As part of Garage’s contemporary art auditorium on New Holland island, the lecture cycle Where am I? Experimentations in Spatial, Historical and Physical Orientation on Post-Soviet Territory has been designed by Dmitry Vilensky, curator at the School for Engaged Art “Chto Delat.”
The School for Engaged Art is an independent education initiative launched by the collective Chto Delat. It has operated for the past five years in St. Petersburg, having successfully prepared four courses of students, many of whom already play an important role in contemporary art in St. Petersburg and beyond. In 2017, the project was shortlisted for the Visible Prize for its unique contribution into the development of new forms of radical pedagogics in the field of art.
The current cycle concentrates on the history and evolution of the post-Soviet space, aiming to answer what stands behind the specificity of local art practices and how it is possible to not only activate various phenomena inherited from the liberating Soviet project—but also to comprehend how much our contemporaneity is penetrated by the repressive and archaizing policies of the past in the circumstances of a new “cold war”, the growth of right-wing conservatism and nationalism, and the collapse of the neoliberal globalization. These subjects are equally relevant for cultural creators of the new generation who have never experienced what living in the Soviet period felt like. This generation has to take responsibility for the territory of their residence which appears to have been formed by multiple specific policies inherent in the post-Soviet model of development.
The guest speakers will share their thoughts and studies of the politics of physicality, fellowship practices, the specifics of de-colonial development, and the problems dealing with the formation of conceptual art practices, as well as diverse aspects of the Soviet cultural heritage which anticipated a lot of today’s theories. Even though these and other issues were thoroughly researched by a number of noticeable authors in the late 1990s– early 2000s, a request to resume this work comes into foreground again today, in order to navigate more accurately through our everyday and find one’s own place in the new, constantly changing global world.