Mini Symposium Open Code: Why Artist and Researchers Publish Manuals Instead of Performances and Articles

11 Apr 2021
Garage Auditorium
Mini Symposium Open Code: Why Artist and Researchers Publish Manuals Instead of Performances and ArticlesMini Symposium Open Code: Why Artist and Researchers Publish Manuals Instead of Performances and Articles


From contemporary dance and theatre to humanities research—manuals, lists of exercises, and step-by-step instructions are increasingly used instead of performances and articles. Open Code symposium offers a platform for discussion to practitioners who use this approach in different areas.

In 2020 a few publications in the format of guideline manuals were released in the Russian language, including Experiments in Choreology, or Where the Soviet Gesture Has Led Us by dance artists Daria Plokhova and Alexandra Portyannikova that concluded their Field Research project at Garage; Why Should We Talk to Dead White Men in Our Writings? based on the Research&Write seminar at The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; and Gender Studies in Theatre: Methodology by theatre scholars and practitioners Olga Tarakanova and Darya Yuryichuk.

“These works have been produced through collaborations with an even larger number of people,” says Open Code curator Olga Tarakanova. “They are reports as well as manuals; they invite the reader to repeat what has been done as well as invent new practices. Reading Experiments in Choreology helped me formulate Manifesto2  for the theatre workshop Extended Day Group that I co-curate at Yermolova Theatre. At Extended Day Group, we practice theatre—we do not produce performances. We believe that by doing theatre, we learn and practice various forms of thinking, writing, and communicating. Knowledge on how to stage a performance is also knowledge on how to connect to each other, distribute or defy power, or take responsibility. How does one share that knowledge? We would like to discuss this question with other practitioners who work with the methodology format.”

Participants will discuss the genre of the manual (Is it a logical development of the ideas of art research and art as production of knowledge or a response to the crisis of contents in conventional art and university education?), the influence of open access manuals on the economic independence of artists and researchers and the possibility of creating a space for the discussion of methodological studies and critique.

The symposium will be interactive: the speakers will not only tell the audience about their methodology writings but share their practices, including physical.




Olga Tarakanova will present several theoretical arguments behind the methodological turn—including by performance scholar Richard Schechner and art theorist Stephen Wright. She will analyze several examples and explain her own interest in methodological writing in art and research projects in Russia in 2021.


Why Should We Talk to Dead White Men in Our Writings?

Polina Kolozaridi and Natasha Vinokurova run a series of seminars “on the life, pain, and joy of researchers and their research projects” at the library of The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. Based on their meeting devoted to the rethinking of quotations—one of the pillars of academic research practice—they have published a zine, where every theoretical text on generally accepted or alternative knowledge was followed by a practical exercise. When does a non-academic practice require citation norms and tools, and when can “irresponsible” quoting be a stronger and more respectful choice?


Extended Day Group

Extended Day Group at Yermolova Theatre, curated by Sergey Okunev and Olga Tarakanova, produce studies for plays. Following each two-month study, curators publish a research summary presenting their intentions, the history of participants’ actions and ideas, as well as the methods used and the questions that arose in the process, which could be helpful to other theatre creators. But if, as well as the production of plays, theatre is a practice of building a complex relationship within a group—which of the methods and questions from the lab could be applied to different institutional areas?


Coffee Break


Experiments in Choreology

Daria Plokhova and Alexandra Portyannikova (Isadorino Gore dance cooperative) describe their book Experiments in Choreology, or Where the Soviet Gesture Has Led Us as “an instruction, a game, an archive, a protocol, and a contemporary dance score.” The book is based on the findings of Isadorino Gore’s laboratory that studied the archival documents of the Choreology Laboratory of the State Academy of Artistic Sciences. What does an archive become if one assumes the approach suggested by the artists? Which other archives—and other forms of knowledge removed from us—can be approached in the same way?


General discussion

The general discussion will be based on the symposium’s talks. Are lists of exercises a sign of democratization or profanation? Can manuals be harmful, and if so, how can one prevent that? Are there examples that set the standard in this genre? When should a work finish with an exhibition or an article and when with a manual, or do they always complement each other? How can an environment be created encouraging readers to go beyond mere repetition and add to the methodology or critique it?

And, most importantly, can we imagine an art (or another type of) institution that would completely renounce work behind closed doors interspersed with review exhibitions and commit to engaging the audience in the production, testing, and critique of skills, rather than knowledge?



Olga Tarakanova is the curator of the laboratory Extended Day Group at Yermolova Theatre, artist and critic, co-author of performances Locker Room Talk, Cavities of Capitalism, and Horrible Children, as well as of the zine Gender Studies in Theatre: Methodology. She writes on theatre and dance for Nozh, The Village, The Blueprint, and Teatralia and runs the Telegram channel post/postdrama.


Sergey Okunev is a director, actor, co-curator of the laboratory Extended Day Group. He works at Yermolova Theatre in Moscow.



Extended Day Group is a laboratory that has been active at Yermolova Theatre in Moscow in the season 2020/2021. In the Fulltime section, invited directors present five performance studies and research reports on their making. In the section Freelance, independent teams selected through open call organize single interdisciplinary events.


Founded by Sasha Portyannikova and Dasha Plokhova in 2012, dance cooperative Isadorino Gore explores and practices contemporary dance, creates site-specific performances, collaborates with cultural institutions across the country, and actively disseminates information and knowledge about contemporary dance in Russia. Recent performances include Cocoon (a performative response to Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman, installed on Garage Square throughout the exhibition Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, 2015); PUST* (interdisciplinary project; ZKM Karlsruhe, 2016–2017); Fakultativ chuvstvennosti (“Sensuality Elective”) (SDVIG Studio of Performative Arts, St. Petersburg, 2017); and Zaryadye… Gift Return (Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Moscow, 2018).


Polina Kolozaridi is an internet scholar, coordinator at the Club of Internet and Social Enthusiasts, lecturer at National Research University Higher School of Economics.



Research&Write is a seminar series at The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences devoted to the life, pain, and joy of researchers and their research projects. During meetings, participants discuss how their research is organized, how and why they write scholarly texts, which role theory and methodology play in their work as well as where the conflicts in contemporary scientific worlds reside and how they are solved. Along with The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, the seminar is open to researchers from other institutions. 


Andrey Teslya is a historian of Russian philosophy and social thought of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.





Natasha Vinokurova is project coordinator at the library of the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (Shaninka), a co-author of the zine Why Should We Talk to Dead White Men in Our Texts?





Andrey Manik is a director, member of the Extended Day Group laboratory. Director of performances staged at Sovremennik Theater (Moscow), Lunacharsky Sevastopol Academic Russian Drama Theater, and the Svyatoslav Richter Memorial Apartment (Moscow).




Natalya Zaytseva is a playwright and director. Author of the plays Siri, Abuse, Mushrooms, and others. She is the author of the Hot Ultramodernity podcast and editor of the website She Is an Expert.



Admission is free with advance registration.

The event includes active interaction between the speakers and the audience.


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