Explication of the exhibition:
The uprising in Belarus and Black Protests in Poland remind us of intuitions, affects, and intimacy that exist outside the field of knowledge. To know is also to capture, designate, hierarchise, order. Radical non-knowledge, unlearning, eluding the imposed norm oppose discipline, control, and order. The process of unlearning and evasion can be painful, but it can also be fierce joy, wilfulness, and cheerful obstinacy.
Sarah Ahmed speaks of wilfulness as a feminist practice of killjoy – interrupting a sexist conversation, avoiding a shared model of happiness, refusing to live the way we are forced to. Figures of radical non-knowledge – such as Dunno, Mullah Nasruddin, the ignorant teacher Joseph Jacotot, or the feminist killjoy – question the structure of a world that does not suit them and come up with possibilities for its transformation.
The Polish word “odkształcenie” stands for unlearning, refusal of knowledge that maintains the status quo and reproduces violence, patriarchy, imperialism through the educational system. For a better understanding of the connections and mechanisms that determine the situation in which we find ourselves at present, we need a willingness to question. “Odksztacenie” is also a deformation of the established ways of thinking about the past, present, and future. Boris Buden speaks of the Soviet as an idea necessary to maintain the status quo of capitalism. A system that does not admit its mistakes, weaknesses, and crises, sees the past not as an experience, but as the cause of all the present-day troubles. The radical breakaway from the past, the lack of understanding of the continuity of history lead to the impossibility of a comprehensive analysis of the problems of the present and, as it happened in Poland, to the radicalisation of nationalist sentiments, or in Belarus, to the authoritarian instrumentalisation of memory.
The one-sidedness of the narration proposed at the official level inevitably leads to a polarization of society, as well as attempts at introducing ever new prohibitions and censoring any dissent. The result is auto-censorship in the cultural field, including in the structure of institutions, universities, and academies. The artistic system and education are losing their inherent free-thinking, while lively discussions about the past and the present, as well as ideas for new models of the future, are born on the street, in a rioting crowd.
Likewise, the artists whose works are part of the exhibition invent new forms of (un)learning, refusal, and resistance. They question temporality and ideas based on a linear understanding of time – the lessons of history, denial of the past, fetishism of the future – and offer other models of affectation, participation, and living.
Artists: Anna Baumgart, Patrycja Cichosz, Lia Dostlieva & Andrii Dostliev, Vika Grebennikova, Uladzimir Hramovich, Kafe-Morozhenoe media activist collective, Annette Krauss, Marina Naprushkina, Agnieszka Polska, Ala Savashevich, Sergey Shabohin, Olia Sosnovskaya, Masha Svyatogor, Raman Tratsiuk, Honza Zamojski
Curatorial Group: Aleksei Borisionok, Raman Tratsiuk, Vera Zalutskaya
Coordination: Pavel Preobrazhensky, Sergey Shabohin
Organisation: Rönne Stiftung (Berlin), The Research Platform of the Belаrusian Contemporary Art KALEKTAR.org (Minsk/Poznań)
Supported by German Federal Foreign Office, Civil Society Cooperation
Partners: Domie (social, artistic, architectural and economic experiment of collective care), Stowarzyszenie Komplet, Galeria Miejska Arsenał, The Arsenal Gallery in Białystok
Opening of the exhibition. Lecture-performance by Olia Sosnovskaya "Incredibly Relaxing Music for Meditation".
Guided tour by curators and artists of the exhibition.
Lecture by Anna Bredava "Queer Resistance in an Authoritarian State" and writing letters.
Conversation and discussion between Zofia nerodińska and Magdalena Radomska.