Chto delat? /// What is to be done?
A platform for engaged culture

Founded in early 2003 in Petersburg, the platform Chto delat?/What is to be done? is a space between theory, art, and political activism. The platforms work is coordinated by a workgroup of the same name: its members include artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod.

Chto delat hopes to spark a dialogue of different positions about the politicization of knowledge production and about the place of art and poetics in this process, triggering collaborative initiatives in the form of “temporary art soviets,” which are involved in the making of different cultural projects from their earliest phases onward. These “temporary art soviets” could be understood as a prototypical social model, capable of formulating and realizing its goals independently, taking on the function of an alternative power, an open system for interaction with society at large.

Working with this model, Chto delat carries out collaborative art projects, including video works, installations, public actions, radio programs, and artistic examinations of urban space. Recent projects include "Drift – Narvskaya Zastava" (2004-2005), a community-examination of a constructivist-proletarian neighborhood in Petersburg, “Kronstadt Forever,” (September 2005), an exhibition examining the contradictory legacy of council communism in the early Soviet Union and its polemic intersection with anarchism, and “Self-Education” (September 2006), an international exhibition and seminar program dedicated to spreading and producing alternative forms of knowledge that continue and further develop the emancipatory traditions of a variety of didactic and autodidactic practices.

As an editorial committee, the workgroup Chto delat publishes an English-Russian newspaper with a special focus on the Russian artistic-intellectual situation. The newspaper seeks to problematize and counteract the culture of present Russian neo-capitalism, setting it into the context of parallel developments elsewhere. It also attempts to trace the potentialities of the Soviet past repressed in the course of Soviet history, searching for means of their actualization. Each issue of the newspaper draws artists, critics, activists and philosophers into a heated editorial process, which results in theoretical essays, art projects, open-source translations, questionnaires, dialogues, and comic strips. This publication is usually made in connection with specific events and is distributed for free at congresses or exhibitions, social forums and rallies, where it reaches a broader cultural public.

David Riff and Dmitry Vilensky (co-editors of newspaper “Chto Delat?”)

the topics of the newspaper that have appeared so far and in a progress:

# 1: “What is to be done?”
# 2: “Zones of Autonomy”
# 3: “Emancipation of/from Labor”
# 4: “International Now/here”
# 5: “Love and Politics”
# 6: “Revolution or Resistance?”
# 7: “Drift – Narvskaya Zastava”
# 8: “State of Emergency”
# 9: “What do we have in common?”
# 10 “How do politics begin?” (in two parts)
# 11 “Why Brecht?”, January 2006
# 12 “(im)possible spaces”, March 2006
# 13 “Another Power is Possible. Protest and Culture”
# 14 “Self-education. How can we become more?”
# 15 Reactionary Times
# 16 Potentiality Beyond Political Sadness
# 17 Debates on Avant-Gardes

all publication free to download at