whose name derives from “What is to be done?” by Chernyshevsky (1863) and Lenin’s eponymous pamphlet (1902), merges political theory, art, and activism. A self-organized platform for cultural workers since 2003, it politicizes “knowledge production” through reflections and redefinitions of engaged autonomy in cultural practice.
Founded in early 2003 in Petersburg, the collective Chto Delat (What is to be done?) opens a space inspired by the urgency of merging of political theory, art, and activism. The members of the collective include artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from Petersburg and Moscow (see full list at website www.chtodelat.org).
The activities of the collective is realized in the form of art projects, seminars and public campaigns. The video works, installations, murals, learning plays, musicals, public actionsand radio programs produced by the collective have their own educational value as a first claim. The motto of all activities is: educate, entertain, inspire; and its goal is to undermine the way how cultural production is organized.
Chto delat has been publishing a bilingual newspaper in English and Russian on issues central to engaged culture. It focuses on the politicization of the Russian cultural situation in dialogue with the international context. These newspapers are usually produced in the frame self-organised collective initiatives such as art projects, educational seminars and activist campaigns.
Recent solo exhibitions of Chto Delat have taken place at the Staatliche Kuntsthalle Baden-Baden (2011), Cologne Kunstverein (2011), Moderna Gallerija Ljubliana (2011) and ICA London (2010). Works by the group have been included in such notable exhibitions as Former West, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2013; the 10th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea (2012); Ostalgia, New Museum (2011); 9th Istanbul Biennale (2009); Plug-ins, Van Abbemuseum (2008). Chto Delat’s members are present at many important intellectual forums on art and theory.