press release

With their exhibition Time Capsule. Artistic Report on Catastrophes and Utopia, Chto Delat respond to the current situation in Russia, the crisis in Ukraine, and the resulting threat of a new Cold War. Together with the graduates of the School of Engaged Art they established in Saint Petersburg in 2013, the collective has created The Excluded. In a Moment of Danger, a four-channel video installation that runs just under an hour in which they reflect on their own sense of exposure and perplexity.

The dialectical form that was characteristic of Chto Delat's earlier films has given way to open narrative structures and the search for a new language adequate to the task of portraying the escalating political situation in Russia. The film is divided into twelve chapters and opens with an attempt to define the performers' temporal and spatial coordinates. The work makes mention of events such as the Leningrad Blockade during World War II and the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine this summer—recent incidents as well as major historic episodes serve as points of reference for a subjective description of the current status quo. Chto Delat also address the role social media play in contemporary society and especially in the development of political actions and protest movements, as well as the question of how young people evolve into political subjects and learn to take responsibility for their lives. The formal decision to produce a four-channel video installation, a new format for the group, suggests the heterogeneity of voices and serves as a visual equivalent of the chaos the artists feel reigns today.

Chto Delat (What is to be done?) is a collective that was founded in St. Petersburg in 2003 and counts artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from St. Petersburg and Moscow among its members. The collective responded to the urgent need to merge political theory, art, and activism. Its activities include art projects, educational seminars, and public campaigns; its productions range from video and theater plays to radio programs and murals. The collective also publishes the Russian-English newspaper Chto delat?, which covers questions of culture and politics in an international context.

Invited by the board of the Secession Curated by Bettina Spörr