Monthly Archives: September 2008

Our Friends and Us: A Gluklya and Tsaplya Film Retrospective at Rodina Cinema Centre

Our Friends and Us: A Retrospective of Films by Gluklya and Tsaplya at the Rodina Cinema Centre (Saint Petersburg)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 9:00 p.m.

  • Three Mothers and a Chorus. Russia, 2007. 32 minutes
  • Trilogy: The Triumph of Fragility; Immersion; In Memory of Poor Liza. Russia/Sweden, 2002. 13 minutes 32 seconds
  • Crimson Sails. Russia/Switzerland, 2005. 20 minutes
  • Sheep and Dreams (Gluklya and Kirill Shuvalov). Russia/Great Britain, 2008. 27 minutes

Thursday, 2 October 2008, 9:00 p.m.

  • Perestroika Songspiel: Victory over the Coup (with Dmitry Vilensky and Nikolai Oleinikov). Russia, 2008. 27 minutes (Premiere!)
  • Zoo. Russia, 2008. 20 minutes (Premiere!)
  • Our Friends and Us. Gluklya and Tsaplya’s multimedia narrative about their art, history, and collective art making. Followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Rodina Cinema Centre. 12, ulitsa Karavannaya. Saint Petersburg, Russia. Continue reading

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Chto Delat Weekly Reader No. 1

A selection of articles from our virtual magazine rack. This week’s topics include: the US/world financial crisis and the leftist response to it; the showdown between Bolivia’s leftist government and rightist insurrectionists; the latest provocative action by Moscow’s War Group; controversies amongst the Russian left over the war with Georgia; an obituary of American leftist Peter Camejo; another effort to resist infill construction in Petersburg; the politics of climate change; the “human strike”; and Jesse James, rightist terrorist.

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New Special Issue: Knowledge in Action

Knowledge in Action, a special joint issue of Chto Delat and the Petersburg Street University is now online!

This issue presents a critical selection of activists today who are consciously continuing the tradition of autodidactic initiatives in direct actions. We would like to place this new local experience of today into the international context of independent educational structures and their history.

The issue features articles by and about the Street University, the War Group, DSPA, the New SDS, Copenhagen Free University, and Universidad Nomada, and inspiring graphics by Max Neroda and R.E.P.

Read it online or download it here.

In the coming week, we’ll also be posting articles from the new issue in this blog.

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Don’t Purchase a Better World, Fight for a Better World (Oliver Ressler)


A billboard on gated communities in Warsaw

By Oliver Ressler

Gated communities seem to emerge primarily in countries with big differences in income among people and where governments show no real effort in redistributing wealth. Post-socialist Poland and especially Warsaw seem to be very fertile grounds for social disintegration and segregation, which leads to the development of gated communities at an incredible pace. For people who choose to live in gated communities, the reduction of uncertainty and disturbing factors seem to be of tremendous importance.

The billboard (size: 504 x 238 cm) shows a typical façade of a gated community from the perspective of someone standing in the street. It shows the fences, the cabin of the security guards, and the posh architecture. The irritating feature of the building is that most windows are broken. The broken windows can be seen as a rupture of the imagined stability and safety of a gated community. The images of broken windows and the graffiti have been photographed in poor and abandoned areas in Warsaw. The graffiti on the building reads: “Donkeys from right to left tell lies to people.” Through this montage, the photo brings together the living areas of the haves and the have-nots. Associations with an uprising or a militant struggle may be evoked. On the top of the billboard, the Polish text in uppercase (NIE KUPUJ LEPSZEGO SWIATA, WALCZ O LEPSZY SWIAT) declares: Don’t purchase a better world, fight for a better world.

The billboards were created as part of the Passengers Festival in Warsaw, September 2008, curated by Kuba Szreder and Zuzanna Fogtt.


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Free Babi Badalov!

Babi Badalov is an old friend of many of Chto Delat platform’s Petersburg members. From the late eighties until the late nineties, Babi was one of the brightest figures on the Petersburg independent art scene, especially that part of it that centered on the artists squat at Pushkinskaya 10. When the squat was closed, in the late nineties (to be replaced by an “official” alternative arts center with much less room for artist studios and independent creativity), Babi fell on hard times, eventually returning to his home country of Azerbaijan. He continued to pursue his art there, although under quite different circumstances. Not only is Babi a radical artist in the personal sense of the word, he is also openly gay. Faced with a society that was growing both less tolerant of political dissent and becoming more socially conservative, Babi found a new home in Cardiff, Wales. There he has become fully integrated into the local arts community. He has also become the focus of a spirited campaign, led by No Borders South Wales, to support his asylum application and, in the last few months, after his application was rejected, to resist his repatriation to Azerbaijan.

On September 16, Babi was detained during his weekly sign-in at the UK Border Agency and taken to the Rumney Police Station. On Thursday morning, Babi was transferred to the Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre. It has now been learned that British authorities are planning to deport him to Azerbaijan on Saturday, on an Azerbaijan Airlines flight from London to Baku. Continue reading

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Opposition Newspapers Shelved by Printers (St. Petersburg Times)

St. Petersburg Times
Opposition Newspapers Shelved By Printers
By Sergey Chernov
Staff Writer

A newspaper that was to have been handed out during the March for the Preservation of St. Petersburg, which takes place this Saturday, has been rejected by two printing plants and will not appear in printed form, the democratic party Yabloko said in a news release on Wednesday. Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities are looking for evidence of “extremism” in two leftist newspapers, which had their print runs seized late last month.
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A World Where Many Worlds Fit (Taipei Biennial 2008)

A section on the counter-globalisation movement for the Taipei Biennial 2008
Curated by Oliver Ressler

The trope “A World Where Many Worlds Fit” goes back to Subcommandante Marcos, when talking about the Zapatistas’ struggles in the Lacandonian Rainforest in Mexico. Since their uprising in 1994 the Zapatistas have been fighting for a less hierarchical, autonomous world with more options to offer in democratic decision-making processes. They fight against an existing world, which calls itself “democratic,” but should rather be seen as a form of sophisticated oligarchy that functions especially in favour of the interests of the political and economic elites. In other parts of the world the stick that punishes people who envision another world is usually not so visible. But this can change suddenly when those in power assemble in the framework of the summits of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Economic Forum (WEF) or the G8. Though the decisions made by politicians and business leaders at such meetings affect the lives of all people in the world, the negotiations take place hidden from the public gaze, behind fences and under massive security with the protection of thousands of riot police. These gatherings have become a symbol for the undemocratic and illegitimate formation of global capitalism. Continue reading

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