TOK joins the curatorial team of D'Est project

TOK curators Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits have been invited to join the curatorial team of D’EST: A Multi-Curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the Former ‘East’ and ‘West' initiated by curator and researcher Ulrike Gerhardt from District Berlin. The platform is a collection of numerious videos selected by the curatorial team and accessible online until the end of 2020.  Between June and November 2018, the online platform will publish a total of six screening chapters reflecting post-socialist transformation. Their thematic focal points delineate post-socialism along post-geographic, horizontal, and gender-critical perspectives. In collaboration with fifteen curators, fifty artists, and other cultural experts, D’EST maps out artistic forms of historiography, especially from the perspective of female and collective production.

Questions about the significance of the phase of post-socialist transformation for today’s Pan-European or even global condition have met with unsatisfactory answers. The title D’EST (eng: From the East) borrows from the eponymous 1993 work of recently deceased film-maker Chantal Akerman (1950—2015). In From the East’s sensitive, cinematic travelog of transformation, the artist – the daughter of survivors of the Holocaust in Poland – captures emblematic images of people waiting in a moment of hiatus just after the end of the Cold War. In the six curated screening chapters, the artists here deal with time, language, and semantics, corpo-fictionality and urban rejuvenation practices, indexical reading exercises, retro-utopia and post-genetic families of choice. The curators responsible for the project include Kathrin Becker, Eva Birkenstock, Miona Bogović, Ulrike Gerhardt, Naomi Hennig, Suza Husse, Nataša Ilić, Bettina Knaup, Katja Kobolt, Inga Lāce, Suzana Milevska, Xandra Popescu, Jana Seehusen, TOK (Anna Bitkina & Maria Veits), and Jelena Vesić.

TOK curate their chapter together with Inga Lāce, curator of the Latvian center of Contemporary Art (Riga). Entitled Performing Words, Uttering Performance  this chapter focuses on works that reflect upon shifts in language and meaning and employ diverse silent, verbal, performative, activist, and other strategies to discuss collective and personal memory, identity, power relations, gender roles, and socio-political change. The topic was chosen due to the idea that the  changing role and function of language before and after the “transition” cannot be discussed without considering the dimension of authoritarian speech acts in the last phase of socialism. Anthropologist Alexei Yurchak shares the observation that during the authoritarian speech act, sign and reference, language and gesture, word and action merge into each other. This thesis is the foundation for an understanding of the variety of linguistic and performative experiments in post-socialist video art that the curators want to present. The chapter icnludes works by Shvemy Sewing Cooperative, Coro Collective (Eglė Budvytytė, Goda Budvytytė, Ieva Misevičiūtė), Marge Monko, Katrīna Neiburga, Ira Eduardovna, Zeljka Blaksic aka Gita Blak, Polina Kanis, and Gluklya (Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya). 

The chapter Performing Words, Uttering Performance will be screened on June 30 as a paty of OFF THE RECORD, a series of events of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf to accompany this years exhibition program. The guest speaker is Alla Mitrofanova, Russian curator, critic and feminism expert.

In order to access D'Est, the Multi-Curatorial Online Platform for Video Art, please register at the project website