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1597 Seconds: A game by Arseny Zhilyaev and Asya Volodina

Bureau des transmissions
24–27 March 2019


Garage will play host to the premiere presentation of the role-play game 1597 Seconds which implies the modeling of an experience of an object inside different expositional systems. In April this year, the game will be also demonstrated at Bard College, New York.

The idea to create the game came to Arseny Zhilyaev during preparation for a talk at Bard College: “Colleagues suggested doing something more interactive than just a regular seminar, and this is when the conception of a role-play game came to me, where participants could on the one hand practice the feeling of the bodily as a thing, while on the other, experience how this feeling can be integrated into various relationship networks. Research at Bard College embraces the history of things, exposition design, and museology among other subjects: these are the themes closely connected to me and my practice as an artist. So, together with my co-author, game designer and dramaturge Asya Volodina, we eventually came up with a script for the the game 1597 Seconds”.

Participants will have to attend a training session at the Institute of Mastering Time (a name inspired by the book Mastering Time as the Main Task of Organization of Labor by the Russian philosopher of the first third of the twentieth century, Valerian Muravyov)—an organization with the mission to “enhance the historical continuum” in order to get closer to eternal life. The Institute is looking for employees among regular mortal beings, or “temporaries”. But mastering the technology of time management, i.e. learning how to move time backwards, speed it up, slow it down, and optimize in all possible ways, demands going through a series of tests. The first step on this way is a training session, where the players would have to cognize themselves as organized matter and undergo psychic transformations influenced by various historical situations. The better one learns to realize oneself as a thing, the easier it will be to control the process of in-depth time enhancement interconnected with the circulation of material processes. Participants concentrate on working with a time interval of around 26 minutes, or 1597 seconds, which is the approximate amount of time during which human brain is able to maintain highly intense activity without additional stimulation or interruption.

The game 1597 Seconds will be premiered at Garage before traveling to the US for a presentation in late April.

The event has been organized with the support of Contemporary Art Department of the Higher School Sreda obuchenia.


Asya Volodina (b. 1983, Moscow) is a game designer, artist, and playwright. She co-authored the promenade-theatre show Normansk at Meyerhold Centre, Moscow in 2014. She has been a member of Ladder to the Sky, Room 18, and Live Action Theatre among other groups. Since 2017, she has collaborated with artist Arseny Zhilyaev on role-play games. She lives and works in Moscow.

Arseny Zhilyaev (b. 1984, Voronezh) is an installation and video artist, whose main medium is exhibition itself. His projects explore the potential scenarios of contemporary art’s future history. He has had solo exhibitions at The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2012), Kadist, Paris and San Francisco (2014),  Winzavod CCC, Moscow (2017). Contributor to many group shows, including the 13th Lyon Biennial (2015), 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016), 11th Gwangju Biennial (South Korea, 2016), and 6th Thessaloniki Biennial (Greece, 2017). He has been awarded an Innovation Prize (Russia, New Generation category, 2010) and the Soratnik Prize (Russia, 2011, 2012). He is based between Moscow and Venice.


The game involves 3–4 mediators and 7 to 15 players.

Mandatory advance registration required.


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