Critical Mass 2016-2017

  • 'Game of the Futures 2', board game by Avenir Institute in collaboration with young people from youth center 'Sreda', October, 2016
    1/5 | 'Game of the Futures 2', board game by Avenir Institute in collaboration with young people from youth center 'Sreda', October, 2016
  • 'Very special person', fashion show, exhibition and vidoe by Anne Siirtola in collaboration with children from club 'Meteor', October, 2016
    2/5 | 'Very special person', fashion show, exhibition and vidoe by Anne Siirtola in collaboration with children from club 'Meteor', October, 2016
  • 'Farenheit 451' performance directed by Theatr Livsmedlet (Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgrend) in collaboration with young performers and youth club 'Art Raduga', November, 2016
    3/5 | 'Farenheit 451' performance directed by Theatr Livsmedlet (Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgrend) in collaboration with young performers and youth club 'Art Raduga', November, 2016
  • 'Dream cartographers', developed personal routs of dreams by Alevtina Kakhidze in collaboration with young people from youth club 'Energia, February, 2017
    4/5 | 'Dream cartographers', developed personal routs of dreams by Alevtina Kakhidze in collaboration with young people from youth club 'Energia, February, 2017
  • Multifunctional construction designed by Sam Boche in collaboration with young people from youth center 'Sreda', June, 2017
    5/5 | Multifunctional construction designed by Sam Boche in collaboration with young people from youth center 'Sreda', June, 2017
Photo
348">About project
О проекте : 

Creative Association of Curators TOK presents fourth season of 'Critical Mass', i​nternational ​p​roject of ​c​ontemporary ​a​rt r​esearching ​p​ublic ​p​laces. The new season is held during 2016 and 2017 in the y​outh organizations of the Petrogradskiy district of St Petersburg.

Participating artists: Anne Siirtola (FInland), Avenir Institute/Denis Maksimov and Timo Tuominen (Russia/Finland), Stefan Constantinescu (Sweden/Romania), Livsmedlet/Ishmael Falke and Sandrina Lindgren (Finland/Sweden), Colectivo Warehouse (Portugal), Alevtina Kakhidze (Ukraine), Ilya Budraitskis​ ​(Russia), Samuel Boche (France).

Creative Association of Curators TOK is pleased to announce the opening of the new season of the project ‘Critical Mass​’ held in St Petersburg for the fourth time. The new season lasts for two years and focuses on ​an analysis of the history of youth movements in the 20th century and the contemporary context of youth initiatives and organizations. It showcases ​collaborative initiatives with teenagers and young people and​ facilitate​ their active engagement into contemporary creative processes, especially those taking place in the urban environment and public space. The main objective of​ the fourth season of​ ‘Critical Mass’ is ​the ​integration of new artistic, educational and social practices in​to​ government organizations working with young people and involved in youth​ oriented​ policy making.

This season of ‘Critical Mass’ is held in a new format and based on a series of residencies hosting international and Russian artists at the youth clubs in the Petrogradskiy district of St Petersburg​,​ and one former pionee​r​ camp ​on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. During the residencies​,​ artists, architects, designers and performers worked closely with young people and create new projects reflecting upon​ the​ history of you​th​ movements in USSR, Russia and other countries​. They have considered the ​everyday ​lives of teenagers and the role ​that young people ​play in current sociopolitical processes.  In total 7 residensies took place from August 2016 till June 2017 and 7 new commissioned projects were realised and presented to audiences in 2016 and 2017.

​Beginning ​in 2010​,​ ‘Critical Mass’ has ​provided a discursive platform for​​ study and ​dialogue on emerging and important ​issues for the people of St Petersburg. The project has brought together curators, artists, designers, social scientists​ and ​members of various local communities and governments. Over the past six years, we ​have ​touched upon a wide range of themes related to research, revitalization and recoding of public spaces in St Petersburg. We ​have ​explored the identity and potential of ​semi-derelict suburban districts​​ and studied the influence of boom construction on city life in the late Soviet era. Together with artists and locals we ​have ​discussed environmental issues, migration processes and freedom of speech in contemporary Russia. Learning about the history of Gromov’s Dacha, an architectural monument of the 19th century, we conducted multilayered analysis of the governmental policy aimed at ​the ​preservation of historical heritage and cultural memory​,​ as well as ​re​search​ing​ new cultural ​hubs on the map of St Petersburg. ​Every two years​,​ TOK ​arrives ​at​ a different venue or context, which we find ​curious and in need of public attention. Deploying research​ strategies​​ and ​creative social practices, we ​visualize potential scenarios for resolving local ​conflicts and create possibilities for a conversation between citizens, ​the local and international ​art community and local governments. Since the ​beginning​ of ‘Critical Mass’ we ​have ​collaborated with engaged young people interested in arts and activism​ ​who ​joined out project as volunteers, interns or event participants. This season, we expand our collaborations with young people to including youth organizations​ ​and​ will​ focus on ​the ​analysis of contemporary tendencies in ​youth policy in Russia​ at a state level​.

​The St Petersburg ​youth clubs​ we were working with​ ​are​ a remnant of the Soviet era​.​ ​T​hey used to ​exist in every neighborhood and offer​ed​ teenagers and young people a wide range of extracurricular activities​, while​ broadcasting​ the state ideology. Today​,​ they mostly ​take the form of theme-based community centers for young people ​operating under a few different formats - from amateur theater studios to centers of social integration for students​ ​at​ ​risk of early dropout​,​ or so-called ‘troubled youth​.​’ Many of these clubs are eager to ​attract teenagers but they lack resources​ and expertise​. Therefore, during the fourth season of ‘Critical Mass​,​’ TOK challenges the clubs to update and broaden their vision of work​ing​ with young people and ​become more relevant by integrating contemporary artistic and social practices and inviting art professionals for collaboration. Invited artists, designers and architects through their projects proposed new forms of inclusion of young people in youth club activities that can vary from creating collective performances and visual narratives to building new architectural projects in public space. For young people this was a new creative experience that ​allowed them​ to​ gain new skills and test their talents and abilities​,​ while for the club​s, these experiences​ could lead to shaping new strategies of their educational polic​ies,​ and ​a transformation of their approach to education and arts.

The fourth season of the​ ‘Critical Mass’ project  included a broad public program, which took place at Taiga​ Space​ and consisted of lectures and talks, discussions and thematic dialogues with artists, researchers, historians, and designers. ​The first public events of the new season was held in October 2016​,​ and​ the program continued until June of 2017. The season will be concluded with an international conference "Fast Forward to The Future' in December 2017 about the history of youth movements and today’s youth policies in Russia and ​abroad. The discussion will extend to the consideration of various formats and methodologies of art education aimed at young people. ​The season’s results and conferens thesis will be presented in a bilingual publication expected to be published in 2018. 

The project is supported by:
Sector for Y​outh ​P​olicy and ​C​ollaboration with ​P​ublic ​O​rganizations of the Administration of the Petrogradskiy ​D​istrict

Nordic Culture Fund

FRAME Finnish Visual Art Foundation

The Consulate of the Netherlands in St Petersburg

Taiga Space

The European Cultural Foundation

IASPIS (Sweden)