meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin

meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin

Washington Project for the Arts

October 20, 2023
meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin
An artist book exploring instruction-based practices
Washington Project for the Arts
2124 8th Street NW
Washington, D.C., 20001
United States
Hours: Thursday–Saturday 1–6pm

T +1 202 234 7103

Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) is pleased to present meta-meta: book of instructions (WPA, 2023) by DC/NYC-based artist Misha Ilin (he/him), with an exhibition on view October 14–November 18 at WPA’s Project Space (2124 8th St. NW, Washington, DC). 

meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin (2023), published by Washington Project for the Arts. Including correspondences with: Harrell Fletcher, Hannah Higgins, T. Jean Lax, Raphael Rubinstein, Alexandro Segade, and Constantina Zavitsanos.

meta-meta: book of instructions delves into Ilin’s utilization of instructions as a medium, tracing its evolution from his initial explorations of strategies of care through his ongoing research into human responses to environments of excessive authority and control. The publication launch is accompanied by the meta-meta “book show,” an exhibition that brings the book to life through an installation that functions as the mise-en-scène for a series of public programs and fresh experiments. The project, which was initiated at WPA through a research residency in 2021, probes the history and methodologies of artistic engagement with instruction-based practices from Fluxus to Artificial Intelligence, drawing parallels to the tradition of artist instruction books such as Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit (1964) and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s and Boltansky Brothers’ Do It project (1993 to present). 

Ilin’s book functions as both documentation of his experiments with instruction-based art and a game manual for future activations. It consists of a curated selection of 65 (out of more than 800) instructions, arranged variously by theme, affect, and project, and is annotated by correspondences with artists and other experts covering a range of topics that explore the role of instructions as a tool for creativity, communication, and control—across performance, politics, bureaucracy, and pedagogy. The book traces the evolution of instruction-based artworks, from a simplistic means of audience engagement caught in the dichotomy of submission and control, to a potent form of personal resistance and reclamation of agency in response to the inherent tension within this duality. It further explores the linguistic capacity of instructions to serve as forms of knowledge and experience, thus articulating the emerging relevance of this medium as a main means of communication with language models and machine interfaces.

Misha Ilin studied art at the National Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow and Maryland Institute College of Art. In 2016 he moved to the United States to pursue his art career, becoming what is termed a “culturally relocated person”—one who abruptly yet voluntarily relocates to the West. He lives and works in New York.

meta-meta: book of instructions is now available to pre-order. For a limited time, enjoy special early bird pricing and receive a 15 percent discount.

meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin (2023), published by Washington Project for the Arts. Softcover, smyth-sewn binding 9.25 x 6.5 in. 132 pages. 50.00 USD (early bird pricing: 42.50 USD).

Book show: October 14–November 18. An exhibition that brings Ilin’s book to life and functions as a mise-en-scène for programs. Location: Washington Project for the Arts.

Workshop with Some People Press: October 26, 6–7:30pm. Harrell Fletcher and Misha Ilin explore conceptual strategies for economizing social practice. Location: Virtual.

Performance with Joshua Coyne: November 2, 7–8pm. Musical performance derived from an original score that will be recomposed by the audience. Location: Washington Project for the Arts.

Conversation with Colby Chamberlain: November 17, 7–8pm, On the “meta-meta” publication and its design as a game manual. Location: Washington Project for the Arts.

RSVP for meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin
Washington Project for the Arts
October 20, 2023

Thank you for your RSVP.

Washington Project for the Arts 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.