STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in Russian Federation: the diplomatic mission
May
19
7:00 PM19:00

STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in Russian Federation: the diplomatic mission

On May 19, the diplomatic mission will be officially open for general public. 
The elements of the installation of the diplomatic mission in the space of Agency of Singular Investigations at Fabrika CCI include the rhizome, the wall map-installation made of 23 individual alu-dibond tiles. Anyone can go through the procedure of obtaining identification number and place an order for issuing an identity card of a citizen of STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND.

On May 17−19, 2018 in the space of the Agency for Singular Investigations in CCI Fabrika will open the information and diplomatic mission STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND under the auspices of the Avenir Institute (London-Brussels-Berlin-Athens), the first event in the framework of the special program of the PolitPlanetarium. The PolitPlanetarium program will present selected projects dedicated to the artistic cartography of psycho-political in the context of growing communication networks, digitalization, virtualization and the evolution of bio-techno-linguistic control and management systems. 

 

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STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in Russian Federation: the lecture
May
17
7:00 PM19:00

STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in Russian Federation: the lecture

On May 17, Avenir Institute will deliver to the lecture steɪt əv nəʊlænd [State of Noland]: on potent futures post- sovereignty, nationalism & imperialism. The questions of futurity of state-after-state, principles of alternative self-governing and practical roadmap towards building political communities will be discussed. The directors of the Institute will present both theoretical framework of the research project and elements of its practical implementation, such as usage of blockchain technology.

On May 17−19, 2018 in the space of the Agency for Singular Investigations in CCI Fabrika will open the information and diplomatic mission STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND under the auspices of the Avenir Institute (London-Brussels-Berlin-Athens), the first event in the framework of the special program of the PolitPlanetarium. The PolitPlanetarium program will present selected projects dedicated to the artistic cartography of psycho-political in the context of growing communication networks, digitalization, virtualization and the evolution of bio-techno-linguistic control and management systems. 

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Queering Mythography for Alternative Futures
May
12
5:00 PM17:00

Queering Mythography for Alternative Futures

Hesiod’s Theogony is a profoundly political poem that introduced deities to embody the concepts of justice, good governance, social peace, strife, war and others. These deities and the hierarchal relations between them, such as structuring the world around patriach-Zeus, left a fundamental mark on contemporary understanding and interpretation of socio-political imaginary and ‘normality’. In this lecture-performance, Avenir Institute will discuss this timeless context first introduced by Theogony. Special attention will be paid to Zeus, Athena and Dionysos, as representations of past, present and alternative futures. 

After the introduction, participants will be invited to perform an anticipatory creative writing exercise, which is structured around developing the stories of the protagonists with high potential to form alternative futures, such as Styx, Medea, Prometheus and more. We recommend to read Theogony (in short translated, and adapted to prose version) in advance: https://drive.google.com/open…. However those unfamiliar with the text will receive basic introduction to it during the lecture.

The event is a part of The Mimosa House Queer Futures public programme and exhibition. Queer Futures is a public programme of events and exhibition exploring narratives for queer resistance, from mythology and folklore to speculative science fiction. The programme will include performances, screenings, discussions and workshops and each event will leave a contribution in the space to form a gradually expanding archive.

This event is free and everyone is welcome.

Image: Avenir Institute. “Altar of Zeusian Justice”. Avenir Institute, 2018.

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Metamorphosis into Post-Human Statehood: from X-land to No-Land
May
3
6:00 PM18:00

Metamorphosis into Post-Human Statehood: from X-land to No-Land

The nation state is a literal backbone of the present reality. Despite the perception of its immanence and eternal futures, it is actually around for less than two centuries in a known to us form. It is not a secret that its institutions are not fitting the challenges and aspirations we, as societies, have now. The nation states cannot effectively address the challenges of climate change, international governance and simply human needs. And how about post-human needs? The AI and supercomputers empowering the alternative forms of self-organisation: however the nation state does anything in its grasp to survive, even if it is purely destructive. It is representing a very specific way of defining “sovereignty” – as a legal way to oppress and regulate, in a limitless fashion, via having complete and final control over interpretation of the present and defining the singular future. Apart of that, a nation state is completely unprepared for the challenge of expanding the concept of humanity to the next stage, where ‘homo sapiens’ will diversity naturally, artificially and legally. In our talk, we will propose a radical and practical way of thinking and embodying an alternative to statehood as concentration of power and withholding of sovereignty by one, hierarchal, centralised mega-institution, a nation state. It is based on elaboration of potentiality of the technologies such as blockchain and crypto, state’s own potentially disruptive innovations like Estonian e-identity, open source services like The Open University – as an unstable, functional constellation of the interconnected, symbiotic platforms. They are located in horizontal space, which doesn’t imply dominance and based on the cross-checking possibility, evading fabrications and minimising possible manipulations. It is a living infrastructure that is meant to address the pertaining institutional problem: inertia. We call it “State of Noland”: a condition of not aligning with nation state and particular geopolitical territory as well as possible formations of practical replacement of nation-state functionality with rhizomatic (from ‘rhizome’ – a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes), pastiche, assemblage of alternatives. In our talk, we would like to present this structure and its potentiality to become a model for an alternative to statehood in post-humanist world.

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steɪt əv nəʊlænd [State of Noland]: On potent futures post‐ sovereignty, nationalism & imperialism
Apr
25
5:45 PM17:45

steɪt əv nəʊlænd [State of Noland]: On potent futures post‐ sovereignty, nationalism & imperialism

The nation state is a modern fiction, but despite all the criticism of it, it is still regarded as a fundamental component of the political order, a tabula rasa for (re)structuring power. State of Noland proposes a different 'state of mind’, not aligned with any geopolitical entity, and a 'state-after-state’ as a constellation of practices that functionally replace nation-state monopoly.

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Futures Theogony
Apr
22
6:30 PM18:30

Futures Theogony

After the fall of Zeus’ patriarchate, the doors are open for the new concepts of justice(s) to reform the reality, abandon ”everlasting” norms and discover the potentiality of alternative ways to imagine social, political and cultural narratives and commonality. 

The result of the experimental process of group anticipatory writing of Futures Theogony will be presented in a form of a narrative opera, which morphs the elements a lecture-performance, a media presentation, a reading and more mediums.

The libretto:

Prologue - “Things That Even Gods Hate”
Act 1 - “Athena-Dionysian Justice”
Act 2 - “Hephestena”
Act 3 - “Aphrodite” 
Epilogue - “...Beware of the Trickster”
Intermezzo - The Cyclops

Doors closed/performance starts: 18.30
Duration: approx. 1 hour

New Hesiod, assembled by Avenir Institute: Dariko Tsulaya, Stella Cristolfini, Denis Maksimov, Timo Tuominen, Gian Spina, Rodrigo Andreolli, Panagiotis Kontolaimos, Demeter Stavropoulou, Brell Wilson & others.

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Queering Theogony for Alternative Futures: Introduction
Mar
29
7:00 PM19:00

Queering Theogony for Alternative Futures: Introduction

Following the critical reading group, that toom place in AMOQA (Athens Museum of Queer Arts) in February, Avenir Institute, Rodrigo Andreolli and Gian Spina continue experimental analysis of anticipatory work with the content and the context of Hesiod’s Theogony. Focusing on figures of Athena and Dionysos, as well as other potent protagonists of the poem such as Aphrodite, Styx, Medea and Prometheus, they will speak about the process of their collective critical analysis and its implications. How unlocking the potency of the past can change the possibility of alternative futures? 

During one month of open to public sessions, the research group will collaboratively work on futures-oriented continuation of Hesiod’s Theogony and develop potentiality of the characters and events of the classical text. The result will be presented in the form of performative oral storytelling, where the myth of the desirable future will be told, which will be held on April 22. 

During this talk, we will also announce how the working process and structure of our work will be set up during our time in Communitism. 

Everyone is welcome!

If you are missing this informal gathering/talk, please indicate your interest to participate via email to denis@avenirinstitute.info and we will send you details, dates and more information.  

Image: Avenir Institute, Athena-Dionysian Justice (detail of the installation), 2018

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Queer Futures: Reading Group
Feb
22
6:30 PM18:30

Queer Futures: Reading Group

In “The Normalisation of Queer Theory”, David Halperin writes: “Queer” is such a simple, unassuming little word… originally came into being as a joke”. Its establishment in academic circles and acceptance led to conversations about ’normalisation’ of queer as robbing it off its revolutionary power. As Halperin notes: "Even to define queer… is to limit its potential…”. Apart of Halperin’s “The Normalisation of Queer Theory”, we’ll look into dialogues of Dionysos and Pentheus Euripides “The Bacchae” and Judith Halberstam’s “The Queer Art of Failure”.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/2008049079519354/?ti=icl

[image: Avenir Institute, Athena-Dionysian Justice (detail), 2018]

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 Queering Theogony: Critical Reading Group
Feb
5
to Feb 9

Queering Theogony: Critical Reading Group

  • Athens Museum of Queer Arts (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Theogony of Hesiod is a ‘Rosetta stone’ of Ancient theogonies: its elaborate form allows to look into the Ancient World from cosmopolitan perspective, as “…the other Near Eastern theogonies, including the Greek rivals of Homer and Hesiod, reach us only in fragmentary form, we have little to compare with Hesiod’s poem and little basis for a description of how and why early Greek poetry approached the subject of the origins and relationships of the gods” [1]. Another academic authority on the subject highlights: “...the basic design has a monumental simplicity and grandeur... There is a geometric pattern reminiscent of the geometric style in early Greek art... Hesiod lived in an age innocent of philosophy” [2].

During the reading and discussion sessions we apply various strategies of critical reading to narrative of Theogony. Our aim is to identify and discuss potentiality of ruptures within it, supported by critical dissection and available researches of the structure of the text. Departure from the text itself is fundamental as the layers of interpretations are robbing it off the actual ideological multiplicity. As Nietzsche put it, “It would be a pity if the classics should speak to us less clearly because a million words stood in the way” [1].

References:
[1] Robert Lamberton. Hesiod. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1988.
[2] Norman O. Brown. Hesiod Theogony. The Library of Liberal Arts, 1953 (5th edition, 17th printing, 1976). 

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Destabilising/Queering National Archeological Museum
Feb
4
11:00 AM11:00

Destabilising/Queering National Archeological Museum

National Archeological Museum in Athens hosts probably the most impressive collection of the objects of material culture and history of Ancient Greek civilisation. Using the methodologies of critical ideographic reading, we will decipher alternative readings of the past in order to unlock potentialities of alternative futures in it. 

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Queering Theogony: towards Mythology for Alternative Futures
Feb
1
7:00 PM19:00

Queering Theogony: towards Mythology for Alternative Futures

Join us for the lecture-presentation of Denis Maksimov, co-founder ofAvenir Institute, on potentiality of classical text, Hesiod Theogony, to become a laboratory for generating possible futures through methodologies of critical reading. 

Revisiting and revitalising transhistorical contemporaneity of Theogony today is a task of paramount importance, specifically in relation to possible futures of identity, queer narrative and critique of socio-political institutions. Before the emergence of epistemology, often assigned to Plato, the understanding of concepts of ‘knowledge’, ‘power’ and ‘justice’ was much more competitive and diverse. Those alternative interpretations can allow us to challenge 'fundamentality' of contemporary capitalist colonial patriarchy and so-called ‘normal’ institutions at the very core of their emergence on the level of mythological archetypes.

Apart of introduction into the narrative and structure of ongoing collective interdisciplinary research, the reading group modus operandi, aims and programme will be presented. 
The reading group meetings, which will be hosted by AMOQA (Athens Museum of Queer Arts), as well as accompanying film programme, will occur during the next week (February 5-10) and include critical reading, screenings and collective visits to the museums. It is the first step towards approximately year-long collective cycle of studies.

Entrance is free, all welcome! 

After the lecture, it will be possible to inscribe for participation in the sessions. 

When / February 1, 19.00 - 22.00
What / Queering Theogony: towards Mythology for Alternative Futures
By whom / Rodrigo AndreolliAkis Chontasis, Denis Maksimov, Gian Spina
Where / Romantso, Αnaxagora 3-5 · Αθήνα, Greece

[image credit: Birth of Athena, 
from Arthur Bernard Cook. Zeus, A Study in Ancient Religion. Vol 3. Zeus God of the Dark Sky (Earthquakes, Clouds, Wind, Dew, Rain, Meteorites). Part 1. Text and Notes. Cambridge University Press, 1940]

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Mythology for Queer Futures
Oct
17
7:00 PM19:00

Mythology for Queer Futures

Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss wrote in the introduction to “Mythologiques”: “I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact” [1]. The political is present in the very fabric of cultural matter and its roots are deeply embedded in mythology. Hesiod wrote in “Theogony” that the Muses gave him “the awareness within himself of a new ability to compose poetry about matters past and future” [2]. Before we will be able to legitimise alternative socio-political systems, we need to push the mythological narratives further beyond both ancient and contemporary variations of Zeusian Justice “…it would perhaps be better to go still further … proceed as if the thinking process were taking place in the myths, in their reflection upon themselves and their interrelation” [1]. What signs of possible futures the works of the ancient poets can contain?

The focus is on the two paramountly important protagonists. Athena leaped out from Zeus’s head after he swallowed his first wife, that was promised to deliver him son who’d overthrow him from Olympus just as he did with his father Kronos. Zeus therefore became mother and father to the Olympian goddess, who never married or mothered a child and was the only one to be entrusted with his thunderbolts. Dionysus, the son of Zeus and the only half-mortal member of the Twelve Olympians, was torn apart and resurrected twice (once by Athena saving his heart), was mocked by elder gods and turned the insult into the weapon and the symbol of power. 

What could the lost and silenced narratives of the epic past tell us about possible futures?

[1] Marcel Hénaff. Claude Lévi-Strauss and the Making of Structural Anthropology. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London, 1998. p. 108. 
[2] Glenn W. Most (ed.). Hesiod: Theogony, Work and Days, Testimonia. Harvard University Press, London, 2006. Introduction, xiv.

(by Denis Maksimov)

Image: collage of marble head of Athena with Corinthian helmet (reign of Hadrian, AD 117-138) and marble head of Dionysus from Piraeus, late 4th century BC

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This Storm is What We Call Progress
Oct
10
6:30 PM18:30

This Storm is What We Call Progress

  • 87 Crampton Street London, England, SE17 3AZ United Kingdom (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The lecture-manifesto "This Storm is What We Call Progress", reflecting on the essence of political plasma, will be presented in the context of the opening of the total installation "Storming" by Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai at the Elephant & Castle Experimental Space. 

In a theatrical manner, the co-curator (Denis Maksimov) will deliver the public original text, combined out of the quotations from some of the world’s best speeches. The selected authors, among whom in particular are Pericles, Socrates, Elizabeth I and Queen of the Crime Council O-Ren Ishii, represent political, social, apologetic, personal and other modнes of storming the convention, idleness, oppression, ignorance for the sake of utopian emancipation // В театральной манере cо-куратор тотальной инсталляции прочитает публике оригинальный текст, представляющий собой коллаж цитат из лучших мировых речей. Избранные авторы, среди которых в частности Перикл, Сократ, Елизавета I и королева совета токийской мафии О-Рен Иши, представляют разнообразные аспекты (политические, социальные, апологетические, личные, др) призыва к штурму как утопической эмансипации от конвенции, безделья, угнетения, невежества.

The performance starts 18.30 sharp and lasts just over 5 minutes. 

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(Im)Perfect Futures
Sep
13
4:00 PM16:00

(Im)Perfect Futures

  • 17 ulitsa Gorkogo Yekaterinburg, Sverdlovskaya oblast', 620075 Russian Federation (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

with Ivar Maskutov (PostNauka), Denis Maksimov (Avenir Institute), Agency of Singular Investigations, Benjamin Bratton (Strelka, The New Normal), Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (Radical Imagination, UCL and The New School), Natalia Akhmerova (Agency Mars Dreams), moderated by Igor Akhmerov

Screening of videos artworks, curated by Avenir Institute, in the intermissions between speakers’ addresses: “Pandemonium” (each about 5 mins) by GVN908, «Кровь, что течет в нас» by Sonny Sanjay Vadgama, the teaser of “Hypernormalisation” by Adam Curtis

Do you remember the future? The dreams of interplanetary escape from the Earth and its problems are not a novelty. Utopian thinking is a form of critical dissection of the real, as well as mental escape from the political impotence. What the the utopia of leaving the Earth tells about our present? The convention and normality are in the centre of preserving everlasting stability of the everyday. The reluctance to change and fear of conscious adaptation to rapidly changing environment is enforcing the wall of ignorance, which finds its most vivid visualisation in recent political turbulence. The end of history hasn’t happened: instead ‘the real’ had scattered in pieces like a broken looking glass, opening potentiality for infinite subjective interpretations. How the promise of multiplicity of possible futures is reflected in arts and engages with the disciplines beyond it? 

In the context of the launch of Agency Mars Dreams this year, the invited speakers represent the broad spectrum of contemporary approaches to futures as a subject of transdisciplinary investigations. Each of them is invited to shortly address the raised questions in individual and free form. The only limitation is time: 10 minutes. After the panelists will join the conversation, moderated by Igor Akhmerov, and after the floor to the questions from the audience

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documenta: learning from Balashikha
Sep
10
5:00 PM17:00

documenta: learning from Balashikha

  • 1 Kotelnicheskaya naberezhnaya Moskva, Moscow, 109240 Russian Federation (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Avenir Institute, Oleg Borodin, Anton Zabrodin, Katya Isaeva, Sergey Kischenko, Ikuru Kuvajima, Grisha Munrikov and Ira Tsyhanskaya, Maria Kapajeva, Natalia Timofeeva, Asya Zhetvina and others

Critical theory can be compared with ouroboros - a snake that is devouring its own tail. One of the most anticipated events in contemporary art world, documenta, has been taking place in sleepy Kassel since 1955. In 2017 we experience “art eclipse”: Venice Biennale, documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster all are in conjunction. 

“Learning from Athens” is the topic of “ecliptic” documenta14, for the first time taking place in two cities simultaneously. The capital of Greece and motherland of democracy became the point of departure for the curator Adam Szymczyk. Still-the-centre-of-the-(art)-world-Europe faced historical “eclipse” of crises: economic as a consequence of global financial collapse of 2008; political, in the result of Brexit; geopolitical, caused by turmoil in Ukraine, Middle and Central East[ migrational, with the largest registered wave of migrants and refugees from Africa and Eurasia in the recent history; and as well religious, ideological, etc. Moralistic context of the documenta14 curatorial concept offers to reflect on the subject of collective and universal values, formulated thousands of years ago by free citizens (although slave-owning ones) of the Ancient Greek poleis. How unique this period of “super-crises” and how acceptable is the euro-centric outlook on the the course of the “ship” in the midst of storms of contemporaneity? Is it possible “to learn” somewhere else now, for instance in Balashikha? 

The group of artists, researchers and curators have decided after visiting documenta14 or learning about it from numerous reviewing and critical sources to have a look at the “eclipse” without protective glasses, just as Donald Trump from the balcony of the White House. 

text: Denis Maksimov

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(Im)Perfect Futures: utopia as escape, inspiration, critique and danger
Sep
10
4:00 PM16:00

(Im)Perfect Futures: utopia as escape, inspiration, critique and danger

Discussion. Participants: Ivar Maskutov (PostNauka), Denis Maksimov (Avenir Institute), Hani Rashid (Asymptote Architecture), Dr Maya Van Leemput (ReelFutures), Natalya Akhmerova (Mars Dreams Agency). Moderator: Igor Akhmerov.

Do you remember the future? The dreams of interplanetary escape from the Earth and its problems are not a novelty. Utopian thinking is a form of critical dissection of the real, as well as mental escape from the political impotence. What the utopia of leaving the Earth tells about our present? The convention and normality are in the centre of preserving everlasting stability of the everyday. The reluctance to change and fear of conscious adaptation to rapidly changing environment is enforcing the wall of ignorance, which finds its most vivid visualisation in recent political turbulence. The end of history hasn’t happened: instead ‘the real’ had scattered in pieces like a broken looking glass, opening potentiality for infinite subjective interpretations. How the promise of multiplicity of possible futures is reflected in arts and engages with the disciplines beyond it?

The invited speakers represent the broad spectrum of contemporary approaches to futures as a subject of transdisciplinary investigations.

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The Bitter Plums of Chelsea Manning: An Opera in Three Acts
Jun
22
8:15 PM20:15

The Bitter Plums of Chelsea Manning: An Opera in Three Acts

Deyson Gilbert with collaborators Avenir Institute (Denis Maksimov & Timo Tuominen), Gabriel Francisco Lemos and Tom N presents The Bitter Plums of Chelsea Manning: An Opera in Three Acts. Two panellists present images on a screen and talk about the contradictory parts of an amputated body. A singer struggles to remember an unknown hymn. In the backstage, an audio technician controls a radio while a cameraman thinks about Ivanka Trump. A libretto handed to the audience quotes Richard Wagner: "Joy is not in things: it is in us".

RSVP:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/re-collections-tickets-32720933192

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Temple of Futures Thinking
Jun
16
to Jul 2

Temple of Futures Thinking

  • Elephant & Castle Experimental Space (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

After presentation in Sao Paulo earlier this year, the Temple of Futures Thinking will be mounted in Elephant & Castle Experimental Space in London. 

"As a summary of the think tank’s transdisciplinary researches between 2015 and 2016, Avenir Institute presents the total installation Temple of Futures Thinking. The political theologist Carl Schmitt argued about the nature of political as inherently religious. The belief in the sacred nature of the non-visualisable notions of ‘social contract’ or ‘democracy’ is quite proximate to the assurance in life after death, the existence of karma and so forth. Why then to settle for a limited one-dimensionality of monotheistic and autocratic teachings of the books?

The Temple of Futures Thinking is critical: it does not o er answers on the eternal questions, but it twists the processes of re ection about their roots. Knowledges are in nitely plural as are the possible interpretations of thinking patterns. Just like in Ancient Greek mythology, the literal is poetic and the poetic is literal. It is the superposition of human intellectual and emotional intelligence. The total installation consists of 7 brass mind maps with the core terms for contemporary futures thinking introduced by the Institute, the lecture- performance “The Epistemology of Border”, which digs critically in the nature of enclosed systemic thinking, and the publication “Against the Future or Building the Temple of Futures Thinking”.

In the midst of the socio-political search for a new modernity, triggered by the perceived collapse of the postmodern promise, and the settling for the convenient refuge in nostalgia, we o er a focus on futures thinking as the way to replace the blind simplicity with a beautiful and multidimensional complexity. If we are anthropologically inclined to believe in something, let it be the belief in the limitlessness of human potentiality."

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State of Noland
Apr
20
7:00 PM19:00

State of Noland

What is the State of Noland? 

It is a condition of not aligning with nation state and particular geopolitical territory as well as possible formations of practical replacement of nation-state functionality with rhizomatic (“rhizome” - is a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes), pastiche, assemblage alternatives. Nation state is a modern fiction, a child of Thomas Hobbes “Leviathan” and birth of nationalism in 19 century. None of the existing countries on the political map of today fulfil the requirements of the concept of nation state in political theory. Can we imagine the rhizomatic organs without the body (functionality without the current system frame), inverting and developing ideas of Antonin Artaud in theatre and and Gilles Deleuze in philosophy and applying it to politics?

Lecture-performance by Denis Maksimov, which will be followed by a conversation with Teresa Cos, Artist in residency at WIELS contemporary art centre, Brussels, Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary-General of the Party of European Socialists, Ryan Heath, Senior EU Correspondent at POLITICO Europe moderated by Giuseppe Porcaro, who will read excerpts from the draft manuscript of DISCO SOUR. 

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Potentiality in Grey Zones
Mar
29
7:30 PM19:30

Potentiality in Grey Zones

The spaces where the rules are uncertain and the boundaries can be compromised open the portals for shifting expected, normal and predictable in the position of productive confusion. “Grey Zones” wear no ideological colours and positions: they are the spaces of possible. METASITU and Avenir Institute embarked on the journey of transdisciplinary research of the notion of “greyness” in personal, spacial and political dimensions, which are intersecting with one another in synergic way. Can “greyness” be a transitional space from hierarchical to rhizomathic formation of institutions? Is it a lifestyle, a combination of life hacks, a space of authentic freedom? Can it be wielded in a concious strategy of acquiring power? 

The lecture is a result of the first stage of the joint research of METASITU and Avenir Institute started at the Penthouse Art Residency. 

METASITU is transdisciplinary collective of Eduardo Cassina (ES) and Liva Dudareva (LV), based in Athens.

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Against the Future
Feb
16
to Mar 11

Against the Future

The future is a pastiche of relational and extrapolative images of expectations, desires and fears. Avenir Institute was founded in summer 2015 with the mission of exploring the questions on potentialities in possible futures. This was a gesture towards challenging the prevailing linear thinking in philosophy, politics, technology and arts.

As a summary of the think tank’s transdisciplinary researches between 2015 and 2016, Avenir Institute presents the total installation Temple of Futures Thinking. The political theologist Carl Schmitt argued about the nature of political as inherently religious. The belief in the sacred nature of the non-visualisable notions of ‘social contract’ or ‘democracy’ is quite proximate to the assurance in life after death, the existence of karma and so forth. Why then to settle for a limited one-dimensionality of monotheistic and autocratic teachings of the books? 

The Temple of Futures Thinking is critical: it does not offer answers on the eternal questions, but it twists the processes of reflection about their roots. Knowledges are infinitely plural as are the possible interpretations of thinking patterns. Just like in Ancient Greek mythology, the literal is poetic and the poetic is literal. It is the superposition of human intellectual and emotional intelligence. The total installation consists of 7 brass mind maps with the core terms for contemporary futures thinking introduced by the Institute, the lecture-performance “The Epistemology of Border”, which digs critically in the nature of enclosed systemic thinking, and the publication “Against the Future or Building the Temple of Futures Thinking”. 

In the midst of the socio-political search for a new modernity, triggered by the perceived collapse of the postmodern promise, and the settling for the convenient refuge in nostalgia, we offer a focus on futures thinking as the way to replace the blind simplicity with a beautiful and multidimensional complexity. If we are anthropologically inclined to believe in something, let it be the belief in the limitlessness of human potentiality.

--

Opening of the exhibition and lecture-performance 'The Epistemology of Border': February 16, 19.00 - 22.00 (Projeto Fidalga, Rua Fidalga 299, Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo. 

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Do You Remember the Future?
Jan
27
7:00 PM19:00

Do You Remember the Future?

"It may be that the growth of science and engineering inevitably outstrips the development of political expertise, leading to disaster" - recently noted Brian Cox, an Advanced Fellow of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. One of the paramount issues about futures of humanity is its possible resilience to the socio-political paradoxes of behavioural (ir)rationality. While technological progress constantly multiplies the speed of changes and expands the vision of 'possible', political staleness and supported by it illusion of everlasting present of anthropological time keeps the common conciousness (even if it exists) in a flat state. What are the perks of expanding distance between technology and politics? Can epistemology and hermeneutics become pro-active agents? What role plays art in the constant misbalance?  

Avenir Institute was established as a think tank at the intersection of aesthetics, epistemology, politics and technology by Denis Maksimov and Timo Tuominen in summer 2015. The duo, following phisophical speculations of Jacques Derrida, introduced the term 'avenir' as an event, a rupture, an obvious crack within the  physiologically comforting illusion of relative predictability. The path towards it's inception in the current form of post-disciplinary, extra-territorial entity started 6 years before, when Timo and Denis met first time in Berlin. 

In the lecture they will actualise the agenda and problematics of the Institute, including methodologies and research inquiries. They will touch upon the possible, the preferable, the probable and the plausible futures of contextual environments. 

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Fauna for Futures
Jan
7
11:00 AM11:00

Fauna for Futures

When the going gets weird, the weird gets pro (Hunter Thompson)

Old traditions don’t seem to work anymore while new ones haven’t yet established. The pertaining state of uncertainty becomes uncomfortable. Rapid advancement of formal acceptance of otherness causes alienation and a renaissance of nostalgia. 

Black swans, elephants, jellyfish, (white) ravens, etc. are used not only as the metaphors to highlight possible emerging issues, but as alter-egos for the protection of otherness. They represent the internalised and externalised challenges and potentials that keep futures rich. 

Fusing futures, aesthetics and critique, Agence Future and Avenir Institute organise an experience of creating the (un)familiar Other, that speaks of reality and ways of writing yesterday, today and multiple tomorrows. 

The workshop is invitation-only and is a part of Uncertainty Scenarios project of Enough Room for Space.

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Moirai Realität
Dec
1
to Dec 31

Moirai Realität

The exercise of constructing reality through the gaze of the viewer is the focus of the installation and performance developed by Avenir Institute for Platform Berlin. "Moirai Realität" is a critical reflection on the process of narrating, legitimising and consuming the subjective "real" in the age of media. As Nietzsche murdered the divinity and post-modernism granted access to ultimate freedom in designing one's values and perceptions, the new normal shifted towards somewhat confusing personalised pick-and-choose 'curation' out the randomness of ever-increasing information flow. Welcome to my official very own reality as your Instagram account proclaims.

Moirai are the goddesses-witches in the Greek Mythology that stitch the carpet of fate for both wo(man) and Gods. They are among few characters feared even by the Olympians. 

The installation consists of the set of printed statements on the walls of the Platform and the numbered balls, which are drawn from the bowl to be turned into a fresh narration of a constructed reality. The order of drawing the balls by the performers sums up in a reason-consequence sequence, which is in fact randomly composed by impartial "moirai": beyond morals, strategies and schemes.

Performance will take place at the opening on December 1 and will be accompanied by Filthy French music interventions, which were composed specially for the event in collaboration with Avenir Institute. 

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Post-VR: Society and Politics
Nov
23
7:30 PM19:30

Post-VR: Society and Politics

Advent of the Virtual Reality (VR) challenges the structures of society and political system with new opportunities and risks. At the same time the coefficients of 'happiness' gradually replace the GDP per capita as the indicator of prosperity of the nation states: the fortune and luck are unacceptable notions in the society where you 'can' design your well-being. What role the VR can play in the possible futures of society? 

The talk will take place at Futurice offices in London, the UK. 

(image: Seraph's program code appearance, The Matrix Trilogy)

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The Game of Futures #2
Nov
1
10:00 AM10:00

The Game of Futures #2

  • ul. Bolshaya Pushkarskaya ulitsa 32 Sankt-Peterburg, Saint Petersburg Russian Federation (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

During the month of the residency in St Petersburg, Avenir Institute developed 'The Game of Futures #2' together with the members of the youth club 'Sreda’.

The project departs from the critical theory and the theory of futures,  embedded in gamification mechanisms from popular board games, played by the people of all generations, the young people in particular, in St Petersburg and beyond. 
‘The Game of Futures #2’ is an installation, a sculpture and a board game that consists of a game board the shape of the map of the modern Russia, game pieces of several types, representing the various centres of possible futures (medicine, communication technology, energy, etc.). It also includes score coins that are distributed by chance, and political leader figures, whose function in the game is to close the towers of futures into ‘the future’ and claim the scores for players. Each player places pieces on the grid of the map, which is carefully balanced on an elevated stand. The higher the tower and the further from the centre of the map it is built, the more points the player claims at the point of closing the tower with a political leader. The players can build on each other’s towers, but the one who started the tower and the one who closed it with the political leader gets the most points from the tower. The players cannot put coins on the map arbitrarily, but can move like in Draughts (of Checkers). The players, while building towers, have to mind the balance of the platform: in case towers are not evenly built, the platform can incline and collapse the game of futures for everyone. The winner in ‘The Game of Futures #2’ defines the core of the desirable future scenario: based on the type of events (avenirs) his/her coins represent. 
None of the scenarios of futures is right or wrong: the competitive character and the critical nature of the game are reflected in the relativity of the gameplay and the role of luck along with strategic considerations - crucial for the resilience and balance of the platform. 

A political leader closes a tower in order to allow the players to collect points. In line with one of the primary functions of politics, the institutionalisation of the everlasting present as a form of stability, a political system produces an illusion of the end of history and all alternatives to the current are presented as dangerous, even apocalyptic, unless they are not constructed above the established basis. Any disruption to the established order as ‘the Other’ is perceived as alienating, risky and unfriendly by default. The finished towers allow to determine the winner in the race of futures, but at the same time they fixate the future as the everlasting present. 

The installation/game is produced at the Fab Lab in the St Petersburg State Polytechnic University. 

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Be a Guest in My Possible Future
Oct
14
to Oct 17

Be a Guest in My Possible Future

  • Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
 http://www.wasbiennale.com/about/

http://www.wasbiennale.com/about/

curatorship - Denis Maksimov

artists and collectives
Avenir Institute / Grisha Mumrikov / Danila Tkachenko / Igor Samolet / Katya Anokhina / Katya Isaeva / Kostya Grebnev / Oleg Borodin / Pavel Grishin / Sasha Elina / Sergey Prokofiev / and others

Authentic artistic journey is constantly defined by precariousness, risk and entering the field of unknown. Pushing the personal boundaries can be more challenging than changing the course of the history. 
Although the concepts of medium and authorship had already been blown up, the institutions that possess the power of definition are surprisingly stable in form of their reincarnation. The history of art is written a posteriori: what is 'new', 'defining' and 'seminal' for the era is rarely assessed by contemporaries at the time of conception.
The experimentation that leads to non-strategic innovation however happens in the intimate environment, where the artist feels safe to work on something that might be easily defined and appropriated. 
'Be a Guest in My Possible Futures' creates the context, where 'familiar' becomes 'strange' and 'known' ceases to be 'certain'. An artist is destined to act in a position of the Other: however making a concious choice to generate estrangement takes an act of courage and self-determination. 
The exhibition features works in unfamiliar mediums and forms of presentation by the artists, collectives and performers, who dare to play a trick with a possible future.

image: Kostya Grebnev. Untitled 1, 2016.

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Critical mass: Youth, Public Space and Mindsets
Oct
4
7:00 PM19:00

Critical mass: Youth, Public Space and Mindsets

‘I believe that children are our future... unless we stop them now!’ Homer Simpson 

The organisation of youth is a strategy for designing the desirable future. Though mediated by the political intention route of self-development, the new generations are meant to become a clay for sculpting societies that are better. What needs to be preserved and what needs to be improved alongside the future skills set is defined by the planners with already defined set of ideological positions. The notions of collaboration, unity and common vision of reality are in the basis of the mission ahistorically. 

However in post-Internet age the traditional forms of mediation, mastered by nation states in 20 century, is challenged by the vast ocean of scattered pastiches of references. Creating ‘public spaces’ in the time of radical privatisation of everything, individualisation of learning and growing illusion of possible absolute autonomy is a gregarious task. The Adornian totality of contemporary society dims the vision of possible futures, shuts out idea of a free time and makes way for the constantly looping march of ‘everlasting present’.

How can youth organisations, based on the traditional idea of physical public space, remain attractive in the hyper-individualised future of possible absolutization of subjective reality of a young beholder? What formats of future generations public spaces can be feasible: pokemon hunting fields? Second Life cities squares? 

Avenir Institute will present the concepts of ‘avenirology’ and ‘everlasting present’, that it has been working on since it’s initiation, as well as some of the projects it has been working on. The Institute Subjective Future Scenarios department’s methodology is the basis for developing the collaboration with one of the St Petersburg youth clubs as a part of the fourth season of The Critical Mass.

Avenir Institute was invited by TOK curatorial collective to lead the art & theory laboratory as collaborative working process with local St. Petersburg youth club. The process will result in presentation of subjective future scenario(s), developed from the application of avenirology as methodological approach, in a form of performance, lecture or exhibition. The process will be based on critical reflection within the socio-political and cultural context.

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Facing the Future: EU-Russia round tables
Sep
21
to Sep 22

Facing the Future: EU-Russia round tables

  • Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Denis Maksimov will participate in closed door round tables on future of cultural diplomacy in relations of Russia and the European Union by invitation of the director of Centre for Fine Arts BOZAR.

The key objectives of these roundtables are on one hand, to explore and raise awareness on the state of play of cultural relations and cultural diplomacy between Eastern and Western Europe, including Russia, and on the other hand, to contribute to developing and promoting the notion of shared history and common future. Holding roundtables in parallel to the exhibition will also allow to continue the conversation launched by the curators of the exhibition among the participants of the project “Trauma and Revival” and further underline the importance of such cultural dialogue bridging East and West.

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Sep
4
to Sep 18

[Sao Paulo] Bureau for Public Insecurities

 logo design by Luiz Guilherme

logo design by Luiz Guilherme

conceived and curated by DNV [dan'etvɐzmoʐnə], curatorial duo of Caroline Carrion & Denis Maksimov

Participating artists
Bogomir Doringer (NL), Foundland Collective (NL), Giuditta Vendrame (IT/NL), Bernd Oppl (AU), Avenir Institute (BE/UK), Bruno Baptistelli (BR), Jaime Lauriano (BR), Tiago Mestre (BR), Sonia Guggisberg (BR), Bruno Moreschi (BR), Carla Chaim (BR), Thiago Navas (BR), Fabio Tremonte (BR), Clarice Cunha (BR), Alessandra Duarte (BR), Lais Myrrha (BR), Mano Penalva (BR), Deolinda Aguiar (BR), Ivan Padovani (BR)

The Bureau is as a combination of multidisciplinary mechanisms, designed by the artists and curators, to mitigate growing political, social, economic and cultural precariousness, and consists of departments that address the most urgent public inquiries. Precariousness has never been an imperative for creation in Brazil and Latin American cultures in general; that is, in societies where precarious conditions are more often the rule than the exception. The Bureau is hosted by precarious, independent cultural spaces, many of them ran by artists and based on political will instead of institutional power. ‘Mitigating insecurity’ does not mean ultimately resolving it: mitigation is a provision of understanding, reflection and critical definition of the condition of existence and living in the environment of failed predictability. The insecurities that are addressed by the Bureau relate to local, national and international contexts, which are interconnected, interdependent and referential to one another.

When arriving to Bureau, the visitor will be faced with something that does not look like an exhibition: a waiting room with an installation, where they will get a number and a questionnaire with the intention of placing them in one of a few "insecurity profiles". Each profile gets a referral to a different “department” (each of them working at one of the associated spaces and created by invited artists), and, therefore, to a different exhibition parcours. The system of distribution and assignment is an artwork in itself by the invited artists and curators, as a result of collaborative process. 

The project is aimed at generating discussion, critical thinking and reflection on the subject of precarious existence, risk-taking, illusive control and poetic ways to address it through the language of contemporary art. Universality of problematics addressed is demonstrated through multiplicity of mediums (installation, sculpture, painting, workshop, lecture-performance, street actions, etc.) and diversity of origins and practices of the invited Brazilian and international artists. 

Spaces:
- Sao Art Space (Bureau) 
- Ateliê Fidalga + Projeto Fidalga
- Espaço Vitrine
- Aquário
- Public spaces of Vila Madalena area 

Context

The exhibition will take place in the context of Sao Paulo Biennial ‘Live Uncertainty’, one the most important and prestigious contemporary art platforms in Latin America and the second oldest in the world after Venice. The dialogue with the Biennial (some of the invited artists are participating in the Biennial main project as well) and themed events will secure publicity and necessary attention for providing the best possible impact. 

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