Call for participation - Where has Communism Gone?

Workshop and stage event with artist group Chto Delat?

Artist group Chto Delat? from St. Petersburg has been invited by to Budapest to realize a stage event, based on the participants’ own experiences, employing the Learning Play method of Bertolt Brecht.

A call for participation in the preparatory workshop in December, 2012 and the stage event in March, 2013.

The preparatory workshop of stage performance is December 14-16, 2012, with a Chto Delat? member, Dmitry Vilensky.

The planned program of the workshop:

December 14: intorductory discussion and the screening of Chto Delat? films

December 15, 2-8 pm: spending time together, discussions, shared dining from dishes brought and made toghter

December 16, 12-2, conclusion with regards to the stage event in 2013

Rehearsal of the stage performance: the week of February 27, 2013 with Chto Delat? members Olga Egorova (Tsaplia) and Dmitry Vilensky.

Date of the stage event: March, 1 2013

To participate in the December workshop and the March stage performance, please send a motivation letter in English until November 30, 2012 at

The theme of the workshop and the stage event:

Where has Communism gone? This question refers, firstly, to Russian revolutionary writer Andrey Platonov. It was the hero of this novel “Chevengur”, who, suddenly getting awakened in the middle of the night after his dream is asking where socialism is 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 they call “real socialism” or “communist regimes”, is still persistent, at least on the field of contemporary theory and arts.

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

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 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, became valuable and actual again.

The only problem is that nobody really takes it 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 the market exchange, and that all the ideas discussed there have their nominal value. The ghost of communism is still wandering around, and to transform it to a commodity-form seems as a good way to finally get rid of it. Conferences and artistic events dedicated to the idea of communism are going on one after another, speakers are paid or non-paid, advertisement production machine functions well, and the sphere 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 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 think, discuss and live through these issues together at our seminar and try to find a form of the representation of our debate and living together for two days in a form of staging a Learning Play.