Film Screening and Q&A: Chto Delat: Safe Haven and Border Musical

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Chto Delat: Safe Haven and Border Musical

13 June 2017 – 13 June 2017, 6pm

MK045, George Wallis Building, University of Wolverhampton

Screening of two films by the Russian collective Chto Delat, ‘It Hasn’t Happened With Us Yet. Safe Haven’ (36 min) and ‘A Border Musical’ (48 min) followed by conversation with the artist Dmitry Vilensky. The event provides an insight into the multi-layered artistic practice of the collective that unfolds in the space between contemporary art, critical theory and activism.

‘Safe Haven’ (2017) is the name of a network of residences for artists who live in countries where their life, freedom and human dignity are in danger. Most of these residences are located in small, pleasant towns in Northern Europe. In the film, Chto Delat created an imaginary situation in which 5 people arrive at one such residence. The film shows the conflict between the possibility of immersing oneself in normal, peaceful life and the idea of returning to real struggle and dangers.

‘A Border Musical’ (2013) is based on collaboration with a number of the Norway artists and institutions, and evolves around the case of Norwegian-Russian family living close the border between two countries. The film explores the Norwegian social care system that is facing the case of so called “problem kid” and different mentalities of the parents from the neighbouring countries. The film deconstructs the stereotypical image of a caring community.

The films of Chto Delat are made in accessible way, with musical interludes, and appeal to a broad audience interested in the artistic, social and political questions. The films are didactic, politically acute and use subversive satire and grotesque.

The collective Chto Delat (“What is to be done?”) is one of the most well-known art collectives from the ex-USSR that participated in many exhibitions and biennials across the world. The artworks by Chto Delat are currently in the collections of MoMA (NY) and Centre Pompidou (Paris).

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Organised by Alexei Penzin. Penzin is Reader in Art at the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton and Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. His major fields of interest are philosophical anthropology, Marxism, Soviet and post-Soviet studies, and the philosophy of art. He lectures widely on these topics and has participated in many international research projects, seminars, and symposia, including: What Is Thinking? Or a Taste That Hates Itself, Documenta 13, Ständehaus, Kassel, 2012; The Cairo Seminar, Documenta 13, MASS Alexandria, Cairo, 2012; and Modernidad y la llamada acumulación originaria [Modernity and So-called Primitive Accumulation], seminar in the context of the project The Potosí Principle, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2010.