Chto Delat: The Lesson on Dis-Consent

The Lesson on Dis-Consent

This performance was recorded at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden on October 28, 2011.

This piece continues the series of musicals (songspiels) written and produced by Chto Delat and composed by Mikhail Krutik over the past three years.

The occasion for this latest work was the Chto Delat solo show at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. We could not pass up this opportunity to engage in dialogue with the legacy of Bertolt Brecht, who premiered two works, Mahagonny-Songspiel (1927) and The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent (1929), at the new German chamber music festival in this same city. We wanted to produce a new piece in direct dialogue and debate with the work of this great master.

The piece is based on a critical reading of a number of texts produced by the anti-psychiatry movement, which emerged in the late sixties and early seventies in the Europe and US, especially those of the well-known Socialist Patients’ Collective in Heidelberg. In our performance, a “chorus of patients” that has been invited to appear at the exhibition opening becomes engaged in dialogue with the audience.

It is also noteworthy that Baden-Baden is a city with deep historical ties to Russia, and even today it is frequented by members of the Russian elite, who go there to relax and seek medical treatment. We thought it important to critically reflect this state of affairs: thus, one of the characters in our performance is a “typical” Russian businessman, who argues with the chorus and voices the values of this new class.

Our work critiques the modern concept of a healthy lifestyle and discusses how we might radicalize it and “turn illness into a weapon.”

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The Lesson on Dis-Consent will be featured at the Ante-Exhibition on May 5–6, 2012, at the Kirkgate Centre in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

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Filed under art exhibitions, contemporary art, film and video, political repression

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