Tag Archives: Alexei Penzin

The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 2 (Berlin)

The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 2
Thursday, March 7, to Saturday, March 9, 2013
ICI Berlin

An international array of philosophers, critical theorists, media theorists, art historians, architects, and artists will discuss the state of the mind and brain under the conditions of contemporary capitalism, in which these cognitive apparati have become the new focus of labouring. Like its predecessor, The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 1, this conference will investigate how the conditions of Semiocapitalism and Cognitive Capitalism have transformed the conditions of labour – specifically the fact that so much contemporary labour is immaterial, affective, and cognitive – and as a result detourned the role of emancipatory politics, art/architecture and education today. Might these new conditions also have lasting material ramifications for the brain and mind?

This conference elaborates upon many of the questions left unattended in Part 1. Questions such as: What is the future of mind in Cognitive Capitalism? Can a term such as Plastic Materialism describe the substantive changes in neural architectures instigated by this contingent cultural habitus? Is there such a thing as Cognitive Communism? Is designed space an agent or platform in the production of subjectivity and is parametrics complicit with its devices? How does artistic research create new emancipatory possibilities in opposition to the overwhelming instrumentalization of the general intellect in Semiocapitalism?

Participating contributors include: Armen Avanessian, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Ina Blum, Yann Moulier Boutang, Arne De Boever, Pascal Gielen, Deborah Hauptmann, Tom Holert, Sanford Kwinter, Maurizio Lazzarato, Abdul Karim Mustapha, Matteo Pasquinelli, Alexei Penzin, Sarah Rifky, John Roberts, Kerstin Stakemeier, Hito Steyerl, Liss C. Werner, Charles Wolfe

Program (PDF)

Time: 7–9 March 2013

Venue: ICI Berlin

Hosted by Warren Neidich, TU Delft School of Architecture, the ICI Berlin, Villa Aurora, Berlin, and The Office of Artistic Occupation, Los Angeles

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Where Has Communism Gone? A Learning Play (Open Call from Chto Delat)

Where Has Communism Gone? Open Call for Learning Play

POSTER COM GONE

OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS

Where Has Communism Gone?, a Learning Play initiated by Chto Delat as part of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin).

The process takes place between March 16 and March 23, 2013. You are invited to participate in a four-day seminar led by the artist collective Chto Delat, and develop and perform the collective learning play Where Has Communism Gone? as part of  the main program of FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin from 18–24 March 2013.

Using playwright and director Bertolt Brecht’s model of the learning play, Chto Delat invite 25 participants to collectively develop an educational didactic performance. Centered on the question “where has communism gone?” participants are asked to work on and articulate their own positions throughout the process of acquiring and advocating for their attitudes towards this theme. The seminar consists of four subsequent sessions of collective discussions-rehearsals, which culminate in the staging of a Brechtian learning play on Thursday, March 21, at 21:24.

Dates 

Seminar: Saturday, March 16 & Sunday, March 17, 12:00–19:00 
Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, March 20, 19:00–23:00
Rehearsal: Thursday, March 21, starting at 10:00
Learning Play: Thursday, March 21, 21:24

Involvement is limited to 25 participants. Participants must commit to full attendance for all five days’ activities, including seminar, rehearsal, and the staging of the learning play. Each participant receives an honorarium of 150 euros and a week-long pass for FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects.

In order to participate, please send a motivational statement to Dmitry Vilensky dmvilen@gmail.com and Annika Kuhlmann annika.kuhlmann@hkw.de. Annika can respond to all organizational questions, and can also be reached by phone at +49 30 39787 224.

*** The application deadline is Sunday, March 10, 2013 ***

Where Has Communism Gone?

Where has communism gone? This question refers, firstly, to Russian revolutionary writer Andrei Platonov. The hero of his novel Chevengur suddenly awakes in the middle of the night after a dream asking where socialism is, searching for it as if it were an object, a thing which supposedly belongs to him. Following the line of thought in this passage, socialism or communism is communicated as an object of desire, and this kind of desire, as Marxist political theorist Fredric Jameson says, has not yet found its Sigmund Freud or Jacques Lacan. By posing the question about communism, we aim to explore the nature of this political desire, which, in spite of the demise of what is called “real socialism” or “communist regimes,” is still persistent, at least in the field of contemporary theory and art.

We are used to the reality principle of one-dimensional liberal propaganda, according to which nothing can be better than the present state of things, which in fact means the neoliberal economy accompanied by the rhetoric of human rights and legal democracy. They say that communism was a utopian project that ended in disaster, with violence and totalitarianism, and the only thing we have left to do is to forget all hope for a better future for society and focus on our individual lives, to enjoy this eternal present, to use our possibilities and skills to succeed in working our way up a pyramid built of money, trampling the heads of others as we climb.

However, today, after decades of excessive ideological overproduction of the monstrosity of communism, a general anti-communist phobia has ended in a new disappointment. The liberal utopia, based on the notion of free individuals freely operating in a free market, was demolished by a global economic, political, and ecological crisis. From this perspective, all the debates about communism became valuable and actual again, not only with communism as a valuable experience from the past, but also as an alternative for the future.

The only problem is nobody really takes it seriously.

Neoliberal institutions easily give their money to any kind of creative and sophisticated critic of the present, taking for granted that all these debates are based on market exchange, and that all the ideas discussed have their own nominal values. The ghost of communism still wanders around, and to transform it into a commodity form seems a good way to finally get rid of it. Conferences and artistic events dedicated to the idea of communism go on one after another, speakers are paid or not paid, advertisement production machines function well, and the globe turns round as before.

But beyond this exhausting machinery of actualization and commodification, we still have as a potentiality this totally new desire of communism, the desire which cannot help but be shared, since it keeps in itself the “commons” of communism, the claim for togetherness, so ambiguous and problematic within the human species. This claim cannot be privatized, calculated, and capitalized since it exists not inside individuals, but between them, between us, and can be experienced in our attempts to construct this space between, to expose ourselves inside this “commons” and teach ourselves to produce it out of what we have as social beings.

We invite you to think, discuss, and live through these issues together at our seminar and try to find a form of representation for our debate.

—Chto Delat

During this seminar the platform is represented by Olga Egorova (Tsaplya), Nina Gasteva, Artemy Magun, Alexei Penzin, Natalya Pershina, David Riff, Oxana Timofeeva, Alexander Skidan, and Dmitry Vilensky.

About FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects

FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects consists of artworks, talks, discussions, rehearsals, and performances in various constellations of documents and prospects that offer a multitude of encounters with the public for negotiating the way of the world from 1989 to today, and thinking beyond. The seven-day period is guided by five currents that feature contemporary negotiations on Art Production, Infrastructure, and Insurgent Cosmopolitanism, with Dissident Knowledges contributions offering dynamic interventions into the ongoing program with artworks, performances, and statements. Finally, Learning Place operates alongside the full program involving students in workshops and inviting them to engage in the week of discussions.

Conceptualized by Maria Hlavajova and Kathrin Rhomberg in collaboration with Boris Buden, Boris Groys, Ranjit Hoskote, Katrin Klingan, and Irit Rogoff. FORMER WEST: Documents, Constellations, Prospects is a joint project by Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.

For the full program, complete list of contributors, and live streaming, as well as full project archive, please visit the FORMER WEST Digital Platform at www.formerwest.org.

FORMER WEST (2008–2014) is a long-term research, education, exhibition, and publication project initiated by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and aimed at a critical reinterpretation of post-1989, post-Cold War histories around an artistic imaginary of “formerness,” countering the persistent hegemonies of the so-called West within a global context.

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Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar (Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht)

Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar
Friday 2 July, 10:00 – Sunday 4 July, 10:00
Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, the Netherlands

The Jan van Eyck Academie is hosting Living Politically: A 48-Hour Communal Life Seminar. The Communal Life Seminar is an initiative of the Chto Delat collective and the Vpered Socialist Movement (Russia) as a response to the acute need to establish alternate forms of collectivity. The fundamental principle of this seminar is that its participants constitute a temporary community for the duration of the event. By combining research, creative work and daily living, they are transformed into a commune.

Living Politically will focus on the problem of how to combine theory and art with the militant political life. The Russian philosophers, artists and scholars organising this initiative have invited people from various branches of creative knowledge production, such as design, art, poetry and philosophy, to participate in the seminar.

During the seminar, participants will attempt to answer three questions: How are the practices of various disciplines and their professional production methods conditioned by the political stances and activist practices of artists and researchers? How do the collective appropriation and generalisation of specific scholarly, artistic and activist work shape new models of politicisation? Seminar participants will focus on what ‘living politically’ means for them. Which political categories do they invoke to make sense not only of their own work in research and art institutions, but also of their daily lives? Thus, one theme of the seminar will be the commonalities and differences between contemporary European and Russian types of political subjectivation. The programme includes lectures, performances, discussions and screenings.

Friday 2 July

Nikolay Oleynikov (Moscow)
Why obshezhitie?
— lecture introducing the context of “political/creative living” in Russia over the past decade

Pietro Bianchi (JVE)
The dark side of the communal
— presentation + discussion

Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya & Tsaplya)
Witness cabinet

franck leibovici (paris)
some musical techniques of political composition
— theoretical performance, collective performance: one would draw a strong link between processes of production of knowledge, systems of (musical, choreographic, scientific) notation and the nature of collectives which perform them. following john cage’s line, one would say that a score should be like the ideal representation of a society in which one would like to live. we will exercise during 48h.

Kirill Medvedev (Moscow)
Poetry as politics
— examples of political, civic and feminist poetry to show how radical work in poetry shapes the revolutionary political challenge

Elena Sorokina (Brussels)
Communism’s afterlife in contemporary art

Filipa Ramos & Andrea Lissoni (Milan/London)
Political action does not produce objects – Parades and the (re)contextualization of the individual subject
— how to insert in the question of Living-Politically a reflection on parades and their possibility to act, inter-act and trigger some new practices between single and collectivity; while trying at the same time to analyse the operations of recontextualization associated with the use of this practice in the context of visual art.

Dmitry Vilensky (St. Petersburg)
Making film politically
— the possibilities for collective work during the shooting and editing of films as well as familiarising participants with the historical background of this approach and the ways it is practically realised today

Alexei Penzin (Moscow)
Sleeping politically
— a nighttime lecture on sleep and the sleeping body as a limit of the rationalization of life in the context of late capitalism, on the relationship between sleep, wakefulness and power, as well as on awakening and political subjectivisation. He will also discuss some early Soviet utopian projects concerning sleep.

Chto Delat & Pietro Bianchi
— night screenings

Saturday 3 July

Elena Sorokina & franck leibovici
performing a document: aerobics reconception (featuring Elena Sorokina)
— In order to answer the question “what does performing a document mean?” we will do some gymnastics in the small hours.

Tzuchien Tho (JVE)
Math politics

Aaron Schuster (Brussels)
Politics of nature: Marxism and psychoanalysis, labour and sex

Oxana Timofeeva (JVE)
Political animal

franck leibovici
mini-opera for non-musicians
— collective performance – concert

Factory of Found Clothes (Gluklya & Tsaplya, Amsterdam/ St. Petersburg) with Andros Zins-Browne (JVE)
Loving-politically
— ballet-dance performance + discussion on relations: We would like to organise a kind of “witness cabinet”: each participant can have a private conversation with us about their problems in personal relations. After summarising all the models in our laboratory, we will find the problem which is common to everybody and based on this knowledge we’ll create a performance piece.

Katja Diefenbach (JVE)
Less than a thing: queer politics and the deconstruction of the fetish

Katja Diefenbach
— night screenings

CONTACT:
Madeleine Bisscheroux
Anne Vangronsveld
Public Programme and Events Coordinators

coordinator.events@janvaneyck.nl
www.janvaneyck.nl
t +31 (0)43 350 37 29
f +31 (0)43 350 37 99

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The Bologna Process and Struggles in the Transnational Space (Paris)

The Bologna Process, Transformations of the University, and Struggles in the Transnational Space
Paris meeting: Thursday, May 4 – 4pm – Paris 1-Tolbiac (Amphi K)

Participants:

Gigi Roggero (edu-factory)

Alexei Penzin (Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; Chto Delat)

Carlo Vercellone (Université Paris 1)

Judith Revel (Université Paris 1)

militants of Sud étudiant

militants of Italian university movement

www.edu-factory.org

www.sud-etudiant.org

www.euroalter.com/transeuropa/bologna-process/

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Where the West Ends? (Warsaw)

Where the West Ends?
A two-day seminar with Claire Bishop at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
within the framework of the FORMER WEST project
18 – 19 March 2010

The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw
ul. Pańska 3
00-124 Warsaw, Poland
+48 22 596 40 10
info@artmuseum.pl
http://www.artmuseum.pl

In the frame of the Former West project, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw will hold a two-day seminar focusing on art in the former Soviet Union and its immediate zone of influence after the transition of 1991.

The motivations for turning to the East (rather than to the ‘Former West’) are twofold, and tied to the specifically Polish context, where the Museum of Modern Art is based. The first concerns art critical frames of reference. Despite the West’s growing interest in art practices from this region, it is difficult adequately to map and describe these practices using Western artistic vocabularies, which seem insufficient and badly adapted to the post-socialist context. The second concerns points of identification. Since 1989, Eastern European artists have tended to adopt one of two polarised positions towards the West: on the one hand, expressing a strong affiliation or ‘natural’ adhesion to the West, and on the other hand, a complete detachment from or even denial of Western models.

Russian art in the post-transition period seems to be very relevant in this regard. Despite the dominant (and frequently colonial) character of Western culture, Russian art has rarely adopted Western models. As a significant but completely separate sphere of development, post-transition art of the former Soviet Union remains a somewhat unknown quantity: obscure, unclassifiable and somehow inaccesible. What are the main developments (artistically, theoretically, institutionally) in Russia since 1991? What parallels can be drawn to the Eastern European scene? Can the new critical terminologies recently developed there also speak to the situation in Eastern Europe?

The seminar therefore aims to map the liminal zones of the West and foreground key aspects of contemporary visual art and a discourse that the ‘West’ cannot adequately describe and account for using its existing terminologies. As such, it will provide an important counterpoint to research in the ‘former’ aspects of both East and West.

Speakers at the symposium include : Boris Groys, Ekaterina Degot, Viktor Misiano, Keti Chukhrov, David Riff, Alexei Penzin, Ilya Budraitskis, Edit Andras, Inke Arns, Sarah Wilson, Tomas Pospiszyl, Olga Bryulikvetska, Nadim Samman, Maciej Gdula

Programme
For the updated programme and reservations, please go to http://www.artmuseum.pl

Realized within the framework of FORMER WEST, a contemporary art research, education, publishing, and exhibition project (2008–2013), initiated and organized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, EU Culture Programme, European Cultural Foundation, and the City of Utrecht.

With the financial support by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland

For more information please visit: http://www.formerwest.org.

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Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria (Madrid)

(For the announcement in Spanish go here.)

imagen de Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria.
Melchor María Mercado, Álbum de Paisajes, Tipos Humanos y Costumbres de Bolivia.
Lámina 22. Carnaval, 1841-1869. Archivo y Biblioteca Nacionales de Bolivia, Sucre.

Principio Potosí. Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria
PUBLIC SEMINAR

February 4–5, 2010
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200
Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, s/n
28012 Madrid
Tel: (+34) 91 774 10 00
Free Entry


Marx describes primitive accumulation as the destruction of solidarity and power structures in traditional society as a consequence of the dynamics of exploitation triggered by capitalism. As Immanuel Wallerstein emphasizes, this does not entail a historical fact at the origins of capitalism, but persists in global society today in the same way it occurs at the origins of modernity. This condition defines a cyclical, traumatic process of expropriation and social disarticulation, which at the same time involves the mobilization of new, vital flows and complex processes of subjectification.

Principio Potosí, an exhibition curated by Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer and Andreas Siekmann (Museo Reina Sofía; Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and Museo Nacional de Arte and Museo de Etnografía y Folklore in La Paz), contends that modernity does not have it origins or foundation in rationalism and the Enlightenment’s promises of liberty, but in the process of expansion and exploitation initiated in the sixteenth century with the discovery of primordial wealth in colonial territory. The process instigated a mechanism of instrumentalizing the Other that in many ways is far from having ended. Even greater than Paris during the French Revolution or London during the industrial revolution, Potosí in the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries marks a paradigm of globalized modernity in its concentration of capital and machinery to produce hegemony. It constitutes a principle that has operated with continuous reterritorialization throughout history. This seminar, the first public presentation of Principio Potosí, will debate the foundations, transformations and continuity of the accumulation principle as key to understanding the relationships of domination and resistance, moving beyond arguments that have led debates on anti-globalization in the previous decade.

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Chto Delat in London/Alexei Penzei: “Under Suspicion”

First, an important announcement:

Dmitry Vilensky & Alexei Penzin from Chto Delat/What Is to Be Done?
Lecture: Tuesday, December 1st at 6.00 pm
Small Hall / Cinema (to the side of Loafers)
Richard Hoggart Building
Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

Organised by Marxism in Culture and the Micropolitics Research Group, Goldsmiths, and supported by the Open University.

Second, to give Londoners a taste of what they might be hearing at the December 1 lecture, we are reprinting here Alexei Penzin’s essay “Under Suspicion,” from a recent issue of our newspaper entitled Another Commons: Living/Knowledge/Action. Sadly, what Alexei wrote this past summer has only gained in relevance and timeliness since then.

Alexei Penzin: Under Suspicion

When we peruse the timeline of the “merry month of May” 2009 in Russia—a laconic chronicle of arrests, detentions of activists, intellectuals and artists, but also of protests against these actions of the authorities—many difficult questions arise. Of course, the fragmentary and brief comments given below do not claim to be a definitive diagnosis. The incomplete and sketchy quality of these comments is rather a part of the problem itself. A fuller analysis will be possible when there is a systematic understanding of the post-Soviet political experience, which for now is a thing of the future. 

1. In medias res

It is very difficult to understand what is going on in medias res, from the inside: these are events that are in the process of development, that affect us personally and assail us from all sides without allowing us to assume the stance of a dispassionate observer. These events affect many of us, sometimes in the literal, physical sense. The command “Hands against the wall!” A stunning blow to the head in a bus filled with people nabbed at a demonstration. Or, for example, the indescribably grotesque intrusion of a detachment of armed, shouting men during the showing of a Godard film at a peaceful leftist seminar. For about a year now the solidarity networks have been constantly delivering reports of new arrests, unlawful summonses for “discussions,” and beatings of activists. It is possible, however, that we should not be so focused on ourselves. The bad news concerns not only the minority of activists and intellectuals. The news also comes from those who are not involved in politics, education or research—from “average citizens.” The very texture of post-Soviet society in recent years has been steeped in anonymous, free-floating violence committed by the “forces of law and order.” Violence against civilians has become a kind of collateral damage, an excess of the existing system of political management. Sometimes this anonymous violence takes on personal and transgressive features. For example, in the person of a police officer who shoots at customers in a supermarket with the cold-bloodedness of a character in a computer game. Continue reading

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