What is to be done / Chto delat
Tobacco Warehouse 1 & 2

Established in 2003. Live in Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod.

Chto delat / What is to be done? is a collective whose name derives from a novel by the nineteenth century Russian author Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and Lenin's political text 'Chto delat' from 1902. The collective acts at the intersection of political theory, art and political activism, and includes artists, critics, philosophers and writers. Since 2003, Chto delat has been publishing an English-Russian newspaper aiming at the repoliticisation of Russian intellectual culture in its broader international context. On the occasion of the İstanbul Biennial, a special issue of newspapers on the "Great Method" engages with the topic of dialectics and methods developed by Bertolt Brecht, with contributions by Peio Aguirre, Antonio Negri, Gene Ray, David Riff, Dmitry Vilensky and Sergei Zemlyanoi.
The installation, consisting of videos and in situ wall drawings, reflects on the potential of political projects for social emancipation and collectivism. The videos Perestroika - Songspiel (2008-2009) and Post Yugoslav Songspiel (2009) are structured like ancient tragedies; the dramatis personae are divided into a chorus and a group of protagonists. The characters of Perestroika-Songspiel are key types generated by the perestroika era and each with a particular vision: a democrat, a businessman, a revolutionary, a nationalist and a feminist. Similarly structured, the Post Yugoslav Songspiel is dedicated to the transformation of a socialist past into a current neoliberal order, and explores the intellectual conditions of political changes after 1989. Liberals, nationalists, outsiders and intellectuals are discussing how their political position has changed from Tito's Yugoslavia to the present.

Dmytri Vilenski's video Chronicles of Perestroika is an edited version of two hours of archive footage of demonstrations in Leningrad during perestroika (1987-1991), provided by the Petersburg Documentary Film Studio. As perestroika fades into history, it now appears differently than it did twenty years ago, and the video reflects upon it from the critical perspective of the current conjuncture/speculation of cynicism and alienation in Russia.