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Video-vaudeville No Avoiding the Apocalypse! Techno-Poetry Cooperative

Assuming Distance: Speculations, Fakes, and Predictions in the Age of the Coronacene
27 March – 8 August 2021


In the Early days of the First World War, not long before the opening of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire, Hugo Ball wrote that during such political perturbations, "All living art will be irrational, primitive, and complex; it will speak a secret language and leave behind documents not of edification, but of paradox."

Touching on a wide range of important social and professional issues that concern the artists involved, Techno-Poetry's phantasmagorical video vaudeville Let There Be an Apocalypse! is imbued with the spirit of Ball's "living art"—and contains formal references to dada cabaret practices.

The choice of vaudeville—the satirical genre where musical and dance performances and topical sketches play an important part—makes perfect sense within Techno-Poetry's practice, which encompasses activism along with art projects residing in the domain of utopian imagination and self-mockery, yet focused on real issues. The variety of formats they work in includes performances, performative talks and workshops, video, as well as manifesto songs (Let There Be an Apocalypse! features tracks from their recent album of the same name).

The vaudeville begins with four queer travesty characters meeting to discuss current issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its social, political, and psychological repercussions. In particular, they are interested in the question of social distancing, which they approach in the spirit of Giorgio Agamben's critical comments on the quarantine as a directive power procedure that disconnects people within society. The scene ends on an unanswered question. "Where do we seek refuge?" Offering their answers are invited "agents of the future"—today's activists speaking as their doubles from the future worlds made possible through their work in the present. Parallel to that, the storyline develops as a series of "redemption" exercises: conspirological discussions, magic rituals, and interactive healing practices, in which the audience is invited to take part. 

In the closing scene, the characters that open the performance reappear to announce the unhappy conclusion: let there be an Apocalypse! Whether this prophecy will come true—or, in Agamben's temporality of the "time that begins to end," whether it will continue to come true in the present—depends, Techno-Poetry believes, on our activities in the present.


The interdisciplinary Techno-Poetry Cooperative (Anastasia Vepreva, Anton Komandirov, Roman Osminkin, Marina Shamova) was founded in St. Petersburg in 2018. Performances include: Techno Poetry: How to Sing Together, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); Greenhouse, Shelter Festival, Helsinki (2018); Daily Briefing, SDVIG Studio of Performance Arts, St. Petersburg (2019); and Hands off the Vagina of Culture: The Benefits and Dangers of Censorship, Tak Sebe Festival, St. Petersburgn (2019). Group exhibitions and festivals include: Séance of Tenderness (Paris, 2018), Barents Spektakel (Kirkenes, Norway, 2018), Santa Clause is Against (Helsinki 2018, 2019), The above is an accurate account of my statement (Navicula Artis, St. Petersburg, 2019), Baltic Glory (Loviisa, 2019), Freie Tanz-und Theaterszene (Stuttgart, 2019), Art Prospect (St. Petersburg, 2019, 2020), and Paradistopia: Outlining Imaginary Communities (online, 2020). Techno-Poetry was among the organizers of a concert to support detained participants of Pride 2018 in St. Petersburg and of a reading to support the victims of domestic violence (PANDA Theater, Berlin, 2019). They took part in the marches Feminism is for Everyone and For a Law Against Domestic Violence (St. Petersburg, 2019). They have performed in Berlin, Kyiv, Moscow, Leipzig, St. Petersburg, and other cities. Techno-Poetry Cooperative were winners of Goethe-Institut's Culture in Motion program in 2020. They live and work in St. Petersburg.


Free admission

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