Avenirologic Hymns
Dec
20
9:00 PM21:00

Avenirologic Hymns

Avenirologic Hymns are critical contemporary prayers to the deities of roaming futures, inspired and informed by the ancient Homeric and Orphic hymns. The hymns were written by Denis Maksimov to be performed towards the paintings of Florent Frizet, devoted to the martyrs in the Ancient Greek mythology.

Dedications to Orpheus, Mnemosyne, Icarus, Andromeda, Prometheus and Dionysos will be performed in the exhibition space, activating Frizet’s paintings and turning the event into a ritual of calling upon the alternative futures in which the everlasting presence of patriarchy, toxic masculinity, short-sightedness and privilege are fundamentally challenged. The public is invited to join the performer in the call for the roaming futures, forming a political temple choir.

Performance will start at 21:30 precisely.

(image: AVENIR INSTITUTE, “Dionysos”, 2017).

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Queering as Agency of Revealing the Possible
Dec
13
12:00 PM12:00

Queering as Agency of Revealing the Possible

  • Roskilde University, Copenhagen (DK) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Avenir Institute defines queering as a de-stabilising agency of the assumed within the scope of shared reality ’normal’. Its purpose is unlocking the alternative, speculative, subjective readings of the objects, turning them into 'things to come’ for the possible and desirable futures.

Apart of the theoretical points of departure and context, Denis will present the method, process and documentation of “Queering Theogony” events in Athens National Archeological Museum, Athens Museum of Queer Arts (AMOQA) and Communitism (former Kunsthalle Athina), which took place earlier this year. 

The events are falling in the scope of the collaborative project Anticipatory Mythography.

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Somewhere | Cosmic Imaginaries Towards New Interplanetary Politics
Dec
6
5:30 PM17:30

Somewhere | Cosmic Imaginaries Towards New Interplanetary Politics

How can we rethink and change our relationship with the Universe and response-ability to the Planet Earth?

Introduced by Olivier Audemars, moderated by Elvia Wilk

with Eva Diaz, Denis Maksimov and Tomás Saraceno

Denis will speak about the Aerocene Foundation and Avenir Institute dialogue on collaboration in future embodiment of aeropolitics as one of the viable alternative aethers of suprapolitical protocol in critical deconstruction of the geopolitical monopoly towards inclusive, multiple, diverse, resilient and sustainable interplanetary oecumene.

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Dramaturgia: on Russian Machiavellianism as exportable political strategy
Nov
23
6:00 PM18:00

Dramaturgia: on Russian Machiavellianism as exportable political strategy

  • Institute of Advanced Studies UCL, London (UK) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The current outpouring of analyses of Russian internal and foreign politics give rise to a feeling of déjà vu, bringing to mind Cold War-era American Sovietology. Amidst assorted Novichoks, Brexits, Trumps and Bolsonaros, political science seems to be in global methodological trouble as predictions and foresights are consistently being proven wrong to the shock of both the think tanks and the public. Meanwhile in Russia, the key principles of the "dramaturgical" design of political space, introduced in Moscow in the early 2000s, are today floating on the surface sans masque. So what are the politics and aesthetics of Russian Dramaturgia?

Political theorist and curator Denis Maksimov will speak about Russian political ‘greyness’ - an engineered ambience, whose purpose it is to make it impossible to establish trust among actors - and its exportability. His talk will build on Avenir Institute’s transdisciplinary research of political auteurship. A former insider of several political near-Kremlin think tanks, Maksimov will look at the highly ambivalent work and thought of two crucial theorists of Russian political Dramaturgia: the former (2000-2004) head of the Expert Department of the Administration of the Russian President Simon Kordonsky's interdisciplinary analysis of Russian ‘administrative markets'; and the former Deputy Chief of Staff (1999-2011) of the same institution Vladislav Surkov’s interest in theatre and fiction.

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Transdisciplinarity for Futures Design
Nov
15
7:00 PM19:00

Transdisciplinarity for Futures Design

“Disciplines, like nations, are a necessary evil that enable human beings of bounded rationality to simplify the structure of their goals. But parochialism is everywhere, and the world sorely needs international and interdisciplinary travellers who will carry new knowledge from one enclave to another” - Herbert Simon

The gap between socio-political institutions and technical systems is widening, the complexity of the planetary challenges is deepening. Analytical philosophy and positivist humanities struggle to explain the fundamental societal shifts, providing mostly "l'esprit d'escalier" wisdoms. We are about to enter or in fact already are finding ourselves in the new (dark or just different?) age. 
How can we design impactful responses to the universal challenges in this context? 
When disciplinary foresight and predictive models are failing, transdisciplinary paradigms of knowledge production and meaning making are the essential components for the design of the better futures. 

Following the introduction by John Bruce, Associate Professor of Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design, the co-founders of Avenir Institute Denis Maksimov and Timo Tuominen will speak about the Institute and its approaches to transdisciplinary design based on the cases from the research and development practice. The talk will be followed by an open conversation with Jack Wilkinson, Samuel Haddix and the audience. 

ACCESS
Event is free and is open for everyone in and outside of Parsons School of Design/The New School. 

EXACT LOCATION
The New School
66 West 12th Street, New York, US
Room 702
'A702' is on the 7th floor of Johnson/ Kaplan Hall, located at 66 W 12th St., near where 12th St. and 6th Ave. intersect.

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Anticipatory Mythography and Critical Ideography for Alternative Futures: The Case of Medusa
Nov
3
5:00 PM17:00

Anticipatory Mythography and Critical Ideography for Alternative Futures: The Case of Medusa

  • Institut für Kunst & Kunsttheorie, Universität zu Köln, Cologne (DE) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Medusa is one of the most recognisable characters in visual popular culture. Multiplicity of organisations use Medusa as a visual and conceptual ideograph (or ‘ideogram’, a symbol used to represent a thing or an idea), visualised in a form of image prone to interpretation, in order to communicate their value messages. Her widely normalised mythological narrative, the story of her being raped by Poseidon and ‘punished’ for this by Athena with monstrosity and later beheaded by Perseus, is more than problematic from the representational and ideological perspective.
Through post-normalising, ‘queering' Medusa’s ideograph, the co-founder of Avenir Institute Denis Maksimov will present the transdisciplinary analysis, research and design methodologies of anticipatory mythography and critical ideography, which allow to activate and liberate the contemporary and future-potent thingness within the locked in the historical appropriation of the past as a mediated collection of the fossilised objects. 
The lecture will be followed by the experimental workshop, in the framework of which the participants will be invited to apply the methodological frame on other ideographs within and beyond Ancient Greece. 

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Avenirologic Hymn to Gaia
Oct
26
8:30 PM20:30

Avenirologic Hymn to Gaia

  • Circuits and Currents, Athens (GR) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Gaia (the Earth) is the one of the first children of Chasm, the beginning and the source of all Universe in Greek mythography according to Hesiod. The ancient city of Delphi was once devoted to her and the famous stone of omphalos represented her navel, left there after her birth and representing therefore the centre of the world. However the story of omphalos was changed with time passing and establishment of the patriarchal essence of the Classical Greece, suppressing the powerful narrative within anything female and/or queer. Omphalos was made a representation of the encounter between the two eagles that Zeus sent out to find the center of the world on manly quest. It was therefore deprived from its thingification of being female birth representation.

Combining and adding to Homeric and Orphic translations of the hymn (the prayer) to Gaia contemporary agency, Avenir Institute presents the Avenirologic Hymn to Gaia in the context of continuous practice of prohibition of the alternative storytelling , future planning and present critique by the nation states and usurpation of the power of interpretation under the threat of violence.

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Queering Delphi: The Sanctity of the Think Tank
Oct
21
10:00 AM10:00

Queering Delphi: The Sanctity of the Think Tank

  • Delphi Archeological site, Delphi (GR) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Delphi is arguably the Oecumene’s most important centre. The city was the seat of Amphictyonic League - a religious alliance of the poleis in what is currently Greece, Turkey and beyond. Delphi, apart of being sacred from polytheistic perspective, also played incremental role in political and epistemological history. Archaic mythology of the city originates from the Chasm, the origin of everything in Hesiod’s Theogony, out of which the first primordial deities-natural forces were born, including Gaia, the Earth herself. Her navel is represented there as omphalos, the stone that signifies the centre of the planet. The mythography of the city was changed and appropriated to the political evolutions of the Ancient World, eventually replacing the Earth gods with the Sky gods with Zeus at their helm, establishing and naturalising patriarchy, imperialism and misogyny.

In this lecture, we dechiper the thingness of Delphi as the site of the world’s first think tank, queering the mythological history of the site and critically evaluating limitations of its richness and multiplicity by the modern Greek state for nation building.

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Methods of Transdisciplinary Research and Design: Comparative Anticipatory Mythography
Sep
18
5:30 PM17:30

Methods of Transdisciplinary Research and Design: Comparative Anticipatory Mythography

  • Fire Station Artists' Studios, Dublin (IE) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Denis will present the method of anticipatory mythography for designing desirable futures of transnational socio-political imaginary, challenging the normalised geographical and historical limits. During his stay in Ireland, he will explore potential of the comparative analysis of Ancient Greek and Ancient Irish mythographies.

He will also speak about the interdisciplinary work of Avenir Institute with the subject of potentiality in futures, specifically focusing on ongoing projects within the dimensions of (un)known (un)knowns, desirable futures and freaktions. He will also elaborate on avenirology as futures-oriented transdisciplinary methodology and critical analysis aesthetico-political configurations in anthropology, theology and history in his curatorial, research and writing practice.

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Suprapolitics at Projekt Bauhaus Werkstatt / Datatopia
Aug
30
2:00 PM14:00

Suprapolitics at Projekt Bauhaus Werkstatt / Datatopia

Utopian thinking and alternative imaginaries, based on the grounds of contemporary art, wouldn’t of course replace or be a political struggle in any way. But they are capable and potent of confusing the norms and structures, that are appear in minds of majorities as physical, while in fact they are just fantasies, like nation states, cultures or hard borders. Utopian thinking through has to become pro-active in order to obtain the agency of inspiring and motivating too instigate fundamental change. It’s not the question of another cosmetic makeover: this won’t work any longer.

Suprapolitics unites all approaches of decoupling political imaginary from the land as the tabula rasa.

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STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in the United Kingdom: the diplomatic mission
Jun
29
6:30 PM18:30

STEIT ƏV NƏƱLÆND in the United Kingdom: the diplomatic mission

  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London (UK) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Alternative frameworks of a political imaginary are an essential first step towards radically better futures. State of Noland is a community, institution and condition of not aligning with any nation state. It envisions organisation of politics without centralisation of power and normalised order. This digital installation is accompanied by a lecture-performance by AVENIR INSTITUTE. Apply for citizenship of the post-state and perform critical identity (re)construction on yourself.

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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, Athens (GR) (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, Athens (GR) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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

  • Curcuits and Currents, Athens (GR) (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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

  • Elephant and Castle Project Space, London (UK) (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, 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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