United Nations Plaza


unitednationsplaza Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a Berlin 10249 Germany T. +49 (0)30 700 89 0 90 F. +49 (0)30 700 89 0 85

unitednationsplaza is pleased to announce its inaugural conference and a first seminar.

unitednationsplaza is exhibition as school. Structured as a seminar/residency program in the city of Berlin, it will involve collaboration with approximately 60 artists, writers, theorists and a wide range of audiences for a period of one year. In the tradition of Free Universities, most of its events will be free and open to all those interested to take part. unitednationsplaza is organized by Anton Vidokle in collaboration with Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Martha Rosler, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Nikolaus Hirsch, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Tirdad Zolghadr.

On Friday, October 27, unitednationsplaza will open with its inaugural conference entitled Histories of Productive Failures: From French Revolution to Manifesta 6. Participants include Diedrich Diederichsen, Anselm Franke, Adrienne Goehler, Liam Gillick, Mete Hatay, Maria Lind, Pavlina Paraskevaidou, Haris Pellapaisiotis, Anton Vidokle, Rana Zincir Celal and Tirdad Zolghadr. Don’t miss: Rock You Like A Hurricane: a drunken dance party with Julieta Aranda.

On Monday, October 30, unitednationsplaza will start its program with a two-week seminar by Boris Groys entitled After the Red Square. The seminar will be free and open to the public.

Seminar 1

Boris Groys: After the Red Square
October 30 through November 10, 2006

The contemporary, post-communist situation is mostly understood as a time after the full and final victory of the market over all the attempts to put this rule into question. Accordingly, art is equated to the art market and an individual artwork is seen primarily as a commodity. Under this regime the only way for art to become “serious” is to become “critical”, which means that it tries to reflect explicitly on its own character – as – commodity. It is telling that the art of the former Communist or Socialist countries is regarded from this perspective as non-serious because it is non-critical by definition; this art could not reflect on itself as a commodity because it was not a commodity. (It was not a commodity because there was no market, and certainly no art market under Socialism.)

But the equation between art and art market, be it critical or not, not only brings about the erasure of a substantial part of the art heritage of the 20th Century; it also – and this is the more important point – ignores the non – market dimensions of contemporary art that functions not only as commodity but also as propaganda (for example: Islamist videos), as a means to organize a new type of communal space and a new type of community itself. The goal of the seminar is to investigate precisely these non-market aspects of contemporary art in its relationship to the long tradition of non-market uses of art, related initially to the Socialist-Communist tradition.

Guest speakers and presenters for this seminar include: Olga Chernisheva, Joseph Cohen, Keti Chukhrov, Khalil Joreige, Deimantas Narkevicius, Elena Sorokina, Anri Sala, Olaf Nicolai, Andrei Ujica and others, as well as a special video program by Rabih Mroue and a selection of films, including “4” by Ilia Khrzhanovsky, 2004 and “Lost and Found”, 2005.

All sessions will take place from 7 – 9 PM at the unitednationsplaza.

Admission is free but space is limited. To register please contact magdalena@unitednationsplaza.org

Suggested readings

Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism, Princeton, 1995
Boris Groys, Ilya Kabakov. A man who flew into the cosmic space. Afterall/MIT, 2006.
Boris Groys (ed.), Dream Factory Communism, Schirn, Frankfurt a.M., 2004.
Jacques Derrida, Marx’ Gespenster, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M., 2003
Giorgio Agamben, Die kommende Gemeinschaft, Merve, 2003.

Boris Groys

Born in East Berlin in 1947, Boris Groys studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Leningrad from 1965-71. Then, from 1971 to 1976 Groys worked as a research assistant at various institutes in Leningrad and from 1976-81 he was employed at the Institute for Structural and Applied Linguistics at the University of Moscow. In 1981 Groys emigrated from the former USSR to Germany. 1982-85 he received various grants in Germany and worked as a freelance author from 1986-87 in Cologne. Groys taught as Guest Professor in the States at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 1988 and at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1991. He obtained his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Münster in 1992. Since 1994 Groys has been professor for Philosophy and Media Theory at the Academy for Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. And since January 1st 2001 Groys also serves as vice chancellor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which has since recieved uni versity status. Member of the Association International des Critiques d&8217;Art [AICA].


Gesamtkunstwerk Stalin, München 1988
Dnevnik filosofa (russ.) (Tagebuch eines Philosophen), Paris 1989
Die Kunst des Fliehens (mit Ilja Kabakov), München 1991
Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Moskau – Von der Neo-Avantgarde zum Post- Stalinismus, München 1991
Über das Neue. Versuch einer Kulturökonomie, München 1992
Utopia i obmen (russ.) (Utopie und Austausch), Moskau 1993
Fluchtpunkt Moskau (Hrsg.), Stuttgart 1994
Die Erfindung Russlands, München 1995
Die Kunst der Installation (mit Ilja Kabakov), München 1996
Kierkegaard. Schriften (Hrsg.), München 1996
Logik der Sammlung, München 1997
Unter Verdacht. Eine Phänomenologie der Medien, München 2000
Politik der Unsterblichkeit. Vier Gespräche mit Thomas Knöfel, München 2002

unitednationsplaza is made possible with generous support from the Ford Foundation and e-flux

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