Выпуск: №3 2014

Against Conclusion

Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. “The Treatment,” 2009. Photo by Roman Suslov. Courtesy: Moscow Biennale Art Foundation

Andrey Parshikov Born in Podolsk in 1985. Curator, art critic. “MAM” editorial board member. Lives in Moscow.

“Against exclusion” (curated by Jean Hubert Martin),
3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow,
Garage Center of Contemporary Culture, 24.09.2009-25.10.2009

Cultural Politics of an “aristocratized” bourgeoisie

Andrey Parshikov: To begin from afar, I would like to immediately ask a number of questions concerning the large-scale project. Mindful of the fate of “Manifesta” and numerous other world biennales, it becomes apparent that talking about the artistic context of large-scale projects no longer seems important. Discussions about the latest mega-exhibitions are taking on an increasingly dreary tone. Why? How justified are the rumours about a crisis of large-scale projects? Is a “progressive” mega-exhibition even possible now? How consequential is the emerging European trend of refusing to host large exhibition projects?

Keti Chukhrov: The large-scale project is inevitably a fact of institutional politics and this is characteristic not only for Russia. Such projects could be very progressive, but the elements of institutional politics nevertheless prevail over artistic life, over the junction of life and art. If we examine Western mega exhibitions, then, of course, in contrast to the Moscow biennale, these are investigative projects. And yet, establishing a theme and offering a large-scale product, these mega-exhibitions do not give enough time to comprehend reality neither to the artist, nor to the curator, nor to the space that art should produce. Thus, all the more, the curator is not obliged to be a creative thinker, the artist is not obliged to torture himself or herself about what they express. (S)he may simply comply with a certain theme. The Moscow biennale is the most exaggerated and graceless expression of this tendency.

Ilya Budraitskis: Moreover, the level of institutionalization connected to the large-scale project ideally conforms to today’s model of Russia’s corporate capitalism. The tendency of creating big corporations with big budgets, ranked hierarchies of senior and junior managers with the leadership rising to the top, fits formidably into state politics of development of cultural space. This is precisely why the scale of the Moscow biennale was constantly increasing, and now we received yet another local “state corporation”—in the sphere of contemporary art. With each subsequent biennale, we see that this corporation is becoming more refined, grows stronger, and acquires traits of an internal organizational culture.

In this regard, the definition of the curator of large-scale projects that Keti gave is absolutely accurate. In this artistic corporation, the curator is inevitably equated with a manager. The current Moscow biennale has become a school of such curators-managers. The algorithm was roughly as follows: an ambitious young person is given some sort of space, recommendation letters and other mechanisms of persuasion, but absolutely no money, and within two months (s)he had to create something. And everyone creates, some more successfully, some less. These special biennale projects could well be considered a school of management that forges curators of a new type. They have to create something, slapdash, and so that it may even fit with the main project.

From this point of view, the 3rd Moscow biennale is more seamless than the former ones, and those elements that were well regarded and caused some hope in the 1st biennale, had naturally vanished this time. Because the project was becoming all the more intelligible, comprehensible and holistic.

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Braco Dimitrijevi . The view of the installation at the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Courtesy: Moscow Biennale Art Foundation

Maria Chehonadskih: The goal of this project is an attempt at crystallization of the large style, and that is why it cannot not strive towards holism. Hence, one curator, one large-scale project. I have compared the Moscow biennale to a weekend fair. Let us imagine that there is a certain city square. At the center of the square, we find the main project that concentrates the attention of the public, not only because it is the main one at that exhibition, but also because it is very big and colourful, which is especially attractive for the flow of passersby. Everything else takes on the shape and form of peripheral stands selling crafts-surprises. Among some, these crafts turned out to be more successful, among others, less successful, and yet for others, they did not turn out at all. However, all these participants had diligently worked through their “peripheral”—in relation to the “centre” of the biennale—themes. As a result, we have a very simple function of a weekend fair or a fair of folk achievements.

Keti Chukhrov: However, this centripetal politics has its own backstory. Previously, the artists’ habitus was built on the fact that activities could and should be realized outside of leading institutes. Subsequently, this illusion was rejected. Now, we have the politics of attaching all the cultural workers to one single centre, and it does not leave any maneuvers for sabotage.

In this context, it seems important to me to turn attention to the fact that despite popular opinion, the entertainment element in this biennale is not the most important thing. The cultural function that is set by the Kulturträger [Germ. “culture carrier(s)”], positions itself as one of enlightenment. They want to perform as the centre of enlightenment, its highest zone, in such a way as to have this enlightenment seemingly come from the elite. In the 1990s, the space of cultural prestige and the space of money and power were radically separate and cultural people had nothing, but there was a feeling of freedom and the feeling that emancipation belongs to us. Today, the potentiality of emancipation for cultural enlightenment has been fully appropriated. The subject of cultural expression becomes a person who assigns himself or herself all of power, money, and the subjectivity of creativity. In recent times, a perfectly clear justification of culture as serving the high function of the state—the main enlightener and organizer of social processes—could be heard on behalf of managers. Allegedly, society is so lazy and so undeveloped. Thus, we get a situation in which it is impossible to subjectivize one’s emancipatory ambitions.

There exists an entirely different problem in the Western situation. The element of entertainment in large-scale projects is practically absent. There, the question is what society is entertained by. There, the level of the middle class is entirely different, and that is why society is entertained by investigation; it is no longer entertained by trifles. It needs to be told about social problems—to gain peace of conscience—hence, the reason it participates in the life of the third world.

Yakov Kazhdan: It seems to me that this year’s biennale product is built on the premise of blockbusters that were so popular in the 1990s. It is well known that the American film industry was historically tied to the money of magnates and politicians who produced films. Initially, they wanted to gather crowds and secure a change in social status for themselves. Subsequently, in the 1980s, politicians embraced the film industry as a way of lobbying power interests, and by the 1990s, mass cinema became global. How does it all work? For a particular resource belonging to a carrier of the ideology of power, various elements accrue chaotically. This is all enveloped in an entertaining form adapted to the context, and thus, when the spectator goes to the Cineplex and watches a movie, and in this case, the biennale, (s)he is attacked by a veritable ideological product. So, in that case, I would avoid talking about enlightenment. Rather, the biennale is an instrument of power, creating forms of sublimated entertainment for specific target audiences.

K. Chukhrov: I am not saying that this is true enlightenment; rather, it is an attempt to appropriate that, which is signified by enlightenment, and therein lays the horror.

I. Budraitskis: It is really possible to speak about the fact that this project is one of the instruments of constructing cultural hegemony of the ruling class, but I think that in order to discuss the peculiarities and the type of this hegemony seriously, the relations between the highest rank of the ruling class and the middle class must be analyzed. When I first arrived to “Garazh” a few days after its opening, crowds of people were around me, and on all sides, I could hear approving guffaw. People liked it. Some crackled, some whistled. It was obvious that the kind of public that was at the VIP-opening of the biennale, and the public that stood in lineups all the subsequent days were the two constituents of cultural hegemony, its subject and object. What is important to understand here is their relation at the present stage.

Here, I would like to turn to Wallerstein’s interesting idea about the aristocratization of the bourgeoisie. During the entire history of the bourgeoisie, we witnessed an important contradiction between its rational logic and its hedonistic ambitions. The rational logic of the bourgeoisie prompted its protestant ethic—labour—where any excess should be invested in the augmentation of capital. On the other hand, there was a constant question about how to reap the benefits of accumulation in this lifetime. The bourgeoisie aims to revel in its riches, transferring the immediate functions of capital management to specially trained people. The bureaucratization of the world that Weber wrote about is connected precisely to this, when the bourgeoisie attempts to pass on the function of direct control to managers, foremen, i.e., employees, and instead of surplus, they subsist on rents. Wallerstein ponders, who, then, becomes the main consumer of this bourgeois ethic when the quality of the manager steadily increases, and the bourgeoisie is increasingly becoming an idle aristocracy? The middle class, while it is not the bourgeoisie, is ready to adopt bourgeoisness, a bare protestant ethic, where any delight in beauty is rationalized, turned towards the acquisition of another skill for the successful competition on the market.

The project of the Moscow biennale clearly shows for whom and by whom everything is made. We witness how the middle class is being constructed through cultural hegemony, ready to become the bourgeoisie, but lacking in one important quality—this middle class does not have a future. This bourgeoisie is prepared to live in the present. And this enjoyment of the present is precisely that guffaw and crackling which could be heard from the middle class in encountering the beautiful.

Keti Chukhrov: I would like to add that we never had a bourgeoisie. We never had the kind of capitalism that would allow the superstructure to reveal itself. It is very accurately noted that this is a level of the formation of the superstructure where the bourgeoisie acts on behalf of the voice of culture and intellect. I completely agree that the project of the biennale is an attempt to turn all sorts of ugly—primary accumulation or the habitus of shuttle trader bustle—into some sort of cultural pleasure.

I. Budraitskis: Truly, the formation of ideology is mediated by its relation to art. If the aristocracy is capable of generating some refined meanings, then the petty bourgeoisie is capable of consuming a secondary product, taking everything supplied to this secondary product into itself as lightweight ideological content.

Maneuvers for Sabotage

Ya. Kazhdan: I will continue my thought on the media element. Neither the first, nor the second biennale had such a massive support from the media. In their design, the posters announcing the event were reminiscent of the posters for the Moscow International Film Festival that year, which hung all around the city. Among potential consumers of this “branded entertainment,” there was zero chance of not noticing these iridescent-shimmering signs. 

I. Budraitskis: What you are talking about is precisely an invitation for the middle class—“Against exclusion”—come everyone.

M. Chehonadskih: Truly, the baton is relayed from the elite, or even an “aristocratized” bourgeoisie, to the middle class, and then distributed to all the actors of the artistic process. It is striking that truly everyone participates in the biennale. If we take a look at special projects and a parallel program, then we will see that all the commercial galleries, non-profit centres, museums, and alternative sites are also participating. A fair of contemporary art “ART Moskva” and the youth fair, “Universam,” [“Marketplace”] run parallel to it, being, in essence, unofficial parts of the project. Not only are different types of institutions connected to it, but also various artistic initiatives, as if it was their last opportunity to declare themselves. Each one seeks to apply, and it no longer matters what you offer. The organizers take you into the project regardless of the ideas and meanings you transmit, as long as the deadlines are met.

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Koen Vanmechelen. “Cosmopolitan Chicken” Project, 2008. Photo by Roman Suslov. Courtesy: Moscow Biennale Art Foundation

Ya. Kazhdan: Moreover, many of the participants of the project work on the construction of this blockbuster in a literal sense. It is no secret that the majority of the artists were not compensated for travels, and their works were “materialized” by third parties. Thus, anonymous biennale builders became bodies through which this ideology runs. What is left to say about cultural journalism, which implemented the most liberal media moves!? The most odious media holdings allowed themselves coverage of the construction of exhibits—filmic-montage constructions from the vernissages. If we were to consider this technique as a journalistic diary, then this type of transmission offers the kind of experience to the reader in which the hero is often played by a serial character of a “horizontal type” in character development. All these media stamps are widely mastered by the liberal literature and cinema of the last decade. Perhaps it is worth discussing the ideological component of this product in more detail?

I. Budraitskis: The same logic of the corporation, of a national project, exists here. Everything could be included in it, since all the financial streams must be concentrated in one place. From the perspective of mastering a budget, this rule works in all spheres and at all levels of state politics. In order to master a budget, it must be large and all-encompassing.

Ya. Kazhdan: Because the entire artistic environment is involved, what is at stake is a fight for audiences. At the very least, as some Russian Kulturträgers proclaim at the level of state forums on culture, what is fundamental for them is the number of visitors at exhibits. You need to gather everyone, lead everyone in, and as I already retroactively understand, this all happens just before municipal elections. The result is that we have become hamsters in a hamster wheel, that is, through our own grassroots initiatives, we propel this machine ourselves. It is not coincidental that this year the authorities placed a special bid on youth-oriented initiatives. As motivation, the offered slogan read: “Millions of fans await you.”

A. Parshikov: I thought it important to mention the phenomenon of the “capitalism of participation,” or the capitalism of acquisition. The corporation today works precisely like this. This is how Wikipedia, Google and Yandex function. You must work for them for free. You do not simply sell, but gift them your subjectivity, in such a way that you do not receive anything in return. Moreover, the corporation earns large sums of money from it. Capital captures the intellectual resource in the most crude and peremptory manner. This is pure theft. You are working for free for giant mega-corporations that lie to you about imaginary symbolic benefits. And you share your work, your own subjectivity, constantly involving yourself in this barter at the level of objects. A similar mechanism works in the biennale project. What is important is a moment of participation, this “wikinomics.” The large-scale project seizes the artistic community as a whole, regardless of political views or meanings of expression of its participants. Without exclusion [Translator’s note: “exclusion,” rather than “exception” corresponds with the play of words on the theme of the biennale]. “Biennalenomics.”

K. Chukhrov: They control the general intellect, “just for a minute!” And it becomes impossible to achieve an exodus from this system. Everyone says that when a class of non-material workers will emerge, a self-withdrawal will finally occur. Where is this self-withdrawal? Tell me, how is it possible to achieve it? What if all the members of the artistic and cultural spheres gathered and simply did not participate in one exhibition or another! Theoretically, this is possible. I have often asked this question, and I have frequently received the reply: “Well, if you’re not going to participate, then others will, but if we will participate, then at least it will be possible to correct the situation somehow.” 

A. Parshikov: But the mechanism of participation works the same way. You can correct and fix mistakes in Wikipedia. Thus, you think you are making a product fairer, caring about the consumers (to whom you would like to show something more important, in your opinion), contributing your subjectivity to this product, attempting to change something, but all this can be very simply seized, re-worked and converted. Strictly speaking, it may even be incorrect to say that we possess this mechanism; this standard mechanism is simply thrust on us—through it, a consumer is formed—but it is simply another element of the surrounding world. This mechanism is a means of production, but just not our means of production, rather, a means of production of a corporation, to which you bring an even larger capital through your corrections.

Ya. Kazhdan: The redirection and appropriation of an audience definitely makes sense. The whole situation around the Turner Prize, when artists resisted and organized strikes, serves as an example. They received special attention. However, their strategy was immediately appropriated by the Turner Prize itself. To me, this question remains especially painful. How, in this case, could resistance be distinguished from collaboration? The self-titled “Club of Former Messiahs” [“Club bivshih messiy”], a name that was once offered to us by Ksenia Peretrukhina, formed precisely from this sensation. Probably owing to this, we find ourselves hostages to a post-Soviet habit that dictates not to resist in solitude, but in some sense, to “rescue” those who are manipulated.

M. Chehonadskih: In my opinion, we have approached the most important question: is it possible not to participate in the biennale? I believe that without having tested these models of nonparticipation, declaring them a priori ineffective does not make sense, even if they have long ago ended in failure in the West.

K. Chukhrov: In the book “Empire,” Negri and Hardt say that there is a kind of model of production of the multitude in which a person’s consciousness becomes such that (s)he simply does not go into a place that (s)he understands (s)he cannot enter. (S)he is an already anthropologically different being, not just expressing some things about resistance, but anthropologically, unwilling to go into such spaces. It is necessary to produce the kinds of bodies and the kinds of consciousness that would simply not recognize that “this” is an exhibition, or art.

Ya. Kazhdan: As foolish as it may sound, it seems to me that we are sitting here and discussing this precisely because we are ready. It is obvious that something already happened within us. This is why we simply cannot see anything artistic in the discussed project, although we would’ve liked to.

I. Budraitskis: In order to speak about constructing counterhegemony and defining its strategies, it is necessary to identify its subject. This is the middle class, to which we must provide an alternative effect. Inevitably, a certain part of this middle class will become radicalized. The demand for alternatives will be born inside this layer on its own. Our strategy could be formulated as a return of a certain history. The history of the avant-garde, the history of resistance, the history of an emancipatory project.

K. Chukhrov: Are we a middle class?

I. Budraitskis: The most accurate response to this question could be formulated as follows: the middle class is a self-identification, and in reality, a false identification. In Russia, the majority of the middle class is comprised of wageworkers. Of course we belong to it. This is consistent with our education, lifestyle, and consumption. We could construct our politics within the middle class. The point of departure in the construction of counterhegemony is the fact that we have a lot more in common with this middle class than with the “aristocratized” bourgeoisie. The ruling elite is attempting to control it, but on the other hand, it will be that same elite that will implement layoffs, reduce wages, and debase to the very depths. The awareness of this contradiction and the inference of a strategy from it is the most fundamental question at the moment.

Planetary Neocolonialism

A. Parshikov: Why were the exhibitions “Magicians of the Earth,” and “Infinitum” not called biennales, but “Against exclusion” is presented as a biennale? After all, there is no difference between them. It is a similar collection of things (with a similar list of artists). What is their fundamental distinction? Is there any kind of investigation here? Any kind of analysis?

K. Chukhrov: We were presented with a fairly static and conservative museum exhibit without any attempt to demonstrate differences in artistic thought. Everything is contrived to the museum imagination of a single person. In the contemporary situation, even museum exhibits are not carried out with such logic. There is no biennale situation here; such a totalizing grasp is not intended for it.

A. Parshikov: At the first two biennales, the authorities did not actively interfere in contemporary art, but now we are witnessing its governmentalization. The catalog of the “Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art” opens with words of welcome from Surkov, the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, and Avdeev, the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation. The state has recognized its need for intervention and instrumentalization of contemporary art, its ideological importance.

K. Chukhrov: Back then, the context of an “aristocratized” bourgeoisie was not incorporated into the body of contemporary art. When it became involved, it created the kind of erosion that we have today.

Ya. Kazhdan: Truly, the resources of the bureaucratic apparatus are replenished with the environment of former cultural workers. Experts turn into administrators. I will refer to United Russia’s April anti-crisis forum “Strategy 2020,” where amongst participants were not just experts in the cultural sphere, but also such “media figures” as Anastasia Volochkova. Sitting down at this “semi-circular” table, they assumed the role of administrators. Not only questions concerning protest, but any kind of position is irrelevant in this kind of context. Much like the lyrics of a Russian rap song: “Cultural worker sell-outs follow orders to the dot/They know what they’re worth” [“prodazhnie kulturnie deyateli vse chetko ispolnayut, da tsenu sebe znayut”].

I. Budraitskis: The idea of demand of contemporary art as part of a state project is a starting point for the inception of biennales in Russia. But today, we have a situation when for the first time, a new generation of “aristocratized” bourgeoisie has entered the stage—Daria Zhukova, Maria Baibakova and others. These are people who return here from the West, and owing to this, a claim to a project of enlightenment is made, as Keti discussed earlier. The second generation of the new bourgeoisie interprets itself as part of the world elite.

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View of the exhibition at the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Photo by Roman Suslov. Courtesy: Moscow Biennale Art Foundation

A. Parshikov: Meanwhile, the exhibit “Against Exclusion” represents a dichotomy. On the one hand, Martin talks about the folk character of his project, on the other, we see a trade fair selection of very expensive “sellable” things there, and the kinds of things that not even every representative of the ruling class could afford. All this is reminiscent of an expensive boutique in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, but here, the price tags are not advertised; this is the kind of supermarket with a giant window display to which those same representatives of “the people” cling on the other side: they can hardly allow themselves to come closer, and even more so, to “try on” these things.

I. Budraitskis: One does not hinder the other. The impossibility of gaining possession of them is what mesmerizes. The freshness of perception about which Martin speaks is inherent to the Muskovite spectator entering a cultural space, that is, the middle class that sees everything through the eyes of a child. This is not folk culture that is produced by people, but a folk culture that is produced by a ruling elite. 

Ya. Kazhdan: The unity and cackling of the middle class happens at the level of children’s play balls, dripping water and crawling turtles. But here is what seemed striking to me: I was late for the opening at the “Garazh,” and having been “excluded” (the security guards no longer let anyone in), I waited for my friends at the gate. All these balls and dripping water were visible from the illuminated windows of “Garazh,” so the goods were turned facing the crowd standing at the entrance, but people did not disperse. Although the push of the crowd united people, many of those present were precisely the representatives of the ruling class. 

I. Budraitskis: It is very important that Martin’s project is antihistorical. What we have with the main project is a very clear and powerful message that everything that we can lean on, the entire avant-garde and modernist tradition—is nothing more than local Western culture. In the West, there exists modernism, but in Australia, a person could draw lines of fire and water all day. And when Russian artists were also integrated into the common context of the biennale project, their work appeared in a new way somehow.

The second layer is an obvious coupling with the idea of sovereign democracy. There is no universal concept of democracy that would include human rights and the right to assembly. As Surkov so wonderfully proclaims: if democracy is imperfect, it is the first sign that it exists. In that sense, the main biennale project is an incredible coupling of the political component of contemporary Russia, with the aesthetic.

K. Chukhrov: To some extent, everyone ridicules this exhibit and this ideology, understanding that the kind of image of the third world that is presented here does not correspond with reality. This is the kind of project that demonstrates the catastrophe of the Western world and Western culture, because it postulates a radical rejection of the idea; its farewell in creativity and art. The rejection of the idea is presented as an apology for colonialism. Based on this, we could even include retarded culture. Today, it is not the idea that is a hegemonic centre of the West, but technological and economic processes. Because administration requires nothing more than the know-how of high technologies and economics, there appears this eerie platform for art, and what remains is only a folk tune, an ornament. Thus, with this rejection of an idea, the entire emancipatory potential of Europe is self-excluded, but all the economic and technological models of hegemony remain.    

Many compare the main project of the Moscow biennale with the last documenta, although we understand that these projects are, for many reasons, simply impossible to compare. There, the idea of gathering absolutely all the situations of the third world was present as well, but the distinction was that the curator of the documenta collected local “modernisms”: Iranian, Chinese, that is, traditions of the 1960s–‘70s that were forgotten. The critique of the project was that modernism itself was not examined politically, but plastically and aesthetically, in which parallels could be drawn with the Moscow biennale. 

I. Budraitskis: I would like to draw your attention to an interesting moment concerning the “apologies for colonialism.” In a paradoxical way, the only ideological justification of colonialism was in its claim to possess a universal idea. At the moment that a rejection occurs, this is not a rejection of colonialism, but a rejection of any kind of justifications of colonialism. In reality, globalization, which is founded on economic inequality and its constant expansion, only strengthens distinctions. It is still colonialism, but without justifications, de-ideologized and thus even more cynical and unjust.

A. Parshikov: Let’s remember the title of documenta (12): “Is Modernism Our Antiquity?” Thus, the discussion was solely about European culture. And this exhibit justified the European Union’s protectionist neocolonial politics. Martin’s exhibit does not justify Russia’s protectionist politics, but just the opposite, it opens new markets of consumption—Indonesia, Oceania, Australia, Africa—that is, those regions that Russia never had in mind. We (or more accurately, our financial elite) are invited to see what is there, and when the elite opens up these new markets, then Russia enters into a global community and involves their yet-somewhat-autonomous capital in new streams, in new offshore zones, supporting the global market controlled by the West at a new level.

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Kimsooja. “Bottari Truck – Migrateurs” [“Truck with belonings”], 2007 Photo by Roman Suslov. Courtesy: Moscow Biennale Art Foundation

M. Chehonadskih: I would have rather turned to your idea concerning the exchange of problematization. Yes, the opening of faraway and exotic “new markets” is really happening. It turns out that there exists something fantastical somewhere out there, but somewhere here, right under our noses, we are invited to simply close our eyes to the problematic zone of post-Soviet space, which remains unsolved. The post-Soviet space is literally pushed out, shut out in favour of a new exotic, fairytale, almost unreal planetary territory. Existing perhaps only in the imaginary of the Russian consciousness, the African and Indonesian other arrive in order to dispel the horrors and nightmares of the real Other, which for us is this post-Soviet space. Our everyday collisions with it are mitigated by the lightning rod of everything exotic. Russia itself is becoming part of the planetary system, it is legitimated and included in global space; however, its place in that space is the same as among the Australian aborigines in relation to the West. And that is why new markets are not markets for Russia, but inversely, Russia performs the role of a new market for European countries not as a giant empire, but as a peripheral third world country.

I. Budraitskis: It seems to me, rather, that a slightly different economic and political connection exists here. The investment of capital presumes political, social and institutional conditions. The concept of sovereign democracy is connected with the idea of investing capital regardless of universal standards. In other words, we should not interest ourselves with what type of democracy or cultural situation exists in Africa, Russia, China. What we are interested in is that there are certain territories with their peculiarities; each of them presents a unique, flourishing part of the world, and we must relate to them in a corresponding manner: to include these territories into our own system of the circulation of capital.

A. Parshikov: Without a doubt. There exists this kind of calming and totalizing mechanism. Russian oligarchs have very little representation in the zone of free markets. The goal is to open new geographical locations, to involve their money in global circulation, and to create another small phase of development of the International Monetary Fund with the aid of the cultural industry.

K. Chukhrov: All these ethnic things could appear as goods, easily supplied to the global market. The situation does not change from within; however, art permits quick and easy access into the global market.

A. Parshikov: Many erroneously believe that Martin’s exhibit postulates equality. However, it is worth remembering Rancière who warned us that if we postulate equality, it means that we presume the existence of inequality a priori. Based on the example of this exhibit, we see how a successful Western civilization concerns itself with the slaving Third World; how it empathizes with the Third World, demonstrates its participation in its fate and the readiness to further discuss the theme of the plight of subjects of the global world.

K. Chukhrov: It is another matter altogether how you include me, and what you include of what I create. Who is this second subject who answered the call? Who is the author of this inclusion? The centre is absolutely the same. There is no decentration here.

A. Parhikov: “Garazh” is a non-governmental platform; however, the event itself carries certain ideological goals. Why, then, is it becoming realized on the territory of private space?

I. Budraitskis: Russian capitalism with its state corporations is not state capitalism. Any state corporation is founded on the indiscernibility about where the state begins and where it ends. A corporation is neither fully-state, nor fully-private. And from this point of view, the choice to place the main biennale project inside “Garazh” is a very vivid illustration of Russia’s corporate capitalism. It is a corporate platform for ideological projects of Russia’s hybrid ruling class, which includes both big business and the bureaucratic caste.

Moscow, 2009


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