After the Red Square, a Boris Groys seminar at unitednationsplaza

After the Red Square, a Boris Groys seminar at unitednationsplaza


October 24, 2006
After the Red Square, a Boris Groys seminar at unitednationsplaza

On Monday, October 30, unitednationsplaza will start its program with a two-week seminar by Boris Groys entitled After the Red Square. The seminar will be free and open to the public.

Guest speakers and presenters for this seminar include: Olga Chernisheva, Joseph Cohen, Keti Chukhrov, Khalil Joreige, Deimantas Narkevicius, Elena Sorokina, Anri Sala, Olaf Nicolai, Andrei Ujica and others, as well as a special video program by Rabih Mroue and a selection of films, including “4” by Ilia Khrzhanovsky, 2004


Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a

Berlin 10249 Germany

T. 49 (0)30 700 89 0 90

F. 49 (0)30 700 89 0 85

unitednationsplaza is exhibition as school. Structured as a seminar/residency program in the city of Berlin, it will involve collaboration with approximately 60 artists, writers, theorists and a wide range of audiences for a period of one year. In the tradition of Free Universities, most of its events will be free and open to all those interested to take part. unitednationsplaza is organized by Anton Vidokle in collaboration with Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Martha Rosler, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Nikolaus Hirsch, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Tirdad Zolghadr.

On Monday, October 30, unitednationsplaza will start its program with a two-week seminar by Boris Groys entitled After the Red Square. The seminar will be free and open to the public. Boris Groys will moderate and lead a series of discussions with a number of artists, writers, philosophers and theorists invited as guest speakers and presenters.

Seminar 1

Boris Groys: After the Red Square

October 30 through November 10, 2006

The contemporary, post-communist situation is mostly understood as a time after the full and final victory of the market over all the attempts to put this rule into question. Accordingly, art is equated to the art market and an individual artwork is seen primarily as a commodity. Under this regime the only way for art to become “serious” is to become “critical”, which means that it tries to reflect explicitly on its own character-as- commodity. It is telling that the art of the former Communist or Socialist countries is regarded from this perspective as non-serious because it is non-critical by definition; this art could not reflect on itself as a commodity because it was not a commodity. (It was not a commodity because there was no market, and certainly no art market under Socialism.)

But the equation between art and art market, be it critical or not, not only brings about the erasure of a substantial part of the art heritage of the 20th Century; it also – and this is the more important point – ignores the non- market dimensions of contemporary art that functions not only as commodity but also as propaganda (for example: Islamist videos), as a means to organize a new type of communal space and a new type of community itself. The goal of the seminar is to investigate precisely these non-market aspects of contemporary art in its relationship to the long tradition of non-market uses of art, related initially to the Socialist-Communist tradition.

Guest speakers and presenters for this seminar include: Olga Chernisheva, Joseph Cohen, Keti Chukhrov, Khalil Joreige, Deimantas Narkevicius, Elena Sorokina, Anri Sala, Olaf Nicolai, Andrei Ujica and others, as well as a special video program by Rabih Mroue and a selection of films, including “4” by Ilia Khrzhanovsky, 2004.

Most sessions will take place from 7 – 9 PM at the unitednationsplaza. The exact schedule will be posted shortly at

Admission is free but space is limited. To register please contact

Suggested readings

Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism, Princeton, 1995

Boris Groys, Ilya Kabakov. A man who flew into the cosmic space. Afterall/MIT, 2006.

Boris Groys (ed.), Dream Factory Communism, Schirn, Frankfurt a.M., 2004.

Jacques Derrida, Marx’ Gespenster, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M., 2003

Giorgio Agamben, Die kommende Gemeinschaft, Merve, 2003.


After the Red Square

Program Schedule

Monday, October 30th 7-9PM

Boris Groys: Religion After Communism

Keynote lecture

Tuesday, October 31st 7-9PM


Olga Chernysheva and Elena Sorokina

Olga Chernysheva is a Moscow-based artist. She was selected to represent Russia in the Russian Pavilion of Venice Biennale in 2001. Olga Chernysheva’s work has been included in the following recent international exhibitions: “Sites”, Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art 2005 (at the Moscow House of Photography), “Contemporary video from Russia”, video programme at The Photographer’s Gallery, London, 2005; “The Happiness Zone”, The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, 2004; “Berlin – Moscow/Moscow-Berlin”, State Historical Museum, Moscow, 2004 and Martin – Gropius- Bau, Berlin, 2003; “Photo biennale 2004”, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; “Watch Out!”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, 2004; “System of Coordinates”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 2004.

Elena Sorokina is an independent curator and writer currently based in Paris.

Wednesday, November 1st 7-9PM


Andrei Ujica

With a background in literature, Andrei Ujica has published a number of stories and essays since 1968, such as Television/Revolution Das Ultimatum des Bildes (The Ultimatum of the Image). He has lived and worked in Germany since 1981 where he teaches literature, film and media theory. As of 1990, Ujica decides to devote himself to cinema and creates Videogramme einer Revolution (Videograms of a Revolution, 1992) in collaboration with Haroun Faroki, which becomes a landmark film on the relationship between political power and the media in Europe in the End of Cold War Europe. His second film Out of the Present (1995), tells the story of cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who spent ten months aboard the space station Mir, while on earth, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Out of the Present has been compared to the most renowned classical films in the cinematic history such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or Solaris, and is famous for being the most recognized non-fictional film of the 90’s. Lately, Andrei Ujica has also been interested in the convergence between cinematographic views and artistic scenes, thus his films became part of notorious exhibitions. For the exhibition Unknown Quantity, Andrei Ujica created a commissioned film installation on the discussion between Paul Virilio and Svetlana Alexievitch, confronting both traditions of the philosophical dialogue and the cinematograph as a “vision machine”.

Thursday, November 2nd 7-9PM

Special presentation:

Rabih Mroué: Three Posters

Three Posters is an acclaimed and controversial work in which one actor, one resistance fighter and one politician search in front of a camera for their “last” images before each one heads towards his own death. Three Posters, a performance by Elias Khoury and Rabih Mroue, represents a moment between fiction and truth by offering a voyeuristic view to the spectator of, on one hand a performance and on the other a real suffering, and questions the rhetoric of the role of the martyr within the context of the ideological disintegration of the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP).

Rabih Mroué studied drama at the Université Libanaise in Beirut and started to produce his own plays in 1990. He acted in, directed and wrote several plays, performances and videos which were shown in Beirut, Cairo, Paris, Vienna, Tunis, Amman and Basel, including: Face A/Face B, 2001; Three Posters, 2000; Come in Sir, we will Wait for you Outside, 1998; Extension 19, 1997; La Prison de sable, 1995; The Lift, 1993; L’Abat-jour, 1990. Since 1995, he writes and directs short animated films and documentaries for Future TV.

Friday, November 3rd 7-9PM


Anri Sala

Born in Albania, Anri Sala came to international attention in 1999 for his work in After the Wall, the Stockholm Modern Museum ’s exhibition of art from post-communist Europe, and in Manifesta 3 ( Ljubljana ). In contrast to the speed of mainstream media imagery, his works are meditations on slowness, characterised by a near-total absence of camera movement which almost freezes scenes into paintings, and by an attention to seemingly unimportant details.

Saturday, November 4th 7-9PM

Guest lecture:

Joseph Cohen: The Spectre of communism – French philosophy and the post-communist epoch

Born in Montreal, Joseph Cohen completed his Ph. D. in Theoretical Philosophy and Metaphysics at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales – Paris. His dissertation, entitled Altérité et révélation – le sacrifice de Hegel , was written under the co-supervision of Professor Jacques Derrida and Professor Robert Legros (University of Caen). Mr. Cohen is currently Guest Professor of Philosophy at the Staatliche Hochshule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, Germany, as well as the Directeur de Programme at the Collège International de Philosophie, Paris. Joseph Cohen is the author of Le spectre juif de Hegel, Paris, Galilée, with a preface by Jean Luc Nancy (Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Strasbourg II – Marc Bloch). November 2005.

Monday, November 6th 7-9PM

Presentation and talk with Deimantas Narkevicius

Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicius creates complex, poetic explorations of post-Soviet Lithuania and the relationship of its peoples to their past. Often using the aesthetic or structure of the ‘documentary’ film, he employs interviews, archive film, animation, and original footage. He focuses on the individual and the personal, often structuring his work around forgotten or repressed testimonies and stories. Narkevicius’ films grapple with universal questions about our political and moral obligations to history and memory, asking how, why and what we remember.

Tuesday, November 7th 7-9pm

Presentation and talk with Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are Lebanese film makers and artists. In 1999, they directed their first feature film, Al bayt el zahr (Around the Pink House). In 2000, they made the documentary Khiam. They have also created various video and photographic exhibitions, as well as a photo book about Beirut. Both are teachers at the Institute for Scenic and Audiovisual Studies (IESAV) of St. Joseph University in Beirut. A Perfect Day is their second feature film. The Agony of the Feet (1994, short), 333 Sycamore (1994, short), Fautes d’identité (1997, short), Al bayt al zahr/Around the Pink House (1999), Khiam (2000, doc), The Lost Film (2003, doc), Ashes (2003, short), Naoussé/A Perfect Day (2003). Most currently they are working on a new film on the subject of latent martyrs.

Wednesday, November 8th 7-9 pm

Guest lecture

Keti Chukhrov: The Crisis of Political Emancipation

Keti Chukhrov will discuss the “crisis of political emancipation” by using artistic and intellectual archives in their relation to contemporary Russian politics. She will start with the rejection of the “actionist period” by its main protagonists, examining the political technologies used by the Russian government in its methods of appropriating contemporary art’s territory. From this point, she will then explore the new ontological forms within the “Soviet experience.” In the end, she will touch upon the theme of proletarian labor, a topic so immaterial and wide-spread in Western discourse, yet seen within the Russian historical context as inefficient and dangerous.

Keti Chukhrov is a writer and philosopher based in Moscow. She studied in the philosophy department at the Moscow Lomonosov University, writing her undergraduate thesis on the theme of Ezra Pound’s “Cantos.” Chukhrov has worked as an editor, translator, and writer for the Journal “Logos.” She also writes for NLO, Moscow Art Magazine, and Art-Chronika. Currently, she is working on her doctorate dissertation, entitled “Synthetic Forms of Art,” at the Philosophy Institute of the Academy of Sciences.

Thursday, November 9th 6-10 pm

A film program, introduced by Keti Chukhrov:

4 (Russia / Netherlands, 2004, 126 min.)

director: Ilya Khrzhanovsky

screenplay: Vladimir Sorokin

cast: Marina Vovchenko, Irina Vovchenko, Svetlana Vovchenko, Sergei Shnurov, Yuri Laguta, Konstantin Murzenko, Anatoly Adoskin, Alexei Khvostenko, Leonid Fyodorov, Andrei Kudriashov, Shavkat Abdusalamov

Dramatic comedy of absurd in four chapters. Before (or after) the industrial catastrophe three people meet at the bar — a butcher, a piano tuner and a prostitute. One introduces himself to others as a President Administration employee, the second — a researcher of the human cloning problem and the girl turns out to be a Sales Manager of machines making people’s mood better. Sometimes the fourth one- a dreamy barman — pays his attention to them. Meanwhile, going onto her sister’s funeral into Maly Okot village, Marina, a girl, meets her other sisters — Vera and Sonya. All of them so look alike each other that before parting for ever young sisters would try to find out the real reasons of their origin…

Friday, November 10th 7-9 pm


Olaf Nicolai

Olaf Nicolai was born in Halle and lives in Berlin. In his works, Olaf Nicolai integrates classical artistic techniques and collecting, the securing of evidence and archiving as the activities of an artistic production, and combines current questions of natural science and liberal arts with conceptual works. He has taken part in the Sydney Biennial, the 49th and the 51st Venice Biennials, the 7th Sharjah Biennial and other exhibitions.


Boris Groys

Born in East Berlin in 1947, Boris Groys studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Leningrad from 1965–71. Then, from 1971 to 1976 Groys worked as a research assistant at various institutes in Leningrad and from 1976–81 he was employed at the Institute for Structural and Applied Linguistics at the University of Moscow. In 1981 Groys emigrated from the former USSR to Germany. 1982–85 he received various grants in Germany and worked as a freelance author from 1986–87 in Cologne. Groys taught as Guest Professor in the States at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 1988 and at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1991. He obtained his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Münster in 1992. Since 1994 Groys has been professor for Philosophy and Media Theory at the Academy for Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. And since January 1st 2001 Groys also serves as vice chancellor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which has since recieved uni versity status. Member of the Association International des Critiques d’Art [AICA].


Gesamtkunstwerk Stalin, München 1988

Dnevnik filosofa (russ.) (Tagebuch eines Philosophen), Paris 1989

Die Kunst des Fliehens (mit Ilja Kabakov), München 1991

Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Moskau – Von der Neo-Avantgarde zum Post- Stalinismus, München 1991

Über das Neue. Versuch einer Kulturökonomie, München 1992

Utopia i obmen (russ.) (Utopie und Austausch), Moskau 1993

Fluchtpunkt Moskau (Hrsg.), Stuttgart 1994

Die Erfindung Russlands, München 1995

Die Kunst der Installation (mit Ilja Kabakov), München 1996

Kierkegaard. Schriften (Hrsg.), München 1996

Logik der Sammlung, München 1997

Unter Verdacht. Eine Phänomenologie der Medien, München 2000

Politik der Unsterblichkeit. Vier Gespräche mit Thomas Knöfel, München 2002

Please note that the program is subject to change without notice.

unitednationsplaza is made possible with generous support by the Ford Foundation and e-flux.

RSVP for After the Red Square, a Boris Groys seminar at…
October 24, 2006

Thank you for your RSVP.

e-flux will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.