Screening of Russian video art followed by a roundtable discussion

Video works by Petr Pavlensky, Taisiya Krougovykh, Anna Prikhodko, Ksenia Sorokina and Voina

Curated by Ekatarina Sharova and Tanja Thorjussen

"Dialogue" is a predictable concept in the context of intercultural relations and is frequently used in the bureaucratic or political language. With this event we want to invite the audience to delve into this often-used term based on Mikhail Bakhtin's approach to dialogue. The Russian philosopher Bakhtin claimed that relationships and connections exist among all living beings, and that dialogue creates a new understanding of situations that require change.In Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics he discusses the difference between the monological and polyphonic poetic approaches. Bakhtin believes that Dostoevskij's innovation has been to introduce the novel with several characters with different perspectives and opinions - unlike the novel in which all characters are objects that express the author's monologic voice. The dialogic relations between the narratives' subjects are linked to the ontological function of dialogue / polyphony as a basic idea saying that a continuation of dialogue is possible when one does not comprehend what the other thinks.

In the video works people communicate through attempts on action, invasion and bodily presence. The video works shows that there are several ways to establish dialogical relationships - without use of the verbal. Some communication attempts can be interpreted as failures, some as functioning. What meaning is produced through these communicative attempts?

After the screening of video works we will open a round table discussion. The aim is to discuss the dialogical compared to the bakhtinian view of the term which will be briefly presented in advance.

“Someone else’s repudiated thought cannot break out of the monologic context; on the contrary, it is confined all more harshly and implacably within its own boundaries. Another’s repudiated thought is not capable of creating alongside one consciousness another autonomous consciousness, if repudiation remains a purely theoretical repudiation of the thought as such” (Bakhtin 1999)

The quoted idea is not only characteristic for the so-called "monological" ideological or poetic discourse but also that which is intended or presented as "polyphonic". The knowledge of Russia in Norway are still based on narratives from media that constantly reproduce their own stereotypes. The same can be said about the perception of Norway or the West in Russia.

Can we in Norway read the polyphony of the Russian contemporary history and contemporary art, or are we dominated by the monological approach?


PETR PAVLENSKY (b. 1984) is from St. Petersburg and a graduate of the Stieglitz art academy. He is an editor of the art magazine Political Propaganda and has participated in a project led by the art group Chto Delat. Pavlensky uses video, performance and text in his works. He became known through Russian and international media for his strong political actions in public spaces. In the work "An Anonymous Nazi" appears a young body covered with scars and tattoos. The body belongs to a Russian neo-Nazi in his teens who tells how he witnessed the murder of a man from Caucasus. What is the premises for a teenager expressing normality by killing another human being?

TAISIYA KROUGOVYKH (b. 1981) is a graduate of Rodchenko Art School in Moscow (department of video art) has exhibited at Winzavod (Moscow), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and participated in art residence TOP E.W. during dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel together with other students from the school. She has worked on migration issues and political themes in her art. In her video "beard", an older man with a beard and christmas gifts is the main figure. The scene takes place in an urban context, on New Year's Eve. It is only we who see the man and his magic, while in his surroundings he remains invisible and marginalized. Taisiya was nominated for the prestigious Kandinsky Prize in a nomination for young artists in July 2013.

ANA PRIKHODKO (b. 1989) is a trained graphic artist from Moscow University of Printing Arts and animation artist at Chungbuk National University (South Korea). She has worked with animation and is currently studying New Media at Rodtsjenko school. In her work "Artist's Statement" we see the artist in front of the camera in an attempt to communicate something to us who are viewing. What is she communicating and why in this way without the use of verbal language?

KSENIA SOROKINA (b. 1986) is from Astrakhan, but lives and works in Moscow. She is a graduate of Astrakhan 'Art College, Mkhat School Studio and RATI / GITIS Theatre Academy.The work "My Survival Strategy" is autobiographical, but reflects a general tendency. It shows how a young artist, new to Moscow, live in conditions characterized by precarity, and the growing phenomenon of insecurity among workers in creative fields both in Russia and globally. In the urban jungle one is forced to communicate with people in innovative ways in order to survive.

VOINA defines itself as a revolutionary group of Russian artists who have performed radical protests and actions in public space since 2005. The group has consisted of more than sixty members, artists and students of the Rodchenko Art School, Moscow State University, the University of Tartu and including members of the then future feminist punk collective Pussy Riot. The concert "Cock in Ass - All Cops Are Bastards, You ought to Remember That" took place in a courtroom on 29 May 2009 during the hearing of Andrei Yerofeev who curated the exhibition "Forbidden Art - 2006". The video we show is a documentation of the artist groups' action where punk music is selected as an artistic and political move.