  5. Many art institutions in their recent statements speak about their priority of caring for artists in their programs. What manifestations of institutional care do we need to continue our work in art?
  6. Practices of caring can be considered as part of the practices of the participatory and community based art with their old dilemma – to do “for” or to do “with/together.” Is it possible to combine these positions?
Continue reading “THE ART CARE AND CARE ABOUT ART | Dmitry Vilensky & Janna Graham”


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images – source online new CNN Channel 3000

We open the first appointment of the School of Mutation with the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting on Thursday July 2nd at 19:00 CET is facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky with choreographer Alexandra Pirici.
register here [registration open until Wednesday July 1st at 12:00 CEST]

Today all of sudden we happen to live in the moment when the burden of historical injustice become unbearable. These situations usually pop up at the moment of revolution or popular uprising and it demonstrates how the system of power is constructed and still rooted in the old system of oppression. The culture and art always have always been pleading a leading role in forming a historical block and , establishing a certain image of power which could inspire, scare and glorify certain dominant narratives. 



October 31st, November 1st and 2nd at Athens School of Fine Art (ASFA) > full programme below


We are a group of artists, curators, scholars and activists who work together to develop research, enquires, knowledge and practices – decolonised, anti-capitalist and non-anthropocentric –  with the aim of prefiguring and enacting life after capitalism because



With the collaboration of the Solidarity School Mesopotamia and the Open School Piraeus, the Institute of Radical Imagination created a space to reflect on practices of radical pedagogy and set up together with solidarity schools for social activation and political prefiguration of education in the commons.



The second gathering of the Institute of Radical Imagination takes place from 28th of May to 2nd of June 2018 at the Ingobernable, Madrid.

The five-days event in Madrid will consist in two parallel sets of events: a MASTER in Urban Commons, organized by La Ingobernable in collaboration with IRI and involving various Spanish urban commons and social centres and a three-day workshop about the Institute of Radical Imagination’s forms of governance, sustainability, future projects and potential collaborations with social centres and urban commons across Europe’s south, the Mediterranean and the global South.