Sign up now to participate in Chto Delat?'s 48-hour seminar-commune // obshezitie (*) and learning play. Where Has Communism Go?

June 11th and 12th, 2011
At the hall of the cultural institute Vitkar at Parmova 25 in Ljubljana

In the framework of the study, study and act again exhibition in Mala galerija (Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana)

*Obshezitie / seminar-commune is a series of 48-hour seminars initiated by the Chto Delat? collective and the Socialist Movement "Vpered" in 2009. It is dedicated to the idea of political subjectivation through collective practices and aimed at breaking the conventional formats of discussions and conferences by promoting a dialogical, conflictual and personal relationship to knowledge production. An enormous number of events occur within cultural and political spheres that aim to address ideas around collectivity and the politicized subject. Lectures are read, seminars are conducted and exhibitions installed, but nothing is really at stake at most of these events; there is no feeling of shared struggle and no sense of solidarity is established. We should try to make it otherwise!

This seminar in ex-Yugoslavian context, in Ljubljana, will address the questions of what Communism is, whether there is any sense in drawing on this ideology again, and whether the concept of communism has any relevance to contemporary cultural practices.

Where has Communism gone? This question refers, firstly, to the Russian revolutionary writer Andrey Platonov. It was the hero of his novel Chevengur, who suddenly awoke from a dream in the middle of the night asking where socialism has gone and searching for it as if it were an object, a thing which supposedly belonged to him. Socialism or communism is thus a matter of desire, and this kind of desire, as Fredric Jameson says, hasn't yet found its Freud or Lacan. By posing the question about communism, we aim to explore the nature of this political desire, which, in spite of the fall of what is referred to as "real socialism" or "communist regimes", is still persistent, at least in the field of contemporary theory and arts.

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

Today, however, after decades of excessive ideological overproduction regarding Communism's monstrosity, the general anticommunist phobia ends with a new disappointment. The liberal utopia, based on the notion of free individuals freely operating in a free market, was demolished by the intervention of the real of the global economic, political and ecological crisis. In this perspective, all the debates about communism not only as an experience of the past, but also as an alternative for the future, have become relevant again. The only problem is that it would appear not to be taken seriously. Neoliberal institutions easily give their money to any kind of creative and sophisticated critics of the present, taking for granted that all these debates are based on market exchange, and that the ideas discussed there have their nominal value. The ghost of communism is still wandering 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 are taking place one after another, speakers are paid or non-paid, advertisement production machine functions well, and the wheel continues to turn as before.

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

We invite you to join us, to think, discuss and live through these issues at our seminar and to imagine what you could bring to the representation of our debate and life together for two days through the form and finally the staging of a Learning Play.

All interested please apply with your motivation to
Dmitry Vilensky -

or to
Bojana Piškur -

Participation is free, but it demands full involvement for 2 days and includes an overnight sleep-in at
The hall of the cultural institute Vitkar at Parmova 25, Ljubljana.

You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bags - those who do not have one will be provided with blankets.

The deadline for signing up is 8 June 2011!

The Structure of the Seminar

DAY 1 - 11th June

Arrival of participants and breakfast.

11:00 - 12:30
1.1. Intro session

Dmitry Vilensky and Artyom Magun will give insights on the topic of the seminar.
Introduction to previous learning plays organized by Chto Delat? by Tsaplya. A Learning Play as a method of performing discussions.

12:45 -14:15
1.2. Open discussion and self-positioning of all participants.
We suggest to every participant to talk about their individual relationship to suggested issue and take a stance. We recommend in this talk to reference your own practice and personal histories.

Screening of any visual material is welcome.

Preparation and eating lunch (1 hour)

15:30 - 17:00
1.3 - 1st Dialogue Session

Exchange of ideas related to the issue of communism - what kind of questions should we pose, having the burden of the past and imagining a future?

Break - free time

18:30 - 20:00
1.4. 2nd Dialogue Session
On relations between art and communism

Can there be a communist art and culture?
Videopresentation of David Riff

Dinner together

Film screenings (drinks)

Screening program - late Soviet films and artist videos - participants' suggestions for the program are welcome

01:00 or later
Collective sleep

DAY 2 - 12 June

Wake up and Soviet aerobics
(with Olga Egorova- Tsaplya)


11:30 - 13:30
2.1. Intro to the play

Exchange of ideas and discussion of the possibilities of script development and ideas for the learning play


15:00 - 19:00
Rehearsals with breaks

Break (snacks and drinks)

Public staging of the learning play "Where has Communism Gone?"


Closing session - Collective dancing


Sign up for the MG e-newsletter

Museum of Modern Art

Windischerjeva ulica 2
SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
MG+:+386 (0)1 2416 800,
+386 (0)1 2416 834
+MSUM: (0)1 2416 825
Fax: +386 (0)1 2514 120

History of the MG
Opening of the renovated MG


  • podporniki
(c) Moderna galerija, Ljubljana