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We're a team of eight artists, curators and critics with a broader network of art professionals on the post-soviet, post-communist and diasporic spaces. With our ability to grasp, to describe and to invert the sensable, we might be your best collaborator.

How to contact us

Mission

 

TransitoryWhite is a journal of overlapping and intermittent discourses of the local and global artistic periphery. Launched in 2017 as an association of curators, art specialists and artists from Eastern Europe and Central Asia living in Berlin, London and Vienna, the project aimed to create an intersectional platform for discussing decolonization, neoliberal post-traumatism and the possibility of a dispersive view of the so-called post-communist world.

Since 2019, the platform has also operated in the trajectories of migrant and post-displacement discourse, expanding its activities from the geographical pole "East" to the global.  Thus, TransitoryWhite emphasizes the productive interaction between different multitudes rather than dualities. 

Crucial to TransitoryWhite of is furthermore, the representation of artists and theoreticians from with different identities and fantasies about future, as an opposition to the accumulating national discourse. We're dedicated to exploring transnational visions within and on the borders.

 TransitoryWhite understands white as a metaphor for coloniality, as a white, self-contained exhibition space where the hierarchy of discourses and images is defined from the beginning. In contrast, we turn to White Noise - a signal, constant disturbance, cacophony, turbulence, restlessness, fluctuating and transiting our perspectives all the time.

Contributors

Laura Arena

Laura Arena is a Level 3 Reiki practitioner certified and licensed in the state of New York. She's a graduate of the Art of Energetic Healing School located in Manhattan with spiritual teacher and master healer Suzy Meszoly. Next to being a Level 3 Reiki practitioner, Laura is a multidisciplinary artist, activist, designer, and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. Arena’s work encompasses photography, video, installation, writing, and social interventions with a focus on storytelling, human rights causes, gameplay, race, and identity. She has exhibited in galleries and festivals worldwide and has participated in events in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Arena has attended residencies and workshops in Greenland, Iceland, Romania, Hungary, Palestine, Turkey, and the United States. 

In 2021 she will be mapping the Chakras of Berlin as an artist in resident at Z/KU (Center for Art and Urbanistics).

Read her article: CHAKRAS OF TBILISI

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist. Born in Kazakhstan, she grew up as a so-called Russian-German in the south of Germany. After spending years of total assimilation she developed a strong interest in her cultural roots. Several long travels and stays took her to Easter-Europe over Russia to Central-Asia. Thereby she started to focus more on those regions also as art historian and journalist. She lives and works in Berlin. 

Read her articles and interviews: ON THE LOOP

Anna Kamay

Anna Kamay is an independent curator and cultural manager hailing from Yerevan, Armenia. Anna organizes community-based art projects with the goal of using public space and art to meet local needs and manages Nest Artist Residency and Community Center at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Yerevan.

Read her article: JUGGLING DINOSAURS, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Ira Konyukhova

Ira Konyukhova is an artist, writer, curator, feminist activist and the founder of TransitoryWhite. In her practice, she explores the connection between female sexuality, pop-resilience, death as well as colonial technological practices. As an artist, her works have been presented on various international festivals and exhibitions, including DocLisboa, Athens Biennale, Teneriffa Espacio del Arte, Exground Film Festival e.t. Her latest article on the early 2000s Russian lesbian stars T.a.T.u. And their influence on queer politics has been recently published by Pop-Zeitschrift by University Siegen. Ira was a grantee of BS Projects Artist-in-Residence scholarship Programm and lives and works in Berlin.

Read her articles and interviews: INTERVIEW MIT CHINARA MAJIDOVA, INTERVIEW MIT SAMVEL SAGHATELIAN, THERE IS SEX AFTER SOVIET UNION!, FAIG AHMED, INTERVIEW WITH ELENE ABASHIDZE, INTERVIEW WITH ANNA VAHRAMI

 

Victoria Kravtsova

Victoria Kravtsova has studied International Relations in St. Petersburg and Berlin. In Berlin she is active in NGO projects in Eastern Europe, co-organizing seminars and exchange programs in the fields of environment, human rights, gender equality and civic education. Victoria receives a scholarship from Heinrich Böll Foundation and is engaged in writing her thesis “Between the ‘posts’, out of the void” where she traces the travels of the contemporary feminist discourses to and from Central Asia.

Read her articles and interviews: EMBRACE YOUR ANTITHESIS, WANDERING POETICS OF CENTRAL ASIAN MESTIZAS, WHERE THE ROSES GROW, Interview with Madina Tlostanova Part I and  Part II

Daria Prydybailo

Daria Prydybailo is a curator, researcher, founder of the TRSHCHN platform and co-founder of the NGO Art Matters Ukraine. Her background includes +7 years in leading cultural institutions of Ukraine such as National museum complex Art Arsenal and CCA PinchukArtCentre, as well as independent curatorial practice with a strong focus on the body in contemporary art, sensual turn, sound art, and in-situ projects. She worked on large-scale international projects such as International forum Art Kyiv, the First Kyiv Biennale of contemporary art ARSENALE 2012, and Ukrainian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. During 2013-2015 she curated online-platform & collective of artists, curators and writers  (wo)manorial, who contemplate the ever-changing concept of femininity. Her latest research is focused on love and intimacy in the context of emotional capitalism. Originally from Kyiv currently she lives and works in Berlin. 

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Thibaut de Ruyter

Thibaut de Ruyter is a French curator and critic who lives and works in Berlin since 2001. In the last ten years, he has organized exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Museum Kunstpalais Düsseldorf, Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, HMKV in Dortmund, EIGEN + ART Lab and CTM in Berlin, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and CRP / in Douchy-les -Mines. One of his latest projects is a travelling exhibition co-curated with Inke Arns for the Goethe-Institut: The Frontier that calls into question the dividing line between Asia and Europe in the former Soviet states. Since 2017 this exhibition has been exhibited in St Petersburg, Moscow, Tashkent, Almaty, Krasnoyarsk (u.A.) and will open in Erevan in May 2019. His areas of interest range from new media to spiritualism to "exhibitions that are not exhibitions". Most of his projects are related to everyday, pop or underground culture. He has been the German correspondent for the French magazine artpress since 2003.

Read his articles: EAST WIND - ART IN THE FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS, UNFORTUNATELY, WE CANNOT PAY FOR YOUR FLIGHT AND ACCOMMODATION, ARTIST PORTRAIT: ALISA BERGER

Asli Samadova

Asli Samadova is a Milan/Baku-based curator and museum specialist experienced working with leading cultural institutions in Europe and the USA on cultural diplomacy, education and exhibition projects. She is the founder of Ta(r)dino 6 alternative art space that promotes contemporary art from Azerbaijan and beyond and is a platform for experiments. Ta(r)dino 6 Venice project brought Turandokht. Radio Riddles to Venice and was the first to present contemporary art from Azerbaijan in a non-institutional environment during the 58th Venice Biennial 2019.

Read her articles: WHEN THERE ARE NO OPPUTURNITIES, CREATE YOUR OWN GIARDINI, INTERIORS, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Saltanat Shoshanova

Saltanat Shoshanova is currently pursuing her Master's degree in History of Arts at the Free University Berlin. Her research interests include art in connection to queer and feminist theory, queer migration, decoloniality and post-Soviet space. She is an activist and co-organized several queer feminist conferences in Vienna and Berlin.

Read her article: ON LANGUAGE OF SUPREMACY: MEDINA BAZARGALI IN CONVERSATION, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Julia Sorokina

Yuliya Sorokina is freelance curator of contemporary art, lecturer, tutor, author of texts, lives and works in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Born in 1965 in Shchuchinsk (Kazakhstan) In 1987 graduated from the Artistic-drawing faculty of the Kazakh Pedagogical Institute named after Abai (Almaty). In 1992 she also completed post-graduate course in cinematology at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (Moscow) and courses in art-management in 1998-1999 at European Summer Academy for Culture & Management (Salzburg) and at Institut fur Kulturwissenschaft (Vienna) Austria. Since 1999 she is chair-person of the Board of “Asia Art+” Public Foundation, which she co-founded in 1996. Major exhibitions & projects 2007 - “Muzykstan: Media generation of contemporary artists from Central Asia”. Central Asia Pavilion at the 52. INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA. Associazione Culturale Spiazzi, Venice, Italy (Commissioner and curator) 2007 – Central Asian Project.

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Antonina Stebur

Antonina Stebur is eine Kuratorin und Forscherin. Studium der Bild- und Kulturwissenschaften an der European Humanities University (Vilnius, Litauen) und an der School of Engaged Art der Kunstgruppe “Chto Delat?” (Sankt Petersburg, Russland). Sie ist Mitglied der Künstlergruppe #damaudobnayavbytu (“Frau, die bequem im Alltag ist”), die die feministische Agenda im russischen und weisrussischen Kontext untersucht. Sie war Kuratorin einer Reihe von Ausstellungen in Belarus, Russland, Polen, Frankreich und China. Ihre Forschungsgebiete und kuratorischen Interessen sind: Gemeinschaft, Um-Zusammenstellung alltäglicher Praktiken, feministische Kritik, neue Sensibilität, Basisinitiativen.

Read her articles: ICH LIEBE DICH!, ANOTHER PRODUCTION DRAMA, МЫ СЁННЯ ЗНАХОДЗІМСЯ Ў ІНШАЙ ВЫТВОРЧАЙ ДРАМЕ, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Annika Terwey

Annika Terwey is a German-Italian new media designer & artist. She studied visual communication at the Berlin University of the Arts and graduated from the new media class. In her work she is exploring new forms of communication through interaction design, video installation and exhibitions. Her interest range from environmental science, new technologies and human perception.

Read her article: ON LANGUAGE OF SUPREMACY: MEDINA BAZARGALI IN CONVERSATION

 

Alex Ulko

Alexey Ulko was born in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in 1969. After graduating form Samarkand University with a diploma in English he obtained an MEd TTELT degree from the University of St Mark and St John (UK). Since 2003 he has been working as a freelance consultant in English, Culture Studies and Art for various cultural organisations. Has been making experimental films since 2007 and is an active writer about Central Asian contemporary art. His current artistic interests: experimental cinema, photography, visual poetry. Member of the European Society for Central Asian Studies, the Association of Art Historians (UK) and the Central Eurasian Studies Society (USA).

Read his article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Lolisanam Ulug

Lola Ulugova (Lolisanam) has been an activist in Tajikistan since 2000. Her last working assignment as an Arts and Social Activism Program Coordinator at Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation (OSIAF) in Tajikistan, 2014-2019, was a recognition of her skills and passion towards development of the Tajik youth, arts and activism at a professional level. She also was the founding director of Tajik Bio-Cultural Initiatives a non-governmental organization dedicated to Tajik arts and environmental issues. In 2013, she wrote and produced the nation's first 3-D animation film, a short designed to promote awareness of environmental issues among children. Previously, she has produced several cultural DVDs archiving Tajik dance and biocultural diversity; was a Field Production Manager on the documentary Buzkashi! By Najeeb Mirza (Canada); from 1999-2005 was the manager of Gurminj Museum, an important musical instrument museum in Dushanbe; has been involved in the administration of multiple government and NGO research projects and publications in Tajikistan; and has been the organizer of several important art exhibitions. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Turin, Italy and an undergraduate degree in Russian Language and Literature. She was a Global Cultural Fellow at the Institute for International Cultural Relations of the University of Edinburgh during academic year 2017-18 and participated in Central Asian-Azerbaijan (CAAFP) fellowship program at the George Washington University at Elliott School of International affairs for Fall 2019.
She has co-produced “After the Curtain” documentary along with Emelie Mahdavian (USA), covering the intimate stories of a few Tajik women dancers, also a “Youth for Laws Supremacy” performance that indicated her protest torture and violence.

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Katharina Wiedlack

Katharina Wiedlack is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of English and American Studies, Humboldt University Berlin. Her research fields are primarily queer and feminist theory, popular culture, postsocialist, decolonial and disability studies. Currently, she is working on a research project focused on the construction of Russia, LGBTIQ+ issues and dis/ability within Western media. http://katharinawiedlack.com

Read her article: IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO MAKE FILMS QUEERLY THAN TO MAKE QUEER FILMS

 

People

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist. Born in Kazakhstan, she grew up as a so-called Russian-German in the south of Germany. After spending years of total assimilation she developed a strong interest in her cultural roots. Several long travels and stays took her to Easter-Europe over Russia to Central-Asia. Thereby she started to focus more on those regions also as art historian and journalist. She lives and works in Berlin. 

Irina Konyukhova

Ira Konyukhova is an artist, writer, curator, feminist activist and the founder of TransitoryWhite. In her practice, she explores the connection between female sexuality, pop-resilience, death as well as colonial technological practices. As an artist, her works have been presented on various international festivals and exhibitions, including DocLisboa, Athens Biennale, Teneriffa Espacio del Arte, Exground Film Festival e.t. Her latest article on the early 2000s Russian lesbian stars T.a.T.u. And their influence on queer politics has been recently published by Pop-Zeitschrift by University Siegen. Ira was a grantee of BS Projects Artist-in-Residence scholarship Programm and lives and works in Berlin.

Pavel Metelitsyn

Pavel Metelitsyn is a software engineer and developer focusing on interactive data presentation, user interfaces and web technologies. He is driven by the idea of making the information more accessible through interactivity and gamification. Working together with creative agencies he implemented interactive multimedia stations for Neues Historisches Museum, Frankfurt/Main, made a kiosk app for a permanent exhibition at Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Frankfurt/Main. Besides that, he works with a wide range of clients from FinTech Startups to national research institutions, helping them to collect, process and present the business information. Pavel holds an M.Sc. in Mathematics.

Daria Prydybailo

Daria Prydybailo is a curator, researcher, founder of the TRSHCHN platform and co-founder of the NGO Art Matters Ukraine. Her background includes +7 years in leading cultural institutions of Ukraine such as National museum complex Art Arsenal and CCA PinchukArtCentre, as well as independent curatorial practice with a strong focus on the body in contemporary art, sensual turn, sound art, and in-situ projects. She worked on large-scale international projects such as International forum Art Kyiv, the First Kyiv Biennale of contemporary art ARSENALE 2012, and Ukrainian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. During 2013-2015 she curated online-platform & collective of artists, curators and writers  (wo)manorial, who contemplate the ever-changing concept of femininity. Her latest research is focused on love and intimacy in the context of emotional capitalism. Originally from Kyiv currently she lives and works in Berlin. 

Sascia Reibel

Sascia Reibel is a graphic and product designer. Her focus lays on printed matter, especially books and posters, with a strong dedication for typography. She engages in projects within the field of culture, art, and education. She studies communication design at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe and has also studied in the design master program of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. Her work has been honoured with several awards, including «Most Beautiful Swiss Books», «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world», «Bronze Nail, ADC», as well as the «Badge of Typographic Excellence, TDC New York.

Kundry Reif

Kundry Reif grew up in Vienna, Austria. Whilst studying cultural studies at university in Berlin she started to work in art collectives and galleries. Last year she went to work at the Goethe Institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for a year. Having never heard a lot about Central Asia before, this year abroad sparked her interest. Being back now, she misses Central Asian Kurt, and has decided that her favorite museum of all times is the Sawitsky Museum in Nukus, Uzbekistan. 

Willi Reinecke

Willi Reinecke is a film director, writer, and researcher on Lev Vygotsky's Psychology of Art at the Institute for East European Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). He is teaching at Szondi-Institute for Comparative Literature and Institute for East European Studies. He worked as assistant director of the documentary film "Familienleben" which premiered at Berlinale 2018. The film was nominated for German Documentary Film Award and was awarded prizes at Saratov Sufferings Festival (RU) and Neisse Filmfestival (GER). He's currently working on documentary films for Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V.

Thibaut de Ruyter

Thibaut de Ruyter is a French curator and critic who lives and works in Berlin since 2001. In the last ten years, he has organized exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Museum Kunstpalais Düsseldorf, Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, HMKV in Dortmund, EIGEN + ART Lab and CTM in Berlin, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and CRP / in Douchy-les -Mines. One of his latest projects is a travelling exhibition co-curated with Inke Arns for the Goethe-Institut: The Frontier that calls into question the dividing line between Asia and Europe in the former Soviet states. Since 2017 this exhibition has been exhibited in St Petersburg, Moscow, Tashkent, Almaty, Krasnoyarsk (u.A.) and will open in Erevan in May 2019. His areas of interest range from new media to spiritualism to "exhibitions that are not exhibitions". Most of his projects are related to everyday, pop or underground culture. He has been the German correspondent for the French magazine artpress since 2003.

4th February 2020

Embrace Your Antithesis

interview

Interview with Slavs and Tatars
en

1st February 2020

Chakras of Tbilisi

article

Laura Arena
en

29th January 2020

2019 Curator's choice

article

en

17th January 2020

On the loop

interview

en

23rd December 2019

"Мы сёння знаходзімся ў іншай вытворчай драме"

interview

Работай Больше! Отдыхай Больше!
by

5th December 2019

Another production drama

interview

Interview with WORK HARD! PLAY HARD! working group
en

20th November 2019

Wandering poetics of Central Asian mestizas

interview

Interview with Krëlex Zentre
en

6th November 2019

Conversation with Julieta Aranda and Anna Kamay

interview

en

29th October 2019

Where the roses grow

interview

Interview with Almagul Menlibaeva
en

25th October 2019

On language of supremacy: Medina Bazargali in conversation

interview

en

16th October 2019

Interiors

portrait

Exhibition by Xenia Fink In Ta(r)dino 6 Baku
en

10th October 2019

Madina Tlostanova on decolonizing the post-Soviet, exotization and political imagination(s)

interview

part two
en

1st October 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union! (German)

article

Ira Konyukhova
de

26th September 2019

Madina Tlostanova on feminism, coloniality, returned pasts and reimagined futures

interview

part one
en

6th September 2019

It is more important to make films queerly than to make queer films

interview

en

12th July 2019

When there are no opputurnities, create your own Giardini

article

Asli Samadova
en

1st July 2019

Juggling Dinosaurs

article

The precariousness of motherhood in arts
Anna Kamay
en

24th June 2019

Interview with Elene Abashidze

interview

en

14th June 2019

Unfortunately, we cannot pay for your flight and accommodation

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en

28th May 2019

Ich liebe dich!

article

Antonina Stebur
de

17th May 2019

Interview with Anna Vahrami

interview

en

23rd April 2019

Artist Portrait: Anastasia Akhvlediani

portrait

en

13th April 2019

Artist Portrait: Alisa Berger

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en

21st March 2019

Faig Ahmed

interview

de

18th March 2019

There Is Sex After Soviet Union!

article

Irina Konyukhova
en

11th March 2019

Interview mit Samvel Saghatelian

interview

de

8th March 2019

Artist Portrait: Salome Dumbadze

portrait

en

4th March 2019

Interview mit Chinara Majidova

interview

Klang des Brunners vor einer Fassade
de

26th February 2019

East Wind - Art in the Former Soviet Republics

article

Thibaut de Ruyter
en
Welcome To The Dollhouse!. Сatechism for the Mass on dresser (on physical medium!). 2018
Photo by WH!PH!
Alisa Oleva. Lozhechka / one-to-one action. 2019
Photo by WH!PH!
Frida Sandström. Inburst. Discussion and movement session. 2018
Photo by WH!PH!
Cara Tolmie. “Gender of Sound” Listening Session. 2018
Photo by WH!PH!

Another production drama

Interview with WORK HARD! PLAY HARD! working group

Antonina Stebur

5th December 2019

The turn to the dematerialization of art, the transition from creating objects to creating relationships, conditions for complicity and interaction in the field of art, was typical for the 1960s, for example, as part of the situationist movement or the Fluxus movement. This turn was associated, on the one hand, with criticism of the white cube and the recognition of art institutions as fitting into the existing economic context, and, on the other hand, as a requirement of individualization and self-expression. In a concentrated form, this requirement is expressed in the famous Joseph Beuys statement: "Everyone is an artist."


Today in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, we can also observe a new round of dematerialization of art, the focus shifts from objects on relations. However, unlike the 1960s, contemporary artists do not oppose "white cube" and the institutional framework. They settle in existing social forms, reconfigure familiar social actions and activities, work "on ruins and in gaps".

 

The same strategy - work and reconfiguration of everyday practices, established forms of work and rest - is typical for the “Work Hard! Play Hard! ”(RB!OB! or WH!PH!). RB!OB! is a week of events, which takes place annually in Minsk and gathers artists, cultural workers, activists, intellectuals, urbanists, etc. from different countries. The core of RB!OB!, designed around the problems of work and leisure, the production of knowledge and the reassembly of collectivity. A week of coexistence is divided into two activities - a series of events and joint activities in Minsk, and concentrated living - three or four days of working together and relaxing in a sanatorium

Welcome To The Dollhouse!. Сatechism for the Mass on dresser (on physical medium!). 2018
Photo by WH!PH!

RB!OB! is based on participatory, performative and discursive practices that allow you not to focus on finished product or result, but to enjoy on living together while creating a process. The organizers and participants dissect, change, collide with each other usual forms of work and leisure, such as excursions, rave parties, hackathons, etc. For example, the subversive collective meditation “Inhale and everything that has already melted in the air”, composed of quotes from Karl Marx, Sarah Ahmed, Slavoj Žižek. Or the practice of "Reading at night on-demand" from Nikita Kadan, in which he is coming to someone's home to make a night read. As the artist himself writes: “Reading at night is usually a ritual carried out between loved ones. When an unfamiliar person reads you at night, it can be, at least, uncomfortable. In this case, only trust in the intentions of this person and that same reflective distance that allows us to consider this reading as a ritual can save.”

RB!OB! can be described as a self-organizing platform, and as a chain of events, and as a laboratory. The working group consists of Aleksey Borisenok, Dina Zhuk, Nikolay Spesivtsev and Olya Sosnovskaya.

Antonina Stebur

You often emphasise the difference between “Work Hard! Play Hard!” (WH!PH!) and festival types of organisation, you refuse to call the week a festival. What is the best way to describe the WH!PH! format? 

 Dzina Zhuk

 I think that a festival is a story for an external viewer who comes to see a ready-made program, while we focus on creating an event together. We wanted to have everyone hang out together, get acquainted with each other, to enjoy collective moments of intense time experience and moments of relaxation. 

Antonina Stebur

Why does WH!PH! emphasise performative and participatory practices?

 Olia Sosnovskaya

I would like to add that we also place the focus on lectures and discussions. Other formats, for example, an exhibition, imply passive contemplation. Our participation formats are premised on getting together and working with a different economy of engagement and attention. Moreover, our events are pretty mobile: we are constantly moving in and out of the city. We like not to be bound to any particular space – we can just flicker here and there.

Alisa Oleva. Lozhechka / one-to-one action. 2019
Photo by WH!PH!

 Nicolay Spesivtsev

I would like to add that we are working with forms that induce collective experience, this is where we put the focus of our week. Collective practices help to organise areas of tension or relaxation, reducing the intensity of co-presence next to each other. There can be situations of conglutination and clumping or, on the contrary, of an accelerated distancing from each other. Inducing and provoking this kind of experience lies within the area of our interests as the working group.

 Aleksei Borisionok

Processes born as a result of the collective dynamics, as well as the narratives that are born within lectures, discussions, seminars, actions are important for WH!PH!. Likewise, it is crucial for us to shift the focus hanging as a dominant idea over Minsk that any exhibition or event is aimed at representation of the final result. I believe, an important part of WH!PH! is the possibility to experiment and think about how you can work or abstain from work, use different strategies, etc.

Frida Sandström. Inburst. Discussion and movement session. 2018
Photo by WH!PH!

Antonina Stebur

Why did the amount of time you live together as WH!PH! at a sanatorium become fundamental for you from 2018?

 Olia Sosnovskaya

For us, a format where we produce nothing, show nothing, just live together was vital, because WH!PH! was born out of a desire to do something together and to live together. 

 Dzina Zhuk

Last year, we had a day of rest that we used to learn to relax together again. It is important for me to construct collectivity in such a way. By putting everyone in a single environment that provides historical context, we induce and create new forms of cohabitation and a new routine. We think about new forms of collectivity, about a new form of kinship in Donna Haraway's terms, where our connections would be constructed according to the ideas and thoughts we have, that is essentially like-mindedness.

In Minsk, this experience is distributed, because of such phenomena as “Vpiska”, a contemporary variant of crash pads parties and gatherings.

 Nicolay Spesivtsev

Vpiska’s are an integral part of “Work Hard! Play Hard!” Fundamentally,  the experience of Vpiska is shared by all participants from different cities than Minsk, because they have to spend the nights at places belonging to other people. And in this way, they become dependant on the daily routine of their hosts. Days of such a distributed daily life in Minsk may transform into the situation of a focused, intensified being together in a sanatorium. At the same time, this concentrated experience is supported by the routine of the sanatorium, it gives us no chance to be carried away by the routinization of collective life. This allows us to engage with boredom, use it as a starting point, or, subduing the boredom, come up with new collective living.

 Aleksei Borisionok

The sanatorium has been associated with the automation of daily routine and reproductive work in the Soviet Union from the 1920-30s. Today, the sanatorium is also a ruin which faces severe pressure of capitalist transformation. Sanatoriums are cheap places with some infrastructure, so you don't drown in the organisation of collective life. In this sense, a sanatorium has a significant emancipating force, it is important for WH!PH!.

Antonina Stebur

Why, is a reinterpretation of collectivity and creating new forms of coexistence important for you? It is obvious that except a party, there is a political or socio-critical aspect, an emancipatory layer.

 Aleksei Borisionok

An important point for us was the law on parasitism It became the theme which made us think: what does the word “work”, “non-work” or  “work status” mean? What is an unalienated experience of time and work? Work and leisure are the core and heart of the modern capitalist system of exploitation which imposes certain ways of living time, a certain production of relations.

Cara Tolmie. “Gender of Sound” Listening Session. 2018
Photo by WH!PH!

 Olia Sosnovskaya

It's also a reaction to how collectivity is treated in many post-socialist countries. People are scared of it, it is believed to be the legacy of the Soviet, like collectivisation. For us, it is important to regain the desire, pleasure, and the political message of staying together, working together, and forms of self-organisation. This is a response to liberal disunity which prevailed in the 90s.

 Dzina Zhuk

It seems to me that the left movement reached a mental block at some point. Our attempts to engage philosophers who speculate on the issues of new left movements, on the expansion of the collective imagination, are also a kind of endeavour to construct potential collectivity. 

 Aleksei Borisionok

To sum up, the politically important thing is the discussion on labour per se, and of course the criticism of labour, reproductive labour, various forms of precarity, the transformation of immaterial labour. WH!PH! is the imagination of the future, which would not be so closely associated with labour, the idea of unalienated labour, of the feminist critique of labour, etc.

 Dzina Zhuk

These practices and discussions are also related to language. We have a collective glossary containing concepts such as affective labour, outsourcing, yesterday's unalienated celebration, extractive capitalism, left melancholy, spontaneous grassroots alternative, etc. Some of these concepts are absurd, others invoke transforming significant terms into a new language. The glossary is created collectively, these terms were coined by all participants. What is important is the process of reinventing the language, the way we can speak about it in the circumstances we find ourselves. 

Antonina Stebur

How is the glossary made out?

 Aleksei Borisionok

In part, it is based on the elaborations of the working group, which seems to generate some tensions chain. Every year, when the event is over, we invite participants to add terms that would become part of the glossary.

 Olia Sosnovskaya

These terms are usually associated with the practice which the participants offered or performed. But it can be something that comes up spontaneously. It's also an archiving method, a way of comprehending experience that has been lived, a kind of critical documentation, a follow-up of discussion and experience within WH!PH!. These terms are associated with past events, – it's a sort of reticule one can use to look at WH!PH!

Antonina Stebur

How is this imperative “Work Hard! Play Hard!” interpreted in relation to the post-Soviet context?

 Aleksei Borisionok

The post-Soviet context plays a specific role in the global economic transformation of capitalism, and at least now Eastern Europe increasingly looks like what is often referred to as nearshore, that is a huge reservoir of labour-power which is not so strongly associated with physical labour as with immaterial labour (as opposed to material production facilities that have been moved to Asia, to the East). This includes different things: from the notorious programming to care work. No wonder that care work in so-called Western Europe is primarily done by migrant women. In this sense, on the one hand, the post-Soviet region is represented as a reservoir of the labour army. But on the other hand, there are also tension lines within the region like Russian-Ukrainian conflict or growing imperial ambitions of Russia.

 Nicolay Spesivtsev

There are the ruins of the institutional support of labour and various forms of recreation that existed in the Soviet Union, and that have been dismantled to varying degrees today.

Antonina Stebur

How do you think art production or the negation of production in art can influence this neoliberal imperative “Work hard, play hard” and as a result of more consumption?

 Olia Sosnovskaya

Probably, I would not like to isolate the field of art in such a way. I find productive a situation when artists unite with someone else or include other methods, spaces – within WH!PH! we do not exceptionally do art. In this inclusion or cooperation, emancipatory opportunities emerge because art often deals with imagination, but also with some play format that can include playing something out, rehearsing, and practice. It is a play similar to a child's play which includes such elements as joy, spontaneity. Perhaps, it is also an attempt of rejection of any highly frozen forms, a constant search for something. 

 Dzina Zhuk

It seems to me that we think about how to escape the binary logic of work and rest and other opposing concepts that are already captured by the existing capitalist dynamic. We are trying to understand whether there is, or rather, is it possible to make a step to the side, not thinking about your practice as an escapist practice, a practice of escape or resistance, but rather as an emancipatory practice which could be an instrument of identification, of collective solidarity.

 Aleksei Borisionok

It seems to me that, in fact, this issue is important, and speaking exclusively about artistic practices, about art as a certain invention format, the most significant thing is that art – outside the institutional context – has the ability, unlike many other spheres, to expand the space for imagination, the imagination which is associated not only with the future but also with the past – with the synchronisation and desynchronisation of various temporalities. In this sense, for me, art or some of its forms remain the space where I can think about the alienation and non-alienation, and that includes life, creative thinking, inventive competencies or skills. Art contributes to the development of these skills.

 Nicolay Spesivtsev

I am interested in how speculative-functional and cross and connections between the field of art, and for example, the philosophical scene, IT sector, culture professionals practices, in general, are formed and induced. Perhaps, this is one of the ways of the deformation of the existing power dynamics. I would not suggest resistance, rather the creation of riffles and overlapping movement.

 

 

RB!OB! can be described as a self-organizing platform, and as a chain of events, and as a laboratory. It consists of Aleksey Borisenok, Dina Zhuk, Nikolay Spesivtsev and Olya Sosnovskaya.

 

Antonina Stebour is a curator and researcher. She graduated from Visual and Cultural Studies at the European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) and the School of Engaged Arts (CHTO DELAT art group, Saint-Petersburg, Russia). A member of the #DamaUdobnayavBytu group (#LadyOfConvenience), exploring the feminist agenda in the post-Soviet context. She was the curator of a number of exhibitions in Belarus, Russia, Poland, France and China. Her research and curatorial interests include community, reassessment of everyday practices, feminist criticism, new sensitivity, grassroots initiatives.

 

Editors: Ina Hildebrandt, Ira Konyukhova

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