Global Congress of Post-Prostitution (58’) is a “black” comedy written by Keti Chukhrov and staged by Guram Matskhonashvili, which premiered at the festival Steirischer Herbst in Graz in September 2019 (curators Ekaterina Degot, Dominik Müller). It is performed in English.
The play evolves in the city of Zugdidi (western Georgia) in the form of an International Mock Congress on “post-prostitution” as a fictitious field of study. It exposes various forms of domination (including sexual ) by the geopolitically superior over the inferior.
The inhabitants of this small, impoverished post-Soviet town hope to give upgrade their lives by engaging with the most advanced contemporary theory and inviting its hottest Western stars. The play takes aim at the absurdly pretentious philosophizing and patronizing tone of the global art-theory stars, revealing the obscene, cruel, and violent backstage behind the emancipatory aspirations of the intellectual elite. The sarcastic mock conference takes a dangerous turn when its characters exploit one another in a way that is only possible in a world where prostitution is everywhere.
The discussion will explore the dark backstage of the emancipatory discourse and global art’s promiscuous Real. It will touch upon the reasons why the play disturbed people from the art world, revealing the things no one previously dared say. The speakers will discuss how high-flown emancipatory theories clash with local post-Soviet interpretations. And why progressive aspirations to attract the periphery into the global context end up trampling local dignity. Is it truly emancipatory to label the squalid forms of sex work as liberating? And why does contemporary progressive theory so often glorify modes of work with so many atrocious underpinnings?
The discussion will feature author of the play Keti Chukhrov, philosopher and theorist of psychoanalysis Aaron Schuster, art theorist and political thinker Angela Dimitrakaki and art historian and psychoanalyst Gleb Napreenko. Moderator: Ekaterina Inozemtseva is a senior curator at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.
Director: Guram Matskhonashvili
Stage design and choreography: Lana Kavrelishvili
Assistant Director: Lasha Shanidze
Performers: Beka Goderdzishvili, Paata Inauri, Nato Kakhidze, Keti Khitiri, Nino Koridze, Irakli Kvergelidze, Nata Murvanidze, and Niara Tchitchinadze
Montage and subtitles: Adel Mohaghegh
Translation of text excerpts from Russian to English: Ainsley Morse