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TRACINGS OUT OF THIN AIR: Establishing oppositional practices and collaborative communities in art and culture

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Abstract

In 2015, in St Petersburg, Alexander Ivanov and Joana Monbaron started a project bearing the same name as this publication: “Tracings Out of Thin Air.” The initial idea of the project was to develop in the Russian context a practice and reflection on contemporary Russian artistic, inclusive and educational initiatives centered on collaborative work with a given community. In their paper, Ivanov and Monbaron deeply reflect on the last 2 years as well as explore the history, artistic strategies and institutional context of the art studio opened by a large charitable organization at a residential care institution (in Russian: “psycho-neurological internat”; in short: PNI) in one of the suburbs of St. Petersburg in 2001. The authors offer a careful selection of notions inside a vocabulary that offers an introspective perspective, not free of doubts, while they modestly aim at defining the practical and conceptual framework of the project and their own practice and commitment
CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji
Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Ljubljana
316.73:7
SLEDI v zraku = Risunki iz vozduha = Tragovi u vazduhu = Tracings out of
thin air / [avtorji tekstov Doris Arztmann, Eva Egermann ... [et al.] ; uredniki Ma-
rina Gržinić ... [et al.] ; prevod v slovenski jezik Marina Gržinić, Jovita Pristovšek,
prevod v ruski jezik Alexander Ivanov, Joana Monbaron, prevod v srbski jezik
Aneta Stojnić, prevod v angleški jezik iz ruskega jezika (text by Ayman Eckford)
Joana Monbaron]. - Ljubljana : Mednarodna ustanova Forum slovanskih kultur =
International Foundation Forum of Slavic Cultures, 2018
ISBN 978-961-94274-3-9
1. Vzp. stv. nasl. 2. Arztmann, Doris 3. Gržinić, Marina
293382656
Uredniki/urednici/Editors:
Marina Gržinić
Alexander Ivanov
Joana Monbaron
Aneta Stojnić
Andreja Rihter
Редакторы-составители:
Марина Гржинич
Александр Иванов
Жоана Монбарон
Анета Стойнич
Андреа Рихтер
SLEDI V ZRAKU
Vzpostavljanje praks upora
in sodelujočih skupnosti v umetnosti in kulturi
РИСУНКИ ИЗ ВОЗДУХА
Конструирование сообществ
и практик сопротивления в искусстве и культуре
TRAGOVI U VAZDUHU
Uspostavljanje praksi otpora
i sudelujućih zajednica u umetnosti i kulturi
TRACINGS OUT OF THIN AIR
Establishing oppositional practices
and collaborative communities in art and culture
The International Foundation Forum of Slavic
Cultures, based in Ljubljana in Slovenia, was
founded in 2004 on the initiative of Slavic cul-
tural circles, so today it unites more than 300
million Slavs from ten member countries, Be-
larus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monte-
negro, Croatia, Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, Ser-
bia and Ukraine, and three observer countries,
Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.
The Forum actively links and presents Slavic
culture, science and art, their creative energy
and heritage, while we also cultivate the recog-
nizable contribution of Slavic cultures to the
global cultural dialogue. The cooperation proj-
ects in the Slavic, European and global cultural
areas are carried out in the elds of literature,
linguistics and translation, museology and ar-
chive studies, education, theatre, architecture,
lm and music.
NERVING
THE CREATIVITY
OF SLAVIC
CULTURES
Mednarodna ustanova Forum slovanskih kul-
tur, s sedežem v Ljubljani, je nastala leta 2004
na pobudo slovanske kulturniške srenje, danes
pa povezuje že 300 milijonov Slovanov iz de-
setih držav clanic, Belorusije, Bolgarije, Bosne
in Hercegovine, Črne gore, Hrvaške, Makedonije,
Ruske federacije, Slovenije, Srbije in Ukrajine
ter treh držav opazovalk, Češke republike, Pol-
jske in Slovaške.
Forum slovanskih kultur aktivno povezuje in
predstavlja slovansko kulturo, znanost in umet-
nost, ustvarjalni naboj in dedišcino, ter skrbi
za prepoznaven prispevek h globalnemu kul-
turnemu dialogu. Projekte sodelovanja v slo-
vanskem, evropskem in globalnem kulturnem
okolju izvaja na podrocjih literature, jezikoslov-
ja in prevodoslovja, muzeologije in arhivistike,
izobraževanja, gledališca in glasbe.
OŽIVČUJEMO
KREATIVNOST
SLOVANSKIH
KULTUR
CONTENTS
Foreword in 4 languages
Andreja Rihter ............................................................................ 4
Introduction in 4 languages
Marina Gržinić, Alexander Ivanov, Joana Monbaron, Aneta Stojnić .. 8
CONTRIBUTIONS
Notes on “Tracings Out of Thin Air” (Work in Progress)
Alexander Ivanov and Joana Monbaron
(Russian Federation, Switzerland) ............................................... 28
Body, disability, and critical art
Marina Gržinić (Slovenia) ............................................................ 40
The Question of Disability in Contemporary Dance Practices
Aneta Stojn (Serbia) ................................................................. 50
Artistic Agency of People with Disabilities
Mira Kallio-Tavin (Finland) .......................................................... 54
Cyborg Exits in the Classroom Body Heteroglossias
and Crip Materials for dirty knowledge in Art Education
Doris Arztmann and Eva Egermann in Conversation (Austria) ........ 60
Postsocialist care-violence-paternalism
Darja Zaviršek (Slovenia) ............................................................ 71
Ableism in the Russian Activist Community
Ayman Eckford (Russian Federation) .......................................... 77
Empowering?
microsillons (Switzerland) ......................................................... 87
Biographies ............................................................................... 96
6
V Mednarodni ustanovi Forum slovanskih kul-
tur že od leta 2014 oživčujemo kreativnost
slovanskih kultur. Naše temeljne vrednote se
zrcalijo v različnih projektih in aktivnostih. Te
so enakopravno in demokratično sodelovanje
vseh slovanskih držav v globalnem kulturnem
dialogu, spodbujanje, podpora in krepitev izra-
žanja slovanske duhovne kulture, ustvarjalnosti
ter inovativnosti in sodelovanje po načelu spo-
štovanja različnosti, strpnosti, odprtosti in vza-
jemnosti.
V časih, ko so ta načela pogosto le črke na pa-
pirju, enakopravnost in demokratičnost pa vsa-
kodnevno na preizkušnji, smo z veseljem in od-
govornostjo podprli idejni projekt Sledi v zraku
ter se odločili za izdajo publikacije z istoimen-
skim naslovom.
S tem poskušamo konstruktivno prispevati k
pogovorom o boljši prihodnosti več kot 300 mi-
lijonov pripadnikov številnih slovanskih naro-
dov, ki so obenem Evropejci v polnem pomenu
te besede, in o boljšem jutri vseh državljanov
sveta.
Z obravnavanjem teme hendikepa in prepleta-
nja študij hendikepa s kulturo, umetnostjo in
socialnim delom ter z »javnim« premišljeva-
njem, kaj so subjektivnost, enakost, spoštovanje
in opolnomočenje vseh, gradimo nove mostove
in z njimi omogočamo poglobljen vpogled v fe-
nomen hendikepa.
Iskrena hvala urednikom, piscem znanstvenih
prispevkov in vsem ostalim, s katerimi smo se
srečali pri nastajanju te publikacije. S svojim
delom prinašajo zavedanje, kako pomembno je
sleherno opozarjanje, v novodobni terminolo-
giji izražena promocija tematike hendikepa za
razširitev lastnih horizontov, pa tudi horizon-
tov naše kulture ter kultur drugih. To je hkrati
edinstven način vzpostavljanja vezi skozi med-
kulturni dialog, ki spodbuja medsebojno pozna-
vanje in razumevanje ter spoštuje in ohranja
kulturno raznolikost.
Ravno slednje je ena temeljnih vrednot med-
narodne ustanove Forum slovanskih kultur, ki ji
sledimo tudi s projektom Sledi v zraku. Verja-
memo, da bomo sledi pustili tudi na zemlji ter v
ljudeh. Danes in jutri.
Vse dobro,
Dr. Andreja Rihter
Direktorica Foruma slovanskih kultur
PREDGOVOR SI
7
ВСТУПИТЕЛЬНОЕ СЛОВО
С начала 2014 года основной задачей Меж-
дународного фонда «Форум славянских куль-
тур» является приумножение творческой
энергии славянских культур. Наши главные
ценности отражены в различных проектах и
мероприятиях. Эти ценности – равенство и
демократическое сотрудничество всех сла-
вянских стран в глобальном культурном ди-
алоге, продвижение и укрепление самовыра-
жения славянской культуры, её творческого
потенциала и инноваций, а также поддержка
сотрудничества, основанного на принципах
уважения многообразия, толерантности, от-
крытости и взаимности.
Во времена, когда эти принципы выполняют-
ся лишь на бумаге, а равенство и демократия
ежедневно сталкиваются с трудностями, мы
с радостью поддержали концепцию проекта
«Рисунки из воздуха» и приняли решение вы-
пустить одноименную публикацию.
Таким образом мы надеемся внести конструк-
тивный вклад в дискуссию о лучшем будущем
для более 300 миллионов жителей славян-
ских стран, которые являются европейцами в
полном смысле этого слова, и завтрашнем дне
для всех граждан мира.
Обращаясь к теме инвалидности и соединяя
исследования инвалидности с культурой, ис-
кусством и социальной работой, тем самым
заставляя «публику» думать о том, что такое
субъективность, равноправие, уважение и
расширение прав и возможностей самых раз-
ных людей, мы строим новые мосты для глу-
бокого понимания этого феномена.
Я выражаю искреннюю благодарность редак-
торам и авторам статей, а также всем тем, с
кем нам посчастливилось взаимодействовать
в ходе реализации данной публикации. Про-
деланная работа показывает важность разго-
вора об инвалидности сквозь призму новых
терминологий, расширяющих наши собствен-
ные горизонты и горизонты наших культур. В
то же время это уникальный способ коммуни-
кации посредством межкультурного диалога,
способствующего стремлению к взаимному
познанию и пониманию, а также к уважению
и сохранению культурного разнообразия.
Последнее является одной из фундаменталь-
ных ценностей международного «Форума
славянских культур», ценности, которой мы
остаемся верны, оказывая поддержку проек-
ту «Рисунки из воздуха». Мы искренне верим,
что оставим следы на земле, а также в созна-
нии людей. Сегодня и завтра.
С наилучшими пожеланиями,
Д-р Андреа Рихтер
Директор «Форума славянских культур»
РУ
8
Internacionalna fondacija Forum za slovenske
kulture je od početka 2014. godine postavila za
cilj umrežavanje kreativnosti slovenskih kultu-
ra. Naše centralne vrednosti ogledaju se u razli-
čitim projektima i aktivnostima. Te vrednosti su
jednakost i demokratska saradnja svih sloven-
skih zemalja u globalnom kulturalnom dijalogu,
promocija, podrška i osnaživanje različitih formi
ekspresije slovenske kulture, njene kreativnosti
i inovantnosti, kao i podrška saradnji na princi-
pima poštovanja različitosti, tolerancije, otvore-
nosti i reciprociteta.
U vremenima kada su ti principi često prazno
parče hartije, a jednakost i demokratija nailaze
na svakodnevne izazove, mi smo sa radošću i
odgovornošću podržali koncept projekta Trago-
vi u vazduhu i odlučili da izdamo publikaciju
istog imena.
Na taj način, pokušali smo da damo konstrukti-
van doprinos razgovorima o boljoj budućnosti
više od 300 miliona članova mnogih slovenskih
zemalja koje su istovremeno i evropske u pu-
nom smislu te reči, i da doprinesemo boljoj bu-
dućnosti svih građana sveta.
Baveći se problemom hendikepa i poveziva-
njem studija hendikepa sa kulturom, umetnošću
i socijalnim radom — stimulišući “javno” razmi-
šljanje o tome šta su subjektivnost, jednakost,
poštovanje i osnaživanje svih — gradimo nove
mostove preko kojih prenosimo dubok uvid u u
postojanje i uslove hendikepa.
Iskreno se zahvaljujem urednicima i piscima
naučnih radova kao i svima drugima sa kojima
smo morali da se sretnemo u toku realizacije
ove publikacije. Svojim radom preneli su svest
o značaju izražavanja i promocije osoba sa hen-
dikepom kroz nove terminologije, kao bi se pro-
širili njihovi horizonti i kulture, kako i horizonti
i kulture mnogih drugih. Ovo je istovremeno
jedinstven način uspostavljanja veza kroz inter-
kulturalni dijalog, koji promoviše međusobno
prepoznavanje, znanje i razumevanje u prilog
poštovanju i očuvanju kulturalnog diverziteta.
Upravo je ovo poslednje jedna od fundamental-
nih vrednosti Internacionalne fondacije Forum
slovenskih kultura, kojoj ostajemo verni kroz
podršku projektu Tragovi u vazduhu. Verujemo
da ćemo ostaviti tragove na zemlji kao i u ljudi-
ma. Danas i sutra.
S najboljim mislima,
Dr. Andreja Rihter
Direktor Foruma slovenskih kultura
SR
PREDGOVOR
9
Since 2014 the International Foundation Forum
of Slavic Cultures has had as its goal nerving the
creativity of Slavic cultures. Our core values are
mirrored in various projects and activities. These
values are the equal and democratic cooperation
of all Slavic countries in the global cultural dia-
logue, the promotion, support, and strengthen-
ing of expressions of Slavic culture, as well as
its creativity and innovation, and support of the
cooperation on the principles of respect for di-
versity, tolerance, openness, and reciprocity.
At a time when these principles are often an
empty piece of paper, and equality and democ-
racy are challenged on a daily basis, we have
gladly and responsibly sustained the concept of
the project Tracings Out of Thin Air and have de-
cided to issue a publication with the same name.
By doing so we are trying to contribute construc-
tively to talks about a better future of the more
than 300 million members of many Slavic na-
tions that are at the same time Europeans in its
full sense, and as well to contribute to a better
future of all citizens of the world.
By addressing the issue of disability and linking
the studies on disability with culture, art, and
social work—stimulating the “public” thinking
about what subjectivity, equality, respect and em-
powerment of all are,— we establish new bridges
and with them provide a deep insight into the
occurrence and circumstances of disability.
I sincerely thank the editors and writers of the
scientic papers and all the others that we
met in the course of the realization of this
publication. With their work they conveyed an
awareness of how important it is to expose and
promote disability through new terminology in
order to broaden our proper horizons and cul-
tures and as well the horizons and culture of
many others. This is at the same time a unique
way of establishing links through intercultural
dialogue, which promotes mutual recognition
and knowledge and understanding in order to
respect and preserve cultural diversity.
Precisely the latter is one of the fundamental
values of the International Foundation Forum
of Slavic Cultures, to which we also remain
faithful by supporting the Tracings Out of Thin
Air project. We believe that we will leave traces
on earth and as well as on people’s minds. To-
day and tomorrow.
With my best thoughts,
Dr Andreja Rihter
Director of the Forum of Slavic Cultures
EN
FOREWORD
10
UVOD SI
UVOD
Osrednje izhodišče pričujoče publikacije je re-
eksija uporniških praks, ki vključujejo sodelu-
joče skupnosti v umetnosti in kulturi. V ta na-
men predlagamo obravnavo različnih zgodovin
in izkušenj Evrope, sočasno s tem pa reeksijo
in tudi spoprijem z umetniško-izobraževalnimi
participatornimi projekti, ki sledijo tudi re-) in
dez-)integrativnim ciljem. Zakaj je to tako po-
membno?
Pojem skupnosti se na široko uporablja in zlo-
rablja tako v umetniških kot izobraževalnih
projektih, zato obstaja nepretrgan proces sok-
rivdne marginalizacije in getoizacije tistih, ki se
jih tretira kot hendikepirane in bolne, tistih, ki
so videni kot “moteči” z vidika sodobnih nasil-
nih normativnih “idealov”. Ker gre torej za po-
skus nasprotovanja konceptualni in praktični
instrumentalizaciji dela s skupnostjo znotraj
umetnosti in kulture, avtorji prispevkov v priču-
joči publikaciji izhajajo iz kritične analize raz-
ličnih zgodovin in izkušenj evropskih in ruskih
uporniških praks.
Poleg omenjenega izhodišča smo se prav tako
odločili deliti izkušnje ambivalenc in kontradik-
cij, s katerimi se srečujemo – tako uredniki/ure-
dnice kot avtorji prispevkov v lastnih praksah.
Zakaj? Ker so nas naše življenjske in profesio-
nalne izkušnje navdihnile, da razmišljamo o vr-
zelih med teorijo in prakso ter o napetostih med
delanjem in proizvodnjo znanja, ki se pojavljajo
v umetniško-izobraževalnih projektih, ki vključu-
jejo diskriminirane in marginalizirane skupnosti.
Za pričujočo publikacijo smo na avtorje pri-
spevkov, ki prihajajo iz Avstrije, Finske, Ruske
Federacije, Srbije, Slovenije, Švice in Ukrajine,
naslovili naslednja vprašanja: na kakšen način
se gradijo skupnosti znotraj sodobne umetno-
sti in kulture? Kakšna je vloga institucij, kot so
denimo sodobni muzeji in galerije, pri omo-
gočanju in onemogočanju uporniških praks,
ki prevprašujejo normativizirano prizorišče
umetnosti in kulture? Ali lahko participatorne
prakse proizvedejo etično razmerje z “drugim”?
Ali pogoji možnosti teh praks dovoljujejo obli-
kovanje prostora za drugačno védenje/delo-
vanje/sodelovanje? Do kolikšne mere lahko
oziroma bi morali umetniško-izobraževalni
projekti prekiniti s pričakovanimi oblikami par-
ticipacije in komunikacije v kulturi? Mar nismo
kot pobudniki tovrstnih projektov obsojeni na
reproduciranje procesov normalizacije in dis-
kriminacije? In najpomembneje: kako lahko
subvertiramo nenehno normativizacijo in omo-
gočimo transformativno perspektivo, s katero
naj razveljavimo binarno razmerje med nor-
malnostjo in abnormalnostjo?
Na kakšen način pričujoča publikacija odgovar-
ja na vsa ta vprašanja?
Publikacija se odpre z Zapiski o “Sledeh v zraku”
(Delo v nastajanju) avtorjev Alexandra Ivanova
in Joane Monbaron (Ruska Federacija, Švica), ki
sta podala pobudo, da se celoten projekt pu-
blikacije skupaj z avtorji prispevkov, ki priha-
jajo iz Slovenije, Srbije in Ruske Federacije, v
letu 2018, predstavi v St. Peterburgu (čemur
11
naj sledi še eno srečanje v Ljubljani, Sloveni-
ji). Alexander Ivanov in Joana Monbaron sta s
projektom, ki tako kot pričujoča publikacija nosi
ime “Sledi v zraku” pričela v St. Peterburgu že
leta 2015. Izhodiščna ideja projekta je bila, da
se znotraj ruskega konteksta podajo prakse in
reeksije na sodobne ruske umetniške, inklu-
zivne in izobraževalne pobude, ki se osredinjajo
na participativno delovanje z dano skupnostjo.
V prispevku Ivanov in Monbaronova podata te-
meljito analizo zadnjih dveh let (ko sta s pro-
jektom začela), hkrati pa raziskujeta zgodovino,
umetniške strategije in institucionalni kontekst
umetniškega studia, ki ga je leta 2001, v enem
od obrobij St. Peterburga, kot ustanovo za os-
krbo na domu (v ruščini “psiho-nevrološki in-
ternat”; krajše PNI), odprla velika dobrodelna
organizacija. Avtorja ponudita skrben izbor poj-
mov znotraj besednjaka, ki omogoča introspek-
tivno reeksijo, medtem ko ne brez dvomov in z
vso skromnostjo skušata opredeliti praktični in
konceptualni okvir projekta ter lastno prakso in
predanost projektu.
Ivanov in Monbaronova sta k sodelovanju pri
naslednjih fazah projekta povabila Marino Grži-
nić, ki prihaja iz Ljubljane. To je bila priložnost,
da se razprava o hendikepu razširi na prostor
nekdanje vzhodne Evrope in, bolj specično, na
prostor nekdanje Jugoslavije. Marina Gržinić je
predlagala, da se razpravi o hendikepu, kulturi
in umetnosti ter o možnostih za razmišljanje
o novih skupnostih in ustvarjalnostih pridruži
tudi Aneta Stojnić (Beograd). Tako vzpostavljen
trikotnik Ruske Federacije, Slovenije in Srbije
je ustvaril okoliščine za vzpostavitev stika z dr.
Andrejo Rihter, direktorico Foruma slovanskih
kultur, z namenom, da podpre projekt.
Marina Gržinić (Slovenija) v svojem tekstu Telo,
hendikep in kritična umetnost obravnava zgo-
dovine in sedanjosti “hendikepa”, ki so v tesni
povezavi z družbenimi strukturami in kulturni-
mi diskurzi v prostoru nekdanje Jugoslavije in
širše. To pomeni nadaljnjo raziskavo nekdanje
vzhodne Evrope ter analiziranje stereotipov in
predsodkov do manjšin in etničnosti, starejših,
zično hendikepiranih ali duševno bolnih oseb,
LGBTQI, posameznikov z aidsom, če jih našte-
jemo le nekaj. Gržinić izjavi, da je to, da razu-
memo kaj se dogaja s temi različnimi oblikami
diskriminacije, getoizacije in rasializacije, bi-
stvenega pomena, študije hendikepa pa ponu-
jajo pomembne razlage za načine, prek katerih
se označevalci norosti, nenormalnosti, prizade-
tosti in hendikepa uporabljajo kot prožni ozna-
čevalci, ki nenehno re/producirajo vsaj dva tipa
teles: kategorijo zmožnega telesa, ki so vredna
drugih in nezmožnih teles, razumljenih kot in-
feriornih, odvečnih. Diskriminacija, ki temelji
na telesnih sposobnostih (angleško ableism), je
torej pojem, ki označuje sistem diskriminator-
nih oblik predsodkov izključevanja iz družbe in
marginalizacije oseb s hendikepom.
Aneta Stojnić (iz Beograda in trenutno delujoča
v New Yorku) v svojem tekstu Vprašanje hen-
dikepa v sodobnih plesnih praksah prevprašuje
do sedaj vzpostavljena razmerja hendikepa s
teoretičnimi ter praktičnimi in zgodovinskimi
raziskavami. Izhajajoč iz družb in skupnosti ter
umetniških in kulturnih praks v vzhodni Evropi
in po svetu, avtorica prevprašuje sistematično
marginalizacijo hendikepiranih teles ter skuša
12
na novo premisliti možnosti za njihovo opolno-
močenje. Stojnićeva se fokusira na tri aspekte:
a) specičen primer obravnave zmožnih teles
in hendikepiranih teles v sodobnem plesu, še
natančneje, na možnosti dekonstrukcije nor-
mativnosti plesalčevega telesa; b) način kako
je umetniško delo hendikepirane osebe obrav-
navano v širšem umetniškem kontekstu in kako
lahko prekoračimo diskriminacijsko oznako “in-
validnosti”; c) dostopnost formalne umetniške
izobrazbe za ljudi s posebnimi potrebami.
V okviru projekta “Sledi v zraku” sta Alexander
Ivanov in Joana Monbaron vzpostavila medna-
rodne povezave s številnimi strokovnjaki, ki so
bili povabljeni, da v St. Peterburgu prebivajo,
se srečujejo in delajo z umetniki, predavajo in
izvajajo seminarje v različnih sanktpeterbur-
ških institucijah. Mira Kallio-Tavin (Finska) je
ena izmed strokovnjakov, ki je tam bivala leta
2016. Njeno besedilo (Politično) delovanje
oseb s posebnimi potrebami obravnava proble-
me marginaliziranih družbenih skupin, kot so
hendikepirane osebe, s poudarkom na social-
nih problemih in prizadevanjih za oblikovanje
politično usmerjenih družbenih dogodkov in
programov. V tem kontekstu raziskuje vprašanja
normalnosti, političnega delovanja, sposobnos-
ti/(z)možnosti in kulturne participacije oseb v
sodelujočih umetniških projektih.
Ker je namen publikacije ustvariti nadaljnji
kontekst, ki izhaja iz sanktpeterburških aktiv-
nosti in reeksij in se potemtakem predstavlja
v širšem evropskem prostoru, je Marina Gržinić
povabila k sodelovanju Doris Arztmann in Evo
Egermann (Avstrija), z namenom, da predsta-
vita svoj dolgoletni projekt Kripljasti materiali,
pripravljen v obliki časopisa, ter da hkrati izpo-
stavita svoje delovanje in sodelovanje v obli-
ki pogovora, ki ga objavljajmo pod naslovom
Kiborški izstop iz učilnice. Telesne heteroglo-
sije in Kripljasti materiali za umazano znanje
v umetniškem izobraževanju. Avtorici se prav
tako navezujeta na material iz časopisa Kripelj,
ki nam ponuja sodobne in zgodovinske strate-
gije upora. Egermannova je v letu 2012 pričela
izdajati časopis kot samozaložniški zin in zbirko
materialov, ki govorijo o temah, ki so povezane
s “kriplji, oziroma se tičejo različnih povezav
med pohabljenostjo in umetnostjo, kulturo in
reprezentacijo, da bi se tako uprli in nasproto-
vali kategorijam normalnega in abnormalnega.
Njuno izhodišče je, da se kategorije zmožnih in
nezmožnih teles vzpostavljajo na vsakodnevni
ravni ter da je ta fenomen konstruiran s strani
specičnih družbenih kontekstov (kot so deni-
mo šole), skozi strukturne mehanizme, ki ne-
nehno ponavljajo niz norm. Njuno stališče je
jasno ter odraža izjavo ameriške avtorice Simi
Linton, svetovalke in javne govorke, ki svoje
delo posveča študijam hendikepa in ki pravi:
“Oviramo družbeni red, saj kot gibanje Kripljev
želimo prekiniti s tem reproduciranjem podob
nezmožne žrtve. Seveda Doris Arztmann in Eva
Egermann izjavita, da je umetniška vzgoja prav
tako mesto, kamor lahko umestimo prakse od-
pora s kritične Kripelj perspektive in to tako,
da uporabljamo konceptualna orodja, ki so jih
razvili kvir, feministični misleci in/ali misleci s
področja študij hendikepa.
Ko je bila struktura publikacije oblikovana, je
Marina Gržinić predlagala, da se projektu pri-
13
druži še Darja Zaviršek, pionirka kritičnega
mišljenja znotraj univerze ter predavateljica in
teoretičarka na področju hendikepa. V svojem
besedilu Postsocialistični paternalizem nege
in nasilja razvija Zavirškova analizo tega, kar
v kontekstu postkomunističnih družb imenuje
preložena deinstitucionalizacija področja soci-
alnega varstva in hendikepa, in ki ga prevede
v proces, ki ga zelo natančno poimenuje kot
postsocialistični paternalizem nege in nasilja,
ki je rezultat ekonomskega pomanjkanja, strahu
pred osiromašenjem in transgeneracijske aver-
zije do hendikepiranih oseb. Avtorica izpostavi,
da so (nekdanje) vzhodnoevropske družbe po
2. svetovni vojni in socialistični politiki druž-
beno-spolne enakosti skušale reševati “žensko
vprašanje” skozi zaposlitev za polni delovni čas,
kar je delno rezultiralo v širjenju zaprtih in pol-
zaprtih institucij za osebe z različnimi težavami,
vključno z duševno bolnimi. Zavirškova pokaže
kaj te totalne represivne institucije predstavlja-
jo; od “najboljše rešitve socialnega varstva” do
od zibelke pa vse do groba” oseb, ki so proi-
zvedene in vzgojene kot hendikepirane osebe
in brez (upoštevanja) individualnih potreb ali
agend.
Jasno je, da publikacija vzpostavlja zemljevid
določenih izkušenj, dela in zgodovin. S tega
gledišča sta Ivanov in Monbaronova povabila
Ayman Eckford, katere izkušnja je tako kot
delo Zavirškove v Sloveniji – bistvenega pome-
na. Ayman Eckford je teoretičarka in aktivistka,
ki v ruskem kontekstu trasira zgodovine in se-
danjosti diskriminacije na osnovi telesnih spo-
sobnosti. V svojem besedilu Ableizem v ruski
aktivistični skupnosti izpostavlja, da hendikep
ni medicinski, temveč družbeni in pravni kon-
strukt, prav tako pa tudi opozarja, da bi hendi-
kep moral biti razumljen znotraj pogojev parti-
kularne družbe. Koncept “hendikepa” torej prej
govori o družbi, v kateri ta oseba živi, kot pa o
njegovih/njenih telesnih, zičnih zmožnostih.
Publikacija se zaključuje z umetniškim kolekti-
vom microsillons (Ženeva, Švica), ki je v okviru
projekta “Sledi v zraku” prišel v St. Peterburg
in že sodeloval v pogovorih z umetniki. V svo-
jem besedilu Opolnomočenje? microsillons
dekonstruirajo pojem opolnomočenja skozi
retrospektivno kritično analizo lastne razisko-
valne prakse, na katero je vplivalo delo Paula
Freireja, še zlasti pa dela bell hooks, Henryja
Girouxa in Ire Shora. Branje teh pedagoških
reeksij in eksperimentov, kot povedo, je bilo
ključno pri snovanju njihovih zgodnejših pro-
jektov. Ta tesna vez med idejo opolnomočenja”
in tem, kar so skušali razviti pri delu z margi-
naliziranimi skupnostmi, pa se je skozi njihovo
praktično izkušnjo bistveno spremenila. Lahko
opolnomočenje” v praksi spremeni razmerje, ki
ga imajo te skupnosti do umetniškega sveta, ter
s tem spremenijo tudi same umetniške institu-
cije?
V zaključku naj dodamo, da ta uvod povzema
glavne smernice publikacije v štirih jezikih: slo-
venskem, ruskem, srbskem in angleškem. Kot
rezultat konsenzualnega dogovora so vsa be-
sedila v celoti objavljena le v angleškem jeziku.
To pa ne pomeni, da se v prihodnosti ne bomo
spustili v prevajanje in objavo izvornih besedil
na spletu ali kako drugače znotraj naših parti-
kularnih kontekstov.
14
Prav tako bi želeli izpostaviti, da smo med pri-
pravo pričujoče publikacije naleteli na tenzije,
zlasti kar se tiče rabe terminologije hendikepa.
Uredniki smo se pri prevodih v angleščino odlo-
čili za uporabo pojma “disabled”, saj je v angle-
ško govorečem okolju aktivistov in akademikov
ta konsenzualen. Vendar pa je potrebno dodati,
da se s takšno rabo genealogije izvornih poj-
mov nenehno izgubljajo v prevodih. Še več, gre
za različne rabe besed v slovenščini, srbščini ali
ruščini, odvisno od konteksta in razprav, ki v teh
državah potekajo; te razprave so včasih nevtra-
lizirane z generičnim prevodom v angleški jezik.
V svojih prispevkih so avtorji izpostavili lastne
reeksije na soočanja z vsemi temi odprtimi in
produktivnimi vprašanji.
Ta pomembna publikacija ne bi bila možna brez
prijazne podpore mnogih institucij in kolegov.
Tako uredniki kot avtorji prispevkov so prido-
bili ogromno vsled velikodušnosti in podpore
dr. Andreje Rihter, katere neizmerni in bistveni
pomoči gre velika zahvala.
Ta publikacija je torej prvi korak, da bi ustvarili
mednarodno skupnost, a tudi program predsta-
vitev v St. Peterburgu, Ljubljani in Beogradu, da
bi razširili teme in povezave, ki so bile vzpostav-
ljene v procesu nastajanja te publikacije.
Marina Gržinić, Alexander Ivanov, Joana Monba-
ron in Aneta Stojnić
November 2017
15
ПРЕДИСЛОВИЕ
В настоящем сборнике собраны тексты, объ-
единенные стремлением переосмыслить су-
ществующие в современной культуре и ис-
кусстве образовательные и художественные
инициативы (названные в данной публикации
«практиками сопротивления»), в основе кото-
рых лежит работа с сообществом. Авторы/-ки
книги из Австрии, Финляндии, Российской
Федерации, Сербии, Словении, Швейцарии и
Украины обращаются к различным професси-
ональным траекториям и историческим кон-
текстам в Европе и уделяют особое внима-
ние анализу и критическому представлению
проектов, затрагивающих темы инклюзии и
дезинтеграции. Почему это важно? В то время
как понятие сообщества все чаще эксплуати-
руется в различных арт и образовательных
программах, процессы маргинализации и
геттоизации тех, кого причисляют к людям с
инвалидностью и рассматривают сквозь при-
зму современных нормативных идеалов в
качестве «неугодных», становятся все более
сильными.
В данной книге мы также сочли важным сде-
лать акцент на противоречиях в собственных
профессиональных установках и методах. Для
чего? Обращение к личному опыту побудило
нас задуматься о несоизмеримости теории и
практики, а также о конфликте между произ-
водством и применением знаний, который, по
нашим убеждениям, неизбежен в проектах с
участием маргинализированных и подверг-
шихся дискриминации сообществ.
РУ
Пытаясь обозначить сложный и неодно-
значный контекст, в котором существуют
современные социально-вовлеченные ини-
циативы, участники/-цы представленной пу-
бликации обращаются к следующему кругу
вопросов. Кто и по какому принципу объеди-
няет людей в группы в рамках художествен-
ных и образовательных проектов? Какова
роль институций, таких как современные
музеи и галереи, в актуализации/подавле-
нии практик, подвергающих сомнению нор-
мативные установки в культуре и искусстве?
Способны ли партиципаторные комьюнити
проекты выстраивать этические отношения с
Другим? Предоставляют ли данные проекты
возможность для появления альтернативных
способов производства знаний, опыта и форм
солидарности? Каким образом художествен-
ные и образовательные проекты способны
противостоять устоявшимся формам участия
и коммуникации в культуре? В какой степе-
ни мы, занимающиеся подобными проектами,
воспроизводим существующие нормативные
и дискриминационные установки? И, наконец,
что нам необходимо сделать, чтобы дестаби-
лизировать процессы нормализации и транс-
формировать бинарную оппозицию соответ-
ствия/исключения из нормы?
Как данная публикация отвечает на эти во-
просы?
Сборник открывают «Заметки о ‘’Рисунках из
воздуха’’» Александра Иванова и Жоаны Мон-
16
барон (Россия, Швейцария), которые являют-
ся инициаторами/-ками всего издательского
проекта. «Рисунки из воздуха» запущенная в
2015 году одноименная междисциплинарная
программа, созданная в ответ на существу-
ющие в современном российском искусстве
социально-вовлеченные и партиципаторные
практики. В центре проекта – история, худо-
жественные стратегии и институциональный
контекст арт-студии, открытой крупной бла-
готворительной организацией при психо-
неврологическом интернате в одном из при-
городов Петербурга. Статья, представленная
в данном сборнике, рассматривает первые
два года проведения «Рисунков из воздуха»
и написана с целью помочь кураторам/-кам
проекта концептуализировать собственную
практику. Текст публикации предваряет под-
робный словарь терминов.
Работая над структурой и содержанием про-
граммы «Рисунки из воздуха» Александр Ива-
нов и Жоана Монбарон пригласили Марину
Гржинич (Словения) принять участие в проек-
те. Возникшее сотрудничество предоставило
возможность расширить дискуссию об инва-
лидности, поставив ее в контекст Восточной
Европы и, в частности, пространства бывшей
Югославии. Позднее по приглашению Мари-
ны Гржинич к проекту присоединилась Анета
Стойнич (Сербия). Объединенные желанием
представить обсуждение статуса инвалидно-
сти в культуре и искусстве в качестве способа
переосмысления идеи сообщества, указанный
коллектив авторов обратился к директорке
«Форума славянских культур» Андреа Рихтер с
просьбой оказать поддержку проекту.
Марина Гржинич (Словения) в статье «Тело,
инвалидность и критически настроенное ис-
кусство» размышляет над историей и фор-
мами присутствия «инвалидности» в соци-
альных структурах и культурных дискурсах
бывшей Югославии. Гржинич ставит вопрос о
дальнейшем изучении пространства бывшей
Восточной Европы, анализируя стереотипы и
предрассудки, окружающие меньшинства и
этнические группы, пожилых людей, людей с
физической или ментальной инвалидностью,
ЛГБТКИА, ВИЧ-инфицированных и другие со-
общества. В своем тексте Гржинич призывает
обратиться к анализу существующих форм
дискриминации, геттоизации и расизации,
подчеркивая, что исследования инвалидности
способны выявить и объяснить те механизмы,
при помощи которых символы безумия, ано-
малии, нарушения и физической неполноцен-
ности функционируют в качестве подвижных
маркеров для производства двух типов тел:
способных, able (имеющих ценность) и неспо-
собных, disabled (низших, рудиментарных).
Таким образом авторка заявляет, что эйблизм
это комплексное понятие, охватывающее
всю систему предрассудков и форм дискри-
минации людей с инвалидностью.
Анета Стойнич (Сербия, США) в статье «К во-
просу об инвалидности в современных тан-
цевальных практиках» анализирует пробле-
му маргинализации, обращаясь к понятию
эмпауэрмента (empowerment). Текст Стойнич
рассматривает: а) отдельные случаи работы
со «способными» (able) и «неспособными»
(disabled) телами в современном танце и, бо-
лее конкретно, варианты деконструкции нор-
17
мативности тела танцующего/-щей; б) оптику
восприятия произведения искусства, создан-
ного художником/-цей с инвалидностью в
широком художественном контексте, а также
то, как это произведение способно изменить
представление о самой инвалидности; c)
проблему доступности формального художе-
ственного образования для людей с инвалид-
ностью.
В рамках проекта «Рисунки из воздуха» Алек-
сандр Иванов и Жоана Монбарон провели в
Санкт-Петербурге программу резиденций для
специалистов/-сток в области арт-образо-
вания, критической педагогики и медиации,
каждый/-ая из которых посетили арт-студию
при интернате. Программа резиденций со-
провождалась серией лекций на открытых
городских площадках. Мира Каллио-Тавин
(Финляндия) была участницей представлен-
ной программы в 2016 году. В центре внима-
ния ее статьи «Независимость (agency) людей
с инвалидностью» вопрос создания поли-
тически ответственных комьюнити событий и
программ. Текст рассматривает вопросы со-
ответствия норме (normalcy), независимости
(agency), возможности (ability) и культурной
партиципации (cultural participation) людей с
инвалидностью в рамках коллаборативных
художественных проектов.
Проводя параллели между практиками в
Санкт-Петербурге и другими европейски-
ми проектами, Марина Гржинич пригласи-
ла Дорис Артсман и Эву Эгерман (Австрия)
представить долгосрочный проект «Крип
Материалы» (Crip Materials) в рамках данной
публикации. Проект существует в виде жур-
нала Crip Magazine и серии обсуждений, с
содержанием которых можно ознакомиться
в статье «Киборг в учебной аудитории. Теле-
сные гетероглоссии и крип материалы для
грязного знания в художественном образо-
вании». Эгерман начала публиковать свой
журнал в 2012 году в виде зина, посвящен-
ного тематике крип-исследований, искусства
и культуры, а также репрезентации противо-
речивых категорий нормального/ненормаль-
ного. По их мнению, категории «способных»
(able) и «неспособных» (disabled) тел являются
продуктом ежедневного становления и скон-
струированы специфическими социальными
контекстами (такими как школы) при помо-
щи структурных механизмов, нацеленных на
воспроизводство совокупности норм. Подоб-
ный взгляд созвучен высказыванию амери-
канской авторки, экспертки и ораторки Сими
Линтон: «Мы разрываем социальный порядок
так, как нам нужно, потому что предназначе-
ние Крип-движения – прекращение воспро-
изводства образа беспомощной жертвы». До-
рис Артсман и Эва Эгерман утверждают, что
аудитория/класс, в которой обучают искусству,
является местом, где нам следует искать ме-
тоды сопротивления с критической крип-пер-
спективы, используя концептуальные рамки
квир- и феминистских исследований, а также
исследований инвалидности.
После того, как общая структура книги была
сформирована, Марина Гржинич пригласила
присоединиться к проекту Дарью Завиршек
одну из первых университетских исследо-
вательниц инвалидности в Словении. В тек-
18
сте под названием «Постсоциалистический
уход-насилие-патернализм» Завиршек ана-
лизирует феномен отложенной деинститу-
ционализации сферы социальной работы и
инвалидности в посткоммунистических об-
ществах. С ее точки зрения, связка «постсо-
циализм-уход-насилие-патернализм» пред-
ставляет собой последствие исключения из
экономики, страха обнищания и культивиро-
вавшейся поколениями неприязни по отно-
шению к людям с инвалидностью. Завиршек,
в частности, подчеркивает, что распростране-
ние закрытых и полузакрытых учреждений
для людей с инвалидностью в (бывших) вос-
точноевропейских обществах после Второй
мировой войны отчасти является результатом
политики гендерного равенства при социа-
лизме, которая стремилась решить «женский
вопрос» через практики трудоустройства
женщин на полный рабочий день. Завиршек
также описывает, что представляют собой
данные тотальные институции, «лучшие фор-
мы социальной защиты от рождения до самой
смерти», для людей, воспитанных как инвали-
дов и лишенных независимости и индивиду-
альных потребностей.
Данная публикация собирает вместе сво-
еобразную карту опыта, рабочих практик
и историй. Для создания более объемного
представления о заявленной теме, Александр
Иванов и Жоана Монбарон пригласили Айман
Экфорд, чей опыт в России является таким же
важным, как опыт Завиршек в Словении, при-
нять участие в проекте. Айман Экфорд — ис-
следовательница и активистка, пишущая о со-
временных и исторических формах эйблизма
в российском контексте. В статье «Эйблизм
в российском активистском сообществе»,
Экфорд обращает внимание на то, что инва-
лидность является не медицинским, но соци-
альным и юридическим конструктом, который
нужно рассматривать в контексте конкретно-
го общества. Авторка текста подчеркивает, что
концепт «инвалидность» в большей степени
характеризует общество, в котором живет че-
ловек, чем его/ее физическое состояние.
Публикацию завершает текст коллектива «ми-
кросийон» (microsillons) (Швейцария), участ-
ники/-цы которого также посещали Санкт-Пе-
тербург в рамках проекта «Рисунки из
воздуха» и имели возможность познакомить-
ся с работой арт-студии. Статья «Empowering?»
рассматривает понятие эмпауэрмента сквозь
призму ретроспективного критического ана-
лиза исследовательской практики «микросий-
он», вдохновленной трудами Паулу Фрейре,
белл хукс, Анри Жиро и Айры Шор. Идеи и пе-
дагогические эксперименты этих авторов/-ок
легли в основу ранних проектов коллектива.
Однако то, что в начале представлялось близ-
ким к идее эмпауэрмента, претерпело значи-
тельные изменения в процессе работы «ми-
кросийон» с сообществами, подвергшимися
маргинализации. Отсюда, одним из главных
вопросов публикации становится способ-
ность/ неспособность понятия эмпауэрмента
менять отношение маргинализированных со-
обществ к миру искусства, трансформировать
культурные институции изнутри.
Важно отметить, что данное предисловие
затрагивает основные сюжетные линии пу-
19
бликации на четырех языках: словенском,
русском, сербском и английском. По соглаше-
нию сторон полные тексты статей печатаются
только на английском. Это не означает, что мы
не планируем делать их переводы в будущем,
а также выкладывать их в свободный доступ.
В процессе подготовки этой публикации, мы
также столкнулись с «трудностями перево-
да». Так, в англоязычных текстах сборника
мы приняли решение использовать понятие
«disabled», являющееся результатом консен-
суса в англоговорящих активистских и ака-
демических кругах. Лексика же, которая упо-
требляется на данный момент в Словении,
Сербии и Российской Федерации и которая
во многом отражает уровень и состояние те-
кущих социально-политических дебатов об
инвалидности в этих регионах, была частично
нейтрализована или утеряна в переводах.
Данная публикация была бы невозможна без
поддержки многих людей. Редакторы/-ки и
авторы/-ки сборника благодарят Андреа Рих-
тер за поддержку проекта и фундаменталь-
ную помощь в его реализации.
Представленный сборник является первым
шагом к созданию международного сооб-
щества через программу презентаций в
Санкт-Петербурге, Любляне и Белграде с це-
лью расширения дискуссии и международ-
ных связей, возникших в процессе подготов-
ки данной публикации.
Марина Гржинич, Александр Иванов,
Жоана Монбарон, Анета Стойнич
Ноябрь 2017
20
UVOD
Centralno polazište ove publikacije je reeksija
praksi otpora koje podrazumevaju sudelujuće
zajednice u umetnosti i kulturi. Naš predlog je
da razmotrimo različite istorije i iskustva Evrope
uzimajući u obzir i istovremeno se suprotstav-
ljajući umetničko-edukativnim participativnim
projektima čiji je cilj re) i dez) integracija. Zbog
čega je ovo značajno?
Dok je ideja zajednice široko rasprostranjena i
često eksploatisana u umetničkim i edukativ-
nim projektima, istovremeno deluje konstantni
proces marginalizacije i getoizacije onih koji su
percipirani kao osobe s hendikepom ili su bole-
sni, odnosno svih onih koji su viđeni kao “reme-
teći” za savremeni nasilni normativ “idealnog”.
Stoga, sa namerom da pruže otpor konceptual-
noj i praktičnoj instrumentalizaciji sudelujućeg
rada u umetnosti i kulturi, autori objedinjeni u
ovoj publikaciji, kreću od kritičke analize razli-
čitih istorija i iskustava evropskih i ruskih praksi
otpora.
Uz navedeno centralno polazište, takođe smo
želeli da podelimo iskustva, nedoumice i kon-
tradikcije sa kojima smo se mi — urednice, ure-
dnici i autori — susretali u svojim specičnim
praksama. Zbog čega? Zato što su nas upravo
naša životna i profesionalna iskustva podstakla
na promišljanje jaza između teorije i prakse, kao
i tenzija između činjenja i proizvodnje znanja,
koje se javljaju u umetničko-edukativnim pro-
gramima uključenim u rad sa diskriminisanim i
marginalizovanim zajednicama.
Za ovu publikaciju pozvali smo autore iz Au-
strije, Finske, Ruske Federacije, Srbije, Slovenije,
Švajcarske i Ukraine, da razmotre sledeća pita-
nja: kako se u savremenoj umetnosti i kulturi
formiraju zajednice? Koja je uloga institucija,
poput galerija i muzeja savremene umetnosti,
u podsticanju ili ograničavanju praksi otpora
koje propituju normativnost umetničkih i kul-
turalnih prostora? Mogu li sudelujuće zajednice
da generišu etički odnos sa “drugim”? Da li je u
uslovima mogućnosti ovih praksi moguće for-
miranje drugačijeg prostora znanja/stvaranja/
saradnje? U kojoj meri umetničko-edukativni
programi mogu ili treba da uzdrmaju očekiva-
ne forme participacije i komunikacije u kulturi?
Nismo li i mi sami, kao inicijatori jednog takvog
projekta, osuđeni da reprodukujemo procese
normalizacije i diskriminacije? I, konačno, kako
možemo da napravimo subverziju utvrđene
normalizacije i da otvorimo mogućnost za po-
ništavanje binarnosti između normalnosti/ab-
normalnosti?
Kako ova publikacija odgovara na ta pomenuta
pitanja?
Otpočinjemo sa tekstom Beleške o “Tragovima
u vazduhu” (Rad u toku) Aleksandra Ivanova i
Joane Monbaron (Ruska Federacija, Švajcarska)
inicijatora projekta koji će 2018. godine pre-
zentovati u Petrogradu zajedno sa učesnicima
SR
21
iz Slovenije, Srbije i Ruske Federacije (posle ove
prezentacije će uslediti i sastanak u Ljubljani u
Sloveniji).Aleksandar Ivanov i Joana Monbaron
otpočeli su u Petrogradu 2015. projekat “Tragovi
u vazduhu” sa početnom idejom da se u ruskom
kontekstu razviju prakse i reeksije savremenih
umetničkih, inkluzivnih i obrazovnih inicijativa
usmerenih ka sudelujućem radu u datoj zajedni-
ci. U svom tekstu Ivanov i Monbaron ponudili su
temeljnu reeksiju prethodne dve godine (od
kada je projekat pokrenut), ujedno istražujući
istoriju, umetničke strategije i institucionalni
kontekst umetničkog studija koji je 2001. godine
u jednom od Petrogradskih predgrađa otvorila
velika dobrotvorna organizacija, kao rezidenci-
jalnu ustanovu za zbrinjavanje (na Ruskom: psi-
ho-neurološki internat”, skraćeno PNI). Autori su
ponudili pažljiv odabir pojmova u okviru voka-
bulara koji omogućava introspektivnu reeksiju,
dok, ne bez sumnji i nedoumica, skromno poku-
šavaju da denišu praktični i konceptualni okvir
projekta kao i sopstvenu praksu i posvećenost.
Ivanov i Monbaron su pozvali Marinu Gržinić iz
Ljubljane da uzme učešće u nastavku projekta.
Ovo je otvorilo mogućnost da se pokrene deba-
ta o hendikepu na širem prostoru bivše istočne
Evrope i posebno na prostoru bivše Jugoslavije.
Marina Gržinić je predložila da pozovu Anetu
Stojnić iz Beograda da se uključi u pomenutu
diskusiju o hendikepu, kulturi i umetnosti, kao
i mogućnostima da mislimo o novim zajedni-
cama i kreativnim procesima. Ovaj trougao
Ruska Federacija, Slovenija, Srbija je otvorio
mogućnost da kontaktiramo Dr. Andreju Rihter,
direktorku Foruma za Slovenske Kulture, koja je
podržala projekat.
Marina Gržinić (Slovenija) u svom tekstu Telo,
hendikep i kritička umetnost reektuje istori-
je i savremenosti “hendikepa” tesno povezanih
sa društvenim strukturama i kulturnim diskur-
sima na prostoru bivše Jugoslavije i šire. Ovo
podrazumeva dalje istraživanje prostora bivše
istočne Evrope, analizu stereotipa i predrasuda
prema manjinama i etničkim zajednicama, pre-
ma starijim osobama, prema osobama sa inva-
liditetom, zički hendikepiranima ili mentalno
bolesnima, LGBTQI, osobama sa HIV-om i obole-
lima od Side, da pomenemo samo neke. Gržinić
tvrdi da je neophodno da razumemo šta se de-
šava sa ovim različitim oblicima diskriminacije,
getoizacije, racijalizacije, te da studije hendike-
pa nude važne uvide u to kako se označitelji
ludila, abnormalnosti, nesposobnosti, hendike-
pa i slično, koriste kao eksibilni markeri za
konstantu re/produkciju najmanje dva tipa tela:
kategorije sposobnog zdravog tela kao vrednog
i nesposobnog tela kao inferiornog i nepotreb-
nog. Diskriminacija na osnovu telesnih sposob-
nosti (eng. ableism) je koncept koji označava
sistem predrasuda, isključivanja i marginaliza-
cija osoba sa hendikepom.
Aneta Stojnić (iz Beograda trenutno bazirana u
Njujorku) u tekstu Pitanje hendikepa u savre-
menim plesnim praksama propituje i proble-
matizuje uspostavljene odnose u okviru teori-
je, prakse ali i istorizacije pitanja invaliditeta.
Polazeći od društava, zajednica kao i umetnič-
kih i kulturalnih praksi u istočnoj Evropi i šire,
ona preispituju sistematsku marginalizaciju i
pokušava da promisli mogućnosti za osnaživa-
nje. U tom pogledu Stojnić se fokusirala na tri
aspekta: a) specični slučaj tretmana sposob-
22
nih tela i hendikepiranih tela u savremenom
plesu, i mogućnosti za dekonstrukciju normativ-
nosti plesnog tela; b) tretman umetničkih dela
i umetnika s hendikepom u širem umetničkom
kontekstu, te da li i kako mogu da prevaziđu eti-
ketu “invaliditeta”; c) problem ne/dostupnosti
formalnog umetničkog obrazovanja osobama s
hendikepom.
U okviru projekta “Tragovi u vazduhu” Aleksan-
dar Ivanov i Joana Monbaron su uspostavili in-
ternacionalne odnose sa brojnim profesional-
cima, koje su pozvali da borave u Petrogradu,
sretnu se sa umetnicima koji rade u studiju,
održe predavanja i seminare u različitim petro-
gradskim institucijama. Mira Kalio Tavin (Mira
Kallio-Tavin, Finska) je bila jedna od specija-
listkinja na rezidenciji tokom 2016. U svom te-
kstu Agensnost osoba sa hendikepom ona se
bavi problemima marginalizovanih društvenih
grupa, poput osoba sa hendikepom, fokusirajući
se na socijalne probleme i težnje ka razvoju
politički osvešćenih društvenih događaja i pro-
grama. U tom kontekstu istražuje pitanja nor-
malnosti, agensnosti, sposobnosti i kulturalne
participacije osoba sa hendikepom u sudelu-
jućim umetničkim projektima.
Kako je namera ove publikacije da polazeći od
aktivnosti razvijenih u okviru projekta u Petro-
gradu, razmotri druge pozicije aktivne na pro-
storu Evrope, Marina Gržinić je pozvala Doris
Arcman i Evu Egerman (Doris Arztmann, Eva
Egermann, Austrija) da predstave svoj dugogo-
dišnji projekat Krip materijali (Crip Materials)
koji se sastoji od časopisa i njihovog angažma-
na o kom govore u formi dijaloga pod naslovom
Kiborški izlaz iz učionice. Telo višeglasja i Krip
materijali za prljavo znanjeu umetnosti i obra-
zovanju. Arcman i Egerman govore o materija-
lima iz Krip magazina koji prikazuje savremene
i istorijske strategije otpora. Egerman je počela
2012. da objavljuje magazin kao samizdat zin,
odnosno kolekciju materijala o Krip temama,
umetnosti, kulturi i reprezentaciji kontradik-
tornih kategorija normalnog i nenormalnog.
Autorke polaze od činjenice da se kategorije
sposobnih i nesposobnih tela uspostavljaju
svakodnevno, te da je taj fenomen konstruisan u
specičnim društvenim kontekstima (na primer
u školama), putem kulturalnih mehanizmima
koji konstantno ponavljaju određeni set normi.
Njihovo stanovište jasno se ogleda u izjavi Simi
Linton, američke autorke, konsultanatkinje i jav-
ne govornice fokusirane na studije hendikepa,
koja kaže: osporavamo društveni poredak, jer
kao Krip pokret hoćemo da zaustavimo repro-
dukciju slika nesposobne žrtve. Svakako da Do-
ris Arcman i Eva Egerman tvrde da je umetnička
klasa takođe mesto gde možemo da tražimo i
lociramo prakse otpora iz kritičke Krip perspek-
tive, koristeći tehnike koje su razvijene u okviru
kvir, feminističkih i/ili studija hendikepa.
Kada je konačno struktura publikacije bila for-
mirana, Marina Gržinić je analizirajući slove-
nački prostor predložila da se Darija Zaviršek,
pionirka kritičke misli unutar univerziteta, koja
predaje i piše o hendikepu u Sloveniji, prid-
ruži projektu. U svom tekstu Post-socijalistički
paternalizam brige i nasilja, Zaviršek analizira
fenomen koji naziva odloženom deinstituciona-
lizacijom u post-komunističkim društvima cele
oblasti socijalnog rada i hendikepa, prevodeći
23
ih u procese koje je jako precizno nazvala “post-
-socijalističkim paternalizmom brige i nasilja”,
nastalim usled ekonomske oskudice, straha od
siromaštva i transgeneracijske averzije prema
hendikepiranim osobama.
Autorka pokazuje kako su društva (bivše) istočne
Evrope posle Drugog svetskog rata socijalistič-
kim politikama jednakosti polova, nameravala
da reše “žensko pitanje” zapošljavanjem žena sa
punim radnim vremenom, što je delimično re-
zultiralo širenjem zatvorenih ili poluzatvorenih
institucija za ljude sa različitim vrstama proble-
ma, uključujući probleme mentalnog zdravlja.
Zaviršek pokazuje šta predstavljaju te totalne
represivne institucije, koje idu od savršenog
rešenja za socialnu negu” do od kolevke, pa sve
do groba” za ljude koji su proizvedeni i odgajani
kao hendikepirani i ali bez individualnih potre-
ba ili planova.
Jasno je da ova publikacija mapira određena
iskustva, rad i istorije. Stoga su Ivanov i Mon-
baron pozvali Ajman Ekford (Ayman Eckford)
čije je iskustvo od ključne važnosti slično radu
Darije Zaviršek u Sloveniji. Ajman Ekford je te-
oretičarka i aktivistkinja koja radi na trasiranju
istorija i savremenosti diskriminacije na osno-
vu telesnih sposobnosti u ruskom kontekstu. U
svom tekstu Diskriminacija na osnovu telesnih
sposobnosti i ruska aktivistička zajednica ona
pokazuje kako hendikep nije medicinski, već
društveni i pravni konstrukt, i tvrdi da hendikep
mora da se izučava spram uslova konkretnog
društva. Stoga koncept “hendikepa” više govori
o društvu u kom osoba živi nego o telesnom,
zičkom stanju te osobe.
Publikacija se završava s tekstom umetničkog
kolektiva microsillons (Ženeva, Švajcarska) koji
su već dolazili u Petrograd u okviru projekta
“Tragovi u vazduhu” i razgovarali sa umetni-
cima na terenu. Kroz retrospektivnu kritičku
analizu sopstvene istraživačke prakse koja je
inspirisana autorima poput Paola Fereire (Pau-
lo Freire), bel huks (bell hooks), Henrija Žirua
(Henry Giroux) i posebno Ire Šor (Ira Shor), mi-
crosillons dekonstruišu ideju osnaženja. Čitanje
pomenutih pedagoških reeksija i istraživanja
bilo je ključno za razvoj njihovih ranih projeka-
ta. Međutim, ono što je delovalo kao blisko ideji
osnaženja” koju su pokušavali da razviju kroz
rad sa marginalizovanim zajednicama, suštin-
ski se promenilo u svetlu praktičnog iskustva.
Može li “osnaženje” u praksi da promeni odnos
ovih zajednica i sveta umetnosti, te da promeni
same institucije?
U zaključku, važno je istaći da smo ovim uvo-
dom saželi osnovne ideje cele publikacije na
četiri jezika: slovenačkom, ruskom, srpskom i
engleskom. Dogovorili smo se da kompletni te-
kstovi u publikaciji budu samo na engleskom.
Međutim, to ne znači da se u budućnosti neće-
mo upustiti u prevod i objaviti tekstove na ori-
ginalnim jezicima onlajn ili na drugim specič-
nim mestima.
Konačno, značajno je da kažemo da smo tokom
rada na ovoj publikaciji nailazili na tenzije, po-
gotovo kada se radi o terminologiji hendikepa.
Kao urednici smo se odlučili da na engleskom
koristimo termin “disabled” koji je prihvaćen u
aktivističkom i akademskom kontekstu engle-
skih govornih područja, ali moramo da istak-
24
nemo da se genealogija originalne upotrebe
termina posledično izgubila u prevodu. Zaista,
različite reči koje se koriste u slovenačkom, srp-
skom ili ruskom zavise od konteksta kao i deba-
ta koje se odvijaju u ovim zemljama, a te debate
su povremeno neutralizovane generičkim pre-
vodom na engleski. U svojim tekstovima autori
su iskazali sopstvena stanovišta povodom ovih
otvorenih i produktivnih pitanja.
Ova važna publikacija ne bi bila moguća bez
podrške mnogih organizacija i kolega. Urednici
su posebno zahvalni Dr. Andreji Rihter na veli-
kodušnoj podršci, te ogromnoj i suštinskoj po-
moći.
Ova publikacija je prvi korak u stvaranju inter-
nacionalne zajednice, kroz program prezentaci-
ja u Petrogradu, Ljubljani i Beogradu, sa ciljem
širenja tema i odnosa uspostavljenih tokom
procesa rada na toj publikaciji.
Marina Gržinić, Alexander Ivanov,
Joana Monbaron i Aneta Stojnić
Novembar, 2017
25
INTRODUCTION
The central point of this publication is to reect
on oppositional practices involving collabora-
tive communities in art and culture. We propose
to take into consideration the different histories
and experiences of Europe while reecting and
contesting art-educational participative pro-
jects with re-) and dis-) integrative aims. Why is
this so important?
As the notion of community is widely used and
exploited in art and educational projects, there
is a constant process of complicit marginaliza-
tion and ghettoization of those seen as disa-
bled and ill, those who are seen as “disturbing”
from the point of view of contemporary violent
normative “ideals.” Therefore, as an attempt to
resist the conceptual and practical instrumen-
talisation of community work in art and culture,
the contributors draw upon different histories
and experiences of European and Russian op-
positional practices, without abandoning a crit-
ical stance in their analyses.
Along with this central point of departure, we
have also decided to share experiences of am-
bivalences and contradictions encountered in
our — the editors and contributors — respective
practices. Why? Because these lived and pro-
fessional experiences have urged us to reect
upon the gaps between theory and practice,
as well as on the tensions betweendoing and
producing knowledge that redundantly occur in
art-educational projects involving discriminat-
ed and marginalised communities.
For this publication the contributors from Aus-
tria, Finland, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slove-
nia, Switzerland and Ukraine were asked to take
into consideration the following questions:
how communities are built in contemporary
art and culture? Whatis the role of institutions,
such ascontemporary museums and galleries,
in opening or suppressing oppositional prac-
tices that question normativized art and cul-
tural settings? Can participatory community
practices generate an ethical relationship with
the “other”? Do the conditions of possibility of
these practices allow the formation of a space
to know/make/collaborate differently? To what
extent can or should art-educationalprojects
disrupt expected forms of participation and
communication of culture? As initiators of such
projects, are we not condemned to reproduce
processes of normalization and discrimination?
And, crucially, how can wesubvert a steadynor-
mativization and open a transformative per-
spective for undoing the binary of normality/
abnormality? How does this publication answer
questions?
This publication opens with Notes on “Tracings
Out of Thin Air” (Work in Progress) by Alexan-
der Ivanov and Joana Monbaron (Russian Fed-
eration, Switzerland), who are the initiators of
the whole publishing project, to be presented
together with the contributors from Slovenia,
EN
26
Serbia and Russian Federation in St. Petersburg
in 2018 (this presentation will be followed
by another meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia). In
2015, in St Petersburg, Alexander Ivanov and
Joana Monbaron started a project bearing the
same name as this publication: “Tracings Out of
Thin Air.” The initial idea of the project was to
develop in the Russian context a practice and
reection on contemporary Russian artistic, in-
clusive and educational initiatives centered on
collaborative work with a given community. In
their paper, Ivanov and Monbaron deeply reect
on the last 2 years as well as explore the his-
tory, artistic strategies and institutional context
of the art studio opened by a large charitable
organization at a residential care institution
(in Russian: “psycho-neurological internat”; in
short: PNI) in one of the suburbs of St. Peters-
burg in 2001. The authors offer a careful selec-
tion of notions inside a vocabulary that offers
an introspective perspective, not free of doubts,
while they modestly aim at dening the prac-
tical and conceptual framework of the project
and their own practice and commitment.
Ivanov and Monbaron invited Marina Gržinić,
from Ljubljana, to take part in the next steps of
the project. This represented an opportunity to
open the debate of disability to a wider space
of the former Eastern Europe, and specically
the space of former Yugoslavia. Gržinić suggest-
ed inviting Aneta Stojnić (Serbia) to take part in
the discussion relating to disability, culture and
arts as a possibility to think communities and
creativities. This established triangle of Russia,
Slovenia and Serbia created a setting to contact
Dr. Andreja Rihter, director of the Forum of Slav-
ic Cultures, to support the project.
Marina Gržinić (Slovenia) in her Body, disabili-
ty, and critical art reects on histories and the
presence of “disability” being in tight relation
to social structures and cultural discourses in
the space and beyond. This means to examine
the space of the former Eastern Europe further,
analyzing stereotypes and prejudices toward
minorities and ethnicities, the elderly, the disa-
bled, physically handicapped or mentally ill, LG-
BTQI, individuals with AIDS, and others. Gržinić
states that we need to understand what is going
on with these different forms of discrimination,
ghettoization, and racialization, and disability
studies offers important explanations on how
signiers of madness, abnormality, impairment,
and handicap are used as exible markers to
constantly re/produce at least 2 types of bod-
ies: the category of able as valuable, and disa-
bled bodies as inferior or obsolete. Ableism is
therefore a notion that designates a system of
discriminatory forms of prejudice and discrimi-
nation against people with disabilities.
Aneta Stojnić (from Belgrade, presently based
in New York) in her The Question of Disability
in Contemporary Dance Practices problematizes
the established relations of practical and his-
torical examinations; departing from societies
and communities and artistic and cultural prac-
tices in Eastern Europe and worldwide, Stojnić
questions the systematic marginalization of
disabled bodies and tries to rethink the possi-
bilities for their empowerment. Stojnić focuses
on three issues: a) a specic case of treatment
of able and disabled bodies in contemporary
27
dance, and more specically the possibilities
for dismantling the normativity of the dancer’s
body; b) how artwork by artists with disabilities
is treated in the wider artistic context and how
it can transgress the labels of “disability”; c) the
availability of formal artistic education for peo-
ple with disabilities.
In the framework of the project “Tracings Out of
Thin Air, Alexander Ivanov and Joana Monbaron
established an international connection with
many professionals who were invited to St. Pe-
tersburg to meet and work with the studio’s art-
ists and to give lectures and seminars in vari-
ous St. Petersburg institutions. Mira Kallio-Tavin
(Finland) was one of the specialists in residence
in 2016. Her text Agency of People with Disa-
bilities addresses the concerns of marginalized
community groups, such as people with disabil-
ities, focusing on social issues in order to strive
towards developing politically-aware commu-
nity events or programmes. Her article explores
the questions of normalcy, agency, ability and
cultural participation of people with disabili-
ties in collaborative arts projects.
As the intention of the publication is precisely
the creation of a context that rst traces back
the activities in St. Petersburg and then reects
and opens up towards other positions active
in the space of Europe, Doris Arztmann and
Eva Egermann (Austria) were invited by Gržinić
to take part in the project. They present their
project of Crip materials, which consists of a
journal and as well reect on their engage-
ment in and with the topic in a a conversation
published under the title Cyborg Exits in the
Classroom. Body Heteroglossias and Crip Ma-
terials for dirty knowledge in Art Education.
They also draw on materials from the Crip Mag-
azine which offer us contemporary and histor-
ical strategies of resistance. Egermann started
to publish the magazine in 2012, as a self-pub-
lished zine and collection of materials on Crip
Issues, Art, Culture and Representation in order
to oppose and to contradict the categories of
the normal and of the abnormal. Their point of
departure is the fact that categories of abled
and dis-abled bodies are established every
day, and that that phenomenon is constructed
by specic social contexts (such as schools)
through structural mechanisms that constant-
ly repeat a set of norms. Their point of view is
clear and reects a statement by Simi Linton,
the American author, consultant, and public
speaker whose work focuses on disability stud-
ies: “We disrupt the social order as we want as
a Crip movement to stop reproducing images
of the helpless victim.” Of course, Arztmann and
Egermann state that the art class is also a place
where we seek to locate practices of resistance
from a critical Crip perspective, using concep-
tual tools developed by queer, feminist and/or
disability studies thinkers.
Finally, Gržinić, through analyzing the Slovenian
space, proposed that Darja Zaviršek, a pioneer-
ing critical thinker inside the university and a
teacher and writer on disability in Slovenia, join
the project. In her essay Postsocialist care-vi-
olence-paternalism she develops an analysis
of what she names the postponed deinstitu-
tionalization in post-communist societies of
social work and disability, that she translates
28
into a process which she names the postso-
cialist care-violence-paternalism, an outcome
of economic scarcity, fear of impoverishment
and a transgenerational aversion towards dis-
abled people. She exposes that (former) East-
ern European societies after the Second World
War and the socialist policy of gender equali-
ty had aimed to solve the “women’s question”
through women’s full-time employment, which
partly resulted in a profusion of closed and
semi-closed institutions for people with differ-
ent kinds of problems, including mental health
issues. Zaviršek engages in the presentation of
what these total institutions are — from a “per-
fect solution of social protection” to the cradle
to the grave” of people produced and nurtured
as disabled but without individual needs or
agendas.
It is clear that the publication is assembling
a certain map of experiences, work and histo-
ries. In this perspective, Ivanov and Monbaron
invited Ayman Eckford, whose experience is of
central importance, as is the work of Zaviršek
in Slovenia. Eckford is a theorist and activist
working on tracing histories and the presence
of ableism in the Russian context. In her essay
Ableism in the Russian Activist Community, Eck-
ford shows that disability is not a medical, but a
social and legal construct, and states that disa-
bility also has to be perceived in the conditions
of a particular society. Therefore, the concept of
“disability” rather characterizes the society in
which a person lives, rather than his/her physi-
cal condition.
The publication concludes with the artist col-
lective microsillons (Geneva, Switzerland), who
came to St. Petersburg in the framework of
“Tracings Out of Thin Air” and talked to the art-
ists in situ. In their text Empowering?, micros-
illons deconstruct the notion of empowerment
through a retrospective critical analysis of their
own research-based practice inuenced by the
work of Paulo Freire and the writings of bell
hooks, Henry Giroux and Ira Shor in particular.
As they state, reading about those pedagogi-
cal reections and experiments was key in the
conception of their early projects. However, they
felt that a close connection between the idea
of empowerment” and what they were trying to
develop in working with marginalized commu-
nities substantially changed throughout their
practical experience. Can “empowerment” in
practice change the relationship these commu-
nities have towards the art world and change
the art institutions themselves?
In conclusion, it is important to state that this
introduction recuperates the main lines of the
publication in four languages: Slovenian, Rus-
sian, Serbian and English. As a result of a con-
sensual agreement, all of the texts in their en-
tirety are published in English only. This does
not mean that we will not translate these texts
in the future and publish them online or else-
where.
Finally, it is important to note that while work-
ing on this publication we encountered ten-
sions, specically when using the terminology
of disability. It has been decided by the editors
to use the translation “disabled” in English, since
it is consensual in the English-speaking activ-
29
ist and academic worlds, but it must be stated
that the genealogies of the original terms used
are consequently lost in translation. Indeed, dif-
ferent words are used in Slovenian, Serbian or
Russian depending on the contexts and the de-
bates taking place in these respective countries,
and these debates are sometimes neutralized
by a generic translation into English. In their
articles, the contributors exposed their own re-
ections while facing all these open and pro-
ductive questions.
This publication would not have been possible
without the kind support of many constituen-
cies and colleagues. The editors and the con-
tributors have beneted greatly from the gen-
erosity and support of Dr. Andreja Rihter, whose
help was essential to the project.
In closing, this publication represents a rst step
in creating an international community, though
a program of presentations in St. Petersburg,
Ljubljana and Belgrade that aims at expanding
the topics and connections explored here.
Marina Gržinić, Alexander Ivanov,
Joana Monbaron and Aneta Stojnić
November 2017
30
NOTES ON “TRACINGS OUT OF THIN AIR”
(WORK IN PROGRESS)
ALEXANDER IVANOV AND JOANA MONBARON
“Tracings Out of Thin Air,which started in 2015,
was conceived as a hyperlocal multidisciplinary
program created in response to contemporary
Russian artistic, inclusive and educational in-
itiatives centered on collaborative work with
a given community. Arising out of a sense of
professional frustration and a desire to prac-
tically confront the ideals of corporate public
pedagogy, “an all-encompassing cultural hori-
zon for producing market identities, values, and
mega-corporate conglomerates, and for atom-
izing social practices” (Giroux 2004, 497), the
project was conceptualized and implemented
in this overall setting, but outside the sphere
of inuence of large institutions. This mod-
est, small-scale initiative was organized inde-
pendently, albeit with a critical awareness that
no one is ever free from any institutional be-
havior. The project explores the history, artistic
strategies and institutional context of the art
studio opened by a large charitable organiza-
tion at a residential care institution (in Russian:
“psycho-neurological internat”; in short: PNI) in
one of the suburbs of St. Petersburg in 2001.
This paper is an attempt to reect upon “Trac-
ings Out of Thin Air,” the whys and wherefores,
after a year and a half of work. It offers an in-
trospective perspective, not free of doubts, and
modestly aims at dening the practical and
conceptual framework of the project’ curators’
own practice and commitment.
I. Glossary
Since this article describes a complex and im-
bricated institutional situation specic to the
contemporary Russian context, the preliminary
denition of the main constituencies involved
might prove useful for readers unacquainted
with the specicities of such an environment.
Apart from the project’s organizers, we identi-
ed four main constituencies:
PNI Residents
PNI is short for “Psycho-Neurological Inter-
nat”—Russian residential care institutions. Their
residents are living in these institutions on a
long-term basis and they are administratively
registered there.
Psycho-neurological care institution staff
The “Psycho-Neurological Internats,” or resi-
dential care institutions, are Russian state in-
stitutions that employ a vast amount of per-
sonnel. All the doctors and caretakers, from the
cleaners and cooks working in the psycho-neu-
31
rological care institutions, are state employees
(though there are now experiments in Moscow
to hire outsourced personnel, but this do not
concern the “Psycho-Neurological Internat” in
which our project is implemented).
Charity staff
The “Psycho-Neurological Internat” in which
our project took place is collaborating with a
large charity organization. This charity’s staff
and volunteers are allowed to work inside this
“Psycho-Neurological Internat. They are paid
by and depend directly on the charity’s admin-
istration and established rules.
Art Studio staff
The charity mentioned above has opened an art
studio inside the building of the “Psycho-Neu-
rological Internat. The artists working in the
studio reside in the “Psycho-Neurological In-
ternat,” but the art studio’s accompanying staff
is employed by the charity.
II. The current conditions of norm, ability and
dependency at the psycho-neurological resi-
dential care institution: mapping the possible
PNI are part of the general system of psychi-
atric care of the Russian Federation and at
the same time are social care institutions (see
Klepikova, Utekhin 2012). Despite the fact that,
by their purposes and objectives, the PNI dif-
fer from the psychiatric hospitals of the health
care system, and that the PNI residents are not
“treated patients” but actually reside there, the
activities of such institutions are built not on
the social, but on the medical model of disabil-
ity. Such a modus operandi has its roots in the
Soviet rehabilitation paradigm and is derived
from the assumptions xed in the current Rus-
sian legislation on the origin and social status
of “normal” and “defective” (sic) corporality. Ac-
cording to the Law on the “Social Protection of
Invalid Persons” (and contrary to the provisions
of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities, also ratied by the Russian
Federation in 2012), “limited capacity” is not
a direct consequence of economic, political or
cultural inequalities, but the result of “the dis-
order of one’s body functions as a consequence
of diseases, injuries or defects resulting in the
limitation of any life activity.1
The Russian psycho-neurological care resi-
dences are large administrative and bureau-
cratic institutions. According to the ofcial sta-
tistics, as of 10 October 2016,2 Russia had 514
psycho-neurological residential institutions, in
which more than 152 thousand people lived.3
1 Article 1 of the Federal Law of 24.11.1995 N 181-FZ (as
amended on 01. 06. 2017) “On the social protection of
disabled people in the Russian Federation” <Http://www.
consultant.ru/document/Cons_doc_LAW_8559/>
2 Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian
Federation: “Mintrude Rossii sostojalosj pervoe zasedanie
rabochej gruppy po reformirovaniju psikhonevrologich-
eskikh internatov” [The Russian Ministry of Labour held
the rst meeting of the workgroup on reforming the psy-
cho-neurological residential institutions] <http://www.
rosmintrud.ru/ social/service/111/Russian>
3 The psycho-neurological institution, in which the proj-
ect “Tracings Out of Thin Air” is conducted, has more than
1000 residents.
32
The demographic composition of these insti-
tutions is difcult to delineate. Among those
living in PNI, one can meet people who were
somehow diagnosed as disabled; people who
found themselves in a difcult life situation;
young adults coming from orphanages for
mentally ill children; people with Down syn-
drome, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or musculo-
skeletal disorders; autistics; elderly people;
people who survived a stroke; people without
a home and means of subsistence. Researcher
and anthropologist Anna Klepikova states that
these people “are placed together in these in-
stitutions based not on their mental health sta-
tus but rather on their inability to take care of
themselves and live independently. All of the
residents are labelled as disabled or invalids
(in Russian), meaning they are not t for a so-
called normal life” (Klepikova 2017, 23).
According to Russian sociologists Pavel Ro-
manov and Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova, analogous
practices of “incarceration” of people catego-
rized as “Other” are due to the post-Soviet cul-
tural codes of citizenship, based on the ideol-
ogy of ethnic nationalism. The assignment of
disabled persons in closed institutions “acts
like an imprisonment, and continues to be an
act of denial of their citizenship. Although the
deprivation of liberty without proof of guilt is
illegal, the motive of their crime is their body or
mental condition” (2011).
The Russian psycho-neurological residential
institutions are closed and protected areas: one
can enter and exit only with a badge. Residents
are isolated from the outside world, deprived of
personal space, have limited private property,
and are heavily dependent on the staff and the
temporary rules established by the institution.
Men and women live separately (on different
oors and at different departments), and share
a room for 4 to 15 people. In addition, there
are also “closed” psychiatric departments for
people whom the staff of the residential care
institution considers having a pronounced psy-
chiatric symptomatology or an auto-/aggres-
sive behavior.
The rights of PNI residents are regularly vio-
lated. The most serious violations, recorded by
public inspections,4 activists and journalists,
include forced medication and abortion, rape,
suicide, beating, binding, locking in a punish-
ment cell, labor exploitation and unconsented
deprivation of the resident’s legal capacity sta-
tus.5 In a situation of insufcient state control
and almost complete absence of publicness, vi-
olence in PNI acquires a systematic and every-
day character.
In the institution in which “Tracings Out of Thin
Air” is being conducted, there are also volun-
4 The results of public inspections can be found on the of-
cial website of the Coordination Council for the Affairs of
Disabled Children and Other Persons with Disabilities un-
der the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation <Http://
invasovet.ru/reforma-pni/rezultaty_proverok/>, as well as
on the website of the Moscow Helsinki Group <http://
www.mhg.ru/publications/389CEE8>
5 PNI residents also have different legal statuses: accord-
ing to the Russian legislation, a person can be recognised
as capable, partly capable or incapable. For PNI residents,
the deprivation of legal capacity is a massive, non-trans-
parent and highly subjective procedure (see Klepikova
2013).
33
teers and caretakers working next to the PNI
staff members. These volunteers and caretak-
ers are employed by a charity, which started its
activity in the early 2000s. At the initiative of
this charitable organization, a special “depart-
ment of normalization” was created, intended
for disabled young people, and a few ateliers
were opened, including the art studio men-
tioned above.
These ateliers are a rare example of a space
opened by a non-governmental organization
inside a state institution, allowing its staff to
participate in the residents’ everyday life. This
unique “institution within an institution” situ-
ation makes visible the ideological and practi-
cal conicts at stake between the charity’s and
the psycho-neurological institution’s staff: the
rst promote a social model of disability and
the defense of the residents’ rights, while the
second are institutionally bound to a medical
approach of disability. Thereby, issues of ac-
cess, control, rules, knowledge production and
whose knowledge is valued, whose interests
are represented, whose needs are considered,
mechanically engender serious professional
disagreements and raise the issue of the (im-)
possibility of mediation.
To be fair, we must say that the paradigm of
normalization, actively promoted by Russian
charitable organizations as an alternative to
the medical model of disability, has its share
of contradictions. Indeed, while most of the
PNI residents have spent all their life in closed
institutions, the charity staff makes an effort
to include them in “normal” cultural practices,
which would make them seem more tolerable
in the eyes of the institution’s staff and volun-
teers. However, this practice of integration of-
ten remains unquestioned and ends up being
inconsistent (Klepikova 2017, 28). Hence, a con-
stant practice of critical unravelling leading to
“moments in which the paradigms we inhabit
cease to be self-legitimating and in a ash are
revealed to be nothing more than what they
are, paradigms” (Rogoff 2007, 98) became in
our eyes a compulsory aspect of the practice we
wished to develop in and around the art studio.
The art studio
The art studio was opened at a state psy-
cho-neurological residential institution in
2001 and exists on the basis of the charity or-
ganization mentioned above. Since its founda-
tion, it has an active artistic, pedagogical and
exhibition practice and currently has an archive
that contains over 3000 works of a broad genre
spectrum—from abstract painting to photogra-
phy and digital art.
The art studio works ve days a week. Each of
the days is divided into two sessions, which the
charity staff and PNI residents call “lessons.
The frequency of the PNI residents’ visits de-
pends on both objective and subjective fac-
tors: the schedule, the availability of space, the
amount of work of the charity staff, as well as
the motivation of the PNI residents themselves.
Currently, there are about forty artists working
in the art studio, living in nine departments, in-
cluding the closed psychiatric one.
34
On a regular basis, the studio is visited by
twenty-two people who make up the “core” of
its artistic community (most of them are men).
Most of the artists work independently; peo-
ple with musculoskeletal disorders or cerebral
palsy work in tandem with the staff of the stu-
dio. Formally the art studios managing team
consists of a manager, a psychologist and an
assistant. In practice, these functions overlap
and combine pedagogical (conducting consul-
tations, discussions, workshops and short pres-
entations) and administrative work (prepara-
tion of reports, budget management, purchase
of artistic materials, negotiation with cultural
institutions for the organization of exhibitions,
interaction with PR and fundraising and oth-
er departments of the charitable organization,
etc.). Work in the art studio ultimately has a col-
lective nature and has been formed throughout
many years of professional and personal rela-
tions between the artists living in the residen-
tial institution and the art studio’s staff.
The particularities of the PNI construction as
a total institution, which activities are sanc-
tionedby legal and social contradictions that
are part of an advanced economy of discrim-
ination, also raise the issue of the status of
pedagogical, curatorial and artistic practices in
the art studio. Facing various types of institu-
tional violence againstthe residents on a daily
basis, the art studio staff takes an active part
in human rights activities: they record cases of
violence, participate in their investigation and
possible elimination, as well as in the resolu-
tion of existing conicts. The very fact of mov-
ing a PNI resident from the department where
he/she lives to the demedicalized “creative”
space of the art studio, is often perceived as a
political act.
The combined roles of an “art world” agent and
of a representative of public control over the
PNI activities, whose practice in the art studio
is legitimized byaesthetics” and structured by
human rights functions, permit considering the
activities of the art studio staff as an interest-
ing case of infrastructural activism. Such a sta-
tus complicates stances and at the same time
allows creating new opportunities and trajec-
tories within the institution, and also gives the
opportunity to present the artistic activity con-
ducted inside the residential care institution as
a complex social and infrastructural phenom-
enon.
Having said that, it comes as no surprise that
the practice of exhibiting the artists’ works of
art is embedded in the complex controversy
surrounding their artistic and social statuses
and is structured by the contradictory desires
of the art studio staff to focus on the “depolit-
icized” aesthetic value of the artworks and at
the same time to make visible the political is-
sue of closed social institutions.
In the context of the neoconservative patriot-
ic model of Russian culture, mixed with forms
of neoliberal economics and social Darwinism,
which equally affect the policies of cultural and
charitable organizations, these contradictive
desires make the adherence to the principle “to
generalize without minimizing and to special-
ize without ghettoizing” particularly problem-
35
atic (Cachia 2013, 263). Indeed, the works of art
of the studio’s artists are often associated with
the extremely blurred but commercially viable
category of “outsider art,” being deprived of the
opportunity to be considered in alternative cul-
tural, political and artistic contexts.
Beside this, the art studio’s artists, as residents
of a large semi-medical institution, periodically
become the target audience of educational pro-
grams and events intended for “people with men-
tal disabilities. As a rule, these programs position
themselves as an agent of change and seek to
restore violated social justice. At the same time
they are focused on the nature of mental illness
and the PNI residents’ personality rather than on
society’s problems and processes provoking ex-
clusion. The absence of a critical approach and
the reproduction of existing categorizations lead
to the fact that these programs become them-
selves part of the discriminatory processes they
originally planned to contest. Therefore, inviting
PNI residents to take part in projects for “people
with mental disabilities,these programs ignore
the social construction of the status of mental
illness and the associated notion of “capacity” and,
as a result, often contribute to the normalization
of the medical model of disability. Bearing all this
in mind, the search for curatorial solutions aimed
at investigating and critically reecting upon dis-
ability discourses, ableism and limited agency in
art is one of the most difcult tasks facing the art
studio today.
III. History of the project and the ethics of frus-
tration: the issue of educational practices in
the contemporary art system
As the project’s initiators, we rst encountered
the art studio’s group of artists while working
for the education department of the European
contemporary art biennial Manifesta 10, which
took place in the Hermitage Museum in St.
Petersburg in 2014. Alexander Ivanov devised
a project together with the then head of the
art studio Natasha Petukhova, which involved
some of the studio’s artists. The project was
conceptually referring to Eric van Lieshout’s
artwork and comprised a series of workshops
culminating in an exhibition.
The very institutional context of the temporary
European biennial—aiming at contributing to
the collective imagination of “Europe”—taking
place inside the most well-respected Russian
museum, with its internal labor organization
and behavioral rituals, made us acutely con-
scious of the contradictory aims of the dispos-
itive of arts education. Regarding both organ-
izations’ agendas, the educational apparatus
served to include and attract visitors to the
exhibition, make their experience enjoyable
and meaningful, while at the same time being
inclusive of colonial practices and normalizing
processes that remained unquestioned.
That particular experience and our overall in-
volvement with Manifesta 10 allowed us to ar-
ticulate a critical perspective on art institutions
as powerful sites (re)producing and establish-
ing canons and values that could be—some-
36
times—countered and critiqued by the imple-
mentation of a marginal practice situated at the
crossroads of an educational, artistic and cura-
torial approach. Such a practice, however, never
remains fully innocent (Sternfeld 2013, 3)—a
conscious aspect that made us think about the
ethics of one’s own engagement while working
with discriminated communities.
While we were still digesting our complex ex-
perience and trying to conceptualize the way
we should organize ourselves, we made the de-
cision to devise a project in its own right that
would respond to issues raised by the institu-
tional, economic and social structures fabricat-
ing the art studio. Inspired by the philosophy
behind projects such as the Centre for Possible
Studies, initiated by London’s Serpentine Gal-
lery in 2009 and led by the mediator and artist
Janna Graham, which focused on investigating
the center’s neighborhood future together with
local interest groups, we started to visit the art
studio once a week in December 2015. Our rst
aim was to participate in the studio’s set of re-
lations formed between artists and transversal
constituents such as the charity staff members,
volunteers and the state psycho-neurological
personnel, and to establish a climate of relative
trust with the studio’s artists and, expectantly,
build friendships. We exposed our initial ide-
as to the artists and discussed a possible title
for the project. After a particularly productive
brainstorm, we nally voted and chose Kon-
stantin Salamatin’s version “Tracings Out of
Thin Air” [Рисунки из Воздуха].
After complicated beginnings and an extended
discursive process—which was judiciously fa-
cilitated by the collective microsillons —on the
project’s potential structure, it has been dened
that it should trace a constellation of satellite
activities of co-research named “attempts, tak-
ing as a starting point the practices and work-
ing conditions in the art studio. Through these
attempts, we were encouraged to consider the
complexities, the problematics and the po-
tentials of the current and possible spaces in
which art and education combine, to question
relationships of power and cross-examine disa-
bility as a complex social, political, and cultural
construction.
IV. Creating Circumstances for an Institutional
Pedagogy: genealogy of the project
As the fundamental element of our strategy, we
supported the social constructionist analysis
of disability, in which domineering institutions
and policies, prejudiced attitudes, discrimina-
tion, cultural misrepresentation, and other so-
cial injustices are seen as the primary causes
of disability, but without reducing attention to
those disabled people whose bodies are medi-
calized because of their suffering.6
6 Here we refer to Susan Wendell’s suggestion to pay more
attention to impairment while supporting a social con-
structionist analysis of disability, mainly if we focus our
attention on the phenomenology of impairment, rather
than accepting a medical approach to it. It is indeed un-
deniable that some unhealthy disabled people, as well as
some healthy people with disabilities, experience physical
or psychological burdens that no amount of social justice
can eliminate (see Wendell 2013, 165).
37
Moreover, we perceived disability (“in its muta-
bility, its potential invisibility, its potential rela-
tion to temporality, and its sheer variety” as Mi-
chael Bérubé puts it in his foreword to Robert
McRuer’s Crip Theory) as a particularly elusive
element to introduce into any critical pedagog-
ical and curatorial practice, because it always
interestingly complicates it (Bérubé in McRuer
2006, viii). Considering disability enabled us to
confront the omnipresent system of compulso-
ry able-bodiedness reproduced in the art world
and, paradoxically, in the PNI itself. Convinced
by the potential of intersectional discourses,
and mainly by the fact that a critique of neo-
liberal institutional strategies of behavioral
conformity can be illuminated by the case of
disability (see Hartblay 2012), it became clear
that “Tracings Out of Thin Air” should concen-
trate on latent convergences between disabil-
ity justice and critiques of public educational
discourses and the politics of representation.
For that, we adopted a soft parasitic strategy
that would turn inside out the logic of audi-
ence reaching” policies applied by cultural in-
stitutions. Indeed, instead of trying to attract a
specic discriminated community to a museum
or a gallery, the “target group” would actually
reach us—the cultural workers—and we would
start from the institutional conditions in which
that community lives. With working groups
comprised of local and international universi-
ty researchers, educators and artists from in-
side and outside the psycho-neurological res-
idential institution, the aim of “Tracings Out of
Thin Air” is to develop ongoing, collaborative
research projects that simultaneously explore
group work, aesthetic production and the social
exclusion of disability. That conceptual frame-
work relates to Janna Graham’s interpretation
of Felix Guattari’s term “Institutional Analysis,
which the philosopher developed to describe
the radical re-working of institutions through
their “permanent reinvention. This referred to
the heterogeneous opening up of people to
otherness,both in their work within institu-
tions and those, which fell outside their normal
modes of existence (2010, 135).
The writer and pedagogue Fernand Deligny
had in common with Guattari and other intel-
lectuals of the second half of the XXth century
their refusing of xations about identity and
their metaphorical thinking of discontinuity:
to the terms “derivations” or “rhizome,” he pre-
ferred “detours, “landmarks” or “chevêtres. He
controversially perceived the asylum, the psy-
chiatric hospital as networks, as antidotes for
the concentration of powers and identities, and
developed within it frail and eeting pedagog-
ical experiences as a way to avoid being target-
ed. What is interesting for us in Deligny’s insti-
tutional critique is that it does not tackle the
material, spatial and social structure of the in-
stitution, but the integration of abstract norms
which come and obstruct invention, the “mass
of possibles” and efciency. His strategy of eva-
sion, consisting in taking advantage of both
the opponent’s weakness and the institutional
confusion in order to subvert rules and have
the administration confront its own corruption
(Alvarez de Toledo 2007,23), at the same time
contradicted and played an inspirational role in
the development of our initiatives in the psy-
38
cho-neurological residential institution.
A crucial part of Deligny’s pedagogical practice
that he carried out in the Cevennes in the 1960s
consisted in transcribing the displacements of
autistic children. Together with these children,
Deligny and his collaborators began to trace
these lines, perceived as the reections of the
circulations of the autistic young people in their
space of life and to speak of “chevêtres”: knots
by which the young people passed and stopped
incessantly. For Deligny, who envisaged autis-
tic children as resistant to the colonization and
the domestication of symbolic spaces by lan-
guage, these cartographies constituted a way
of offering them a space that escaped speech
(Deligny 1968, 659). He saw these pedagogical
experiments as the fruit of circumstances and
subsequently characterized the educator as a
creator of circumstances,ready to welcome the
unknown, from which new congurations will
stem.
For “Tracings Out of Thin Air, we like to think
of ourselves as “creator of circumstances.But
more than a nice appellation, Guattari’s and De-
ligny’s practice of institutional analysis brought
a depth to our approach in turning the perspec-
tive of education upside down, taking the focus
away from the residents or the participants and
training it on the educators. This encouraged
us to be self-reexive about the rhetoric and
terminology that has been used by different
players in the projects to shape people’s ex-
periences. Throughout the research project, we
also reconsidered the notions we would have
previously taken for granted. Working togeth-
er with disabled artists made us critical of our
own actions as educators and aware of the
implicit, unintended and unrecognized knowl-
edge that takes place in any learning process
(the so-called Hidden Curriculum).
Finding the work of Mira Kallio-Tavin on what
she names an “encountering pedagogy” led us
to think about how we understood our own
pedagogical involvement. Arguing for a peda-
gogy that should not be reduced to something
already known (2013, 138), we felt encouraged
to question our own assumptions and, instead,
to pay attention to elements of embodiment
and sensorial knowledge in art pedagogy. This
has been enriched by a collective reading of
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Touching Feeling, in
which she analyses the prevalent discourse
produced around artists categorized as out-
siders,” repeatedly diagnosing “outsider” artists
in terms of lack, applying to them a “language
of emphatic negation. Looking at Judith Scott’s
sensory relationship with her sculptures, Sedg-
wick argues that it conveys an affective and
aesthetic fullness that can attach itself even
to experiences of cognitive frustration (2003,
22—24). Bearing this in mind, it became clear
to us that the art studio is a thought-provoking
place of encounters, in which the research of
informal forms of knowledge that fall outside
of structured curricula gains particular mean-
ing. By involving the artists and the charity staff
in looking at these institutional structures from
within, we try to nd ways not only to unlearn,
but to rethink these.
39
V. Open conclusion
Working with artists living in a closed care res-
idential institution, we encounter difculties
every time we have to speak about the project’s
aims and conceptual framework or when we
are asked to dene our roles. These difcul-
ties are multiplied or transformed depending
on the audience we address (would it be for a
grant application, an academic conference, or
a meeting with local activists). How to speak
about the project without trivializing? We also
meet (self-) criticism every time we organize
activities with the artists as a group, since the
only thing they have in common outside of be-
ing artists is their disabled status. Is that justi-
able? Aren’t we reproducing the very discrim-
ination we denounce?
Coming from the art eld, we are very aware
that hidden discriminatory processes often
reveal themselves in the context of public
programs and discussions that raise socially
important topics. Ignoring the problems of ine-
quality within the world of art itself and using
critical theory “to satiate an endless demand
for circulation of the ‘new’” (Graham2010), such
projects become part of processes of the “cul-
turalization” of socio-political conicts. As a
result, these events become “public programs
without a public sphere,staging “alternative”
political debates, while deactivating their pas-
sage into signicant consequences (Graham,
Graziano, Kelly 2016, 30—32).
“Tracings Out of Thin Air” is our modest attempt
to generate forms of political agency through
transdisciplinary associations and frictions
generated by bringing areas that have come to
be articially disentangled from one another
through disciplinary boundaries into an insist-
ent proximity. This proximity might expectantly
subvert pre-learned knowledge and rules and
have players from the art studio, the charity, the
care institution, and the art world confront what
is hidden in their/our curriculum. By opening
up the transformative potential of dislocation
that decenters the very basis of normality, we
hope to develop with the studio artists a prac-
tice that art education theorist Carmen Mörsch
names a critical praxis, by which art education
becomes a context in which one confronts soci-
ety, institutions and oneself (Mörsch 2009).
References:
Alvarez de Toledo, Sandra (ed.) (2007). Fernand Deligny.
Œuvres, 1913—1996 . Paris: LArachnéen.
Cachia, Amanda (2013). “‘Disabling’ the museum: Curator
as infrastructural activist.” In Journal of Visual Art Practice.
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Deligny, Fernand (1968). “Un langage non-verbal. In
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Sandra Alvarez de Toledo (ed.), Œuvres de Fernand Deligny
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Giroux, Henry A. (2004). “Public Pedagogy and the Politics
of Neo-liberalism: making the political more pedagogical.
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Graham, Janna (2010). “Spanners in the Spectacle: Radi-
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download/materialpool/MFV0303.pdf>
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Research Project. Berlin: Diaphanes, 9—33.
Rogoff, Irit (2007). “What is a theorist?.In Elkins, James,
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Wendell, Susan (2013). “Unhealthy Disabled: Treating
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ty, Parent-Activists and Citizenship in Contemporary Russia.
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unc.edu/indexablecontent/uuid:1fbb7e6a-ae56-4a83-
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Kallio-Tavin, Mira (2013). Encountering Self, Other and the
Third. Helsinki: Aalto University.
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prozhivayushchikh v psikhonevrologicheskom internate.
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anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/07/17online/klepikova_
utehin2/>
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psikhonevrologicheskogo internata: sotsial’noye konstru-
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al’noy antropologii, XVI, no. 4 (69), 78—93.
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sity Press.
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University Press.
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Alevtina Kakhidze, 2017, for »Tracings Out of Thin Air.«
42
BODY, DISABILITY, AND CRITICAL ART
MARINA GRŽINIĆ
I am interested in what I will call the futurity
of “dis/ability” with rethinking the body, com-
munity, and processes of marginalization tak-
ing into account geopolitical, historical and
cultural differences in Europe and worldwide.
This is meant to further examine the space of
the former Eastern Europe, analyzing stere-
otypes and prejudices toward minorities and
ethnicities, the elderly, the disabled, physically
handicapped or mentally ill, LGBTQI, individu-
als with AIDS, to mention just a few of them.
We need to understand what is going on with
these different lines of discrimination, ghettoi-
zation, racialization, and disability studies offer
important explanations how signiers of mad-
ness, abnormality, impairment, and handicap
are used as exible markers to constantly re/
produce at least two types of bodies: the cat-
egory of able as valuable; and disabled bodies
as inferior or obsolete. Ableism is therefore a
notion that designates a system of discrimina-
tory forms of prejudices against people with
disabilities. Doing this creates also a division,
reinforcing the stigma that bodies constructed
as disabled are inferior to those bodies that are
abled or non-disabled.
Therefore histories and the presents of “disa-
bility” are in a tight relation to social structures
and cultural discourses that form the discours-
es on bodies, their control and the relation of
the body to power structures, ideologies, the
nation-state and governmentality. Finally, so-
cial structures and cultural discourses dene
the system of representation, in/visibility, and
normativity of bodies.
Dis/ability as litmus test for democracy
A change can be witnessed with a new reorien-
tation in the analysis of disability named “the
critical disability discourse,which exposes disa-
bility directly in relation to social processes and
not exclusively, as in the (not-so-distant) past,
part of medical and bio-medical approaches.
Simply, social processes, political and economic
processes, and the ways of re-presentation of
dis/abled bodies is connected and reproduced
by society. Disability henceforth functions as a
litmus test for democracy and the basic levels
to guarantee equal human rights to numerous
minorities that are seen as deviant in regard
to “normalized” and majority hegemonic struc-
tures of neoliberal global capitalism.
To make things very clear, disability is a social,
economic, political and ideological construct
(inherently and openly connected to capitalism,
modernity, colonialism) and therefore disability
has different histories depending on relations
to capital, authoritarian institutions, etc., that
frame and support or minimize, hide and triv-
43
ialize discrimination, dispossession and ine-
quality imposed onto people that are seen and
made/constructed as disabled to serve capital
prot and privatization.
Australian sociologist Raewyn Connell em-
phasizes that today disability and impairment
are regarded as important dimensions of lived
experience, and therefore demands to talk of
the relation of body, society and disability as a
social embodiment; it conceptualizes “disabili-
ty” in the ways bodies are participants in social
dynamics and “impairment” in the ways social
dynamics affect bodies (Connell 2011, 1371).
This classication presents clearly that disa-
bility and impairment are directly connected to
structures of capitalist power and its neoliberal
ideology, differentiating what counts for dis-
ability and which impairment (damages, de-
ciency) will deserve social, health and nancial
support.
The topic of disability is fundamental for un-
derstanding how nation-states manage peo-
ple, bodies and institutions. Michel Foucault
conducted a genealogical exploration of how
societal understandings of madness have shift-
ed from antiquity through the 20th century. He
found that madness was not always interpreted
as a form of mental illness to be scientical-
ly and medically treated as it was in the mod-
ern era (Foucault 1965). According to Foucault,
asylums became “homeland to the poor, to the
unemployed, to prisoners, and to the insane. It
is within the walls of connement that Pinel
and nineteenth-century psychiatry would come
upon madmen; it is there —let us remember—
that they would leave them, not without boast-
ing of having ‘delivered’ them. From the middle
of the seventeenth century, madness was linked
with this country of connement, and with the
act which designated connement as its natu-
ral abode” (Foucault, 40).
Foucault and our research connect these top-
ics under the umbrella of governmentality and
further emphasize the division that is at the
center of neoliberal governmentality. Today we
have biopolitics and bio-power (regulation of
life, “bio, for the population and individuals in
the West) and necropolitics and necro-power
(management of death, “necro,” in the East and
South) that is increasingly present as war ma-
chine, total ghettoization and massive incapac-
itation.
In 2017 Brandon Fletcher’s graduate thesis,
which theorizes the relation between disability
rhetoric and international relation, was made
available (see Fletcher 2017). He showed that
the vocabularies of disability in recent years
are permeated with describing political lead-
ers in the global arena as ill, mad, insane; this
shifts to whole societies or groups of people
(refugees are seen as a fully disabled catego-
ry in global capitalism, and/or as terrorists),
for example the LGBTQI population is seen as
an ill, disabled category of citizens in the space
of post-socialism or in the post-colonial “Third
world” (where the level of discrimination was
set up historically by the imperial colonial en-
tities through massive dispossession of wealth
and bodies). In the meantime the imperial Occi-
dent “emancipated, but left in poverty, disposed
44
land and ruined populations, embedded with a
colonial Occidental heteronormative violence.
Fletcher shows clearly that insanity, madness,
etc. are taken from a vocabulary of terms used
to describe disable conditions, now referring to
global leaders (mad Chavez, insane Kim Jong-
Eun, etc.). As these vocabularies are fully con-
structed, we need to break with any natural
relations when thinking about politics, society,
economics and the body and disability.
To return to the question of futurity and disabil-
ity, the relation changed also due to new media
technology and its transhumanist perception,
which is developed in the neoliberal global
capitalist West, which in the last instance, cyn-
ically speaking, universalizes” the “disabled”
body, claiming that any-body needs a techno-
logical or pharmacological prosthesis, there-
fore every-body is a defective body vis-à-vis
new media technology and biotechnology. Ria
Cheyne, who researches representations of dis-
ability in contemporary literature, cautions us
against the connection between the disability
cure narrative in SF and eugenics. She explains
that “Read from a disability studies perspectives,
narratives involving the eradication of impair-
ment are likely to raise the specter of eugenics.
(Cheyne quoted in Broyer, 2016). Eugenics was
part of Nazi Germany genocidal politics in the
Second World War. Following the war, with the
institution of human rights, many other coun-
tries gradually began to abandon eugenics pol-
icies, although some Western countries, among
them the United States, continued to carry out
forced sterilizations. This was also the case in
the former Eastern European territory.
Besides “the critical disability discourses” re-
searchers such as Paul K. Longmore and Lauri
Umansky have proposed a new disability his-
tory,with a collection titled The New Disabil-
ity History: American Perspectives, published in
2001. New disability histories (I will pluralize
it) demand to historicize disability, to under-
stand it through temporal perspectives, and
that we see a massive involvement of disabled
people in the political process of rediscovering
their own histories (see Longmore and Uman-
sky 2001). Disabled people radically change
perspective from being victimized to being
empowered with agency. Furthermore, as new
disability implies, it is necessary to look at disa-
bility studies through the lenses of specic ge-
ographical-historical and social contexts — in
our case we focus in a parallel between the Oc-
cident and the Post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav
spaces.
Performativity, precarity, disability and sexual
politics
All these notions of performativity, precarity,
disability and sexual politics are an anathema
to the space of the former Eastern Europe—a
geographical, historical and cultural space
that shows a very ambiguous (violent, dismiss-
ive, nationalistic) relation toward the body,
sexuality, normality, and visibility. We need this
path into a geopolitical and historical differ-
ences of these topics in Europe and worldwide
to re-conceptualize disability and ableism in
relation to specic histories, social processes,
45
politics, economy and culture. Despite differ-
ences between post-socialism and capitalism,
hegemony, violence, and discrimination echo
with Christianity, whiteness, heteronormativi-
ty, masculinist and sexist rhetorics, though the
forms of these linkages are different.
We have to be aware that the fact that disa-
bility came into a wider focus after 2001 is an
outcome of a neoliberal global capitalist accu-
mulation strongly connected with the war ma-
chine. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989
that resulted in the disappearance of Eastern
Europe, forming Fortress Europe and dividing
all those outside the European Union, global
capitalism succeeded to develop a new relation
toward what is still perceived as communist”
or post-socialist countries. Connell states that
“Capitalism takes different shapes: in commu-
nist China being symbiotic with a party dic-
tatorship, in the US and India with populist
oligarchies, in Saudi Arabia with a puritan pa-
triarchy, in Scandinavia with a struggling social
democracy. And it continues to evolve” (Connell,
1376).
Disability is today, to put it simply, directly con-
nected with poverty, a deterioration of working
conditions and new racialized labor divisions
in the global capitalist world. As formulated
by Connell global capitalism and its neoliberal
ideology makes prot from: “[B]odies: biotech-
nology and more. There is the international
‘tissue economy’ that includes the shipment
of blood and organs from Third World bodies
to First World bodies. There is a commodica-
tion and redenition of women’s bodies in glo-
bal electronic media, via pornography, celebrity
and the beauty industry. The beauty industry
too is globalizing: it now has a presence in
some developing countries as a cosmetic-sur-
gery industry. Both the tissue economy and the
redenition of bodies have effects on disability:
the former by literally manufacturing impaired
bodies in the global periphery (the ‘donors’),
the latter by circulating fantasies of the per-
fect body and inciting desire among the global
rich to buy perfection. Both produce, as the dark
side of the pursuit of health and desirability, a
category of rubbish people (to use an Australi-
an indigenous expression) who can be seen as
contemptible and expendable” (Connell, 1376).
What does this mean? Connell puts it clear-
ly: “Under workfare regimes that claim to end
paternalistic care and dependence—in fact
re-regulating the relation between welfare and
the labor market—some disabled bodies are
dened as work-able, others as deserving of
welfare. To enable labor market participation
becomes a key form of treatment or rehabilita-
tion. To enforce this view of disability, rising le-
vels of surveillance are required. The globaliza-
tion of neoliberal capitalism has extended this
logic of disability around the world” (Connell,
1375—1376).
Looking historically, in socialism and capital-
ism, impaired productivity or exclusion from
the labor market (in the past in the strictly di-
vided international labor markets) were, as it is
today, key ways for dening the disabled body
(Connell, 1375—1376). We still remember that
in socialism the outcasts were those called
46
parasites (many contemporary artists in former
Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Serbia and especial-
ly those not producing concrete paintings and
sculptures, but involved in new artistic prac-
tices, conceptual and body arts, were seen as
parasites of society). In a review of the history
of disability within the Soviet Union, anthropol-
ogist Sarah Phillips recounts, “During the 1980
Olympic games in Moscow, a Western journalist
inquired whether the Soviet Union would par-
ticipate in the rst Paralympic games, sched-
uled to take place in Great Britain later that
year. The reply from a Soviet representative
was swift, rm, and puzzling: ‘There are no in-
valids in the USSR!’” (see Phillips, 2009).
Today poverty, class difference and violent ra-
cialization establish the division of who can
work and who is made disabled. This forms
continually new categories of socially, econom-
ically, politically, and culturally produced disa-
bled people, or people impaired for work. But it
does not stop only at this point — at the same
time processes of differentiation based on gen-
der and also on the fully constructed category
of “race, saturated with class difference, struc-
ture the international labor market division.
These views are today fundamental to sketch
a new history of disability in the global world
and in the former East of Europe, specically in
Post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav territories, that
are both, albeit sharing histories of transfor-
mation from socialism to post-socialist to ne-
oliberal global capitalism, different. The space
of the former Yugoslavia that includes all the
new states established violently after the fall of
the Berlin Wall (1989), from Slovenia, to Serbia,
to Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and
Macedonia, display at least three lines of direc-
tions. The rst regards the self-empowerment
and self-organization by people themselves, be-
ing made disabled, minoritized and ghettoized,
they intervene strongly in public spaces, media
and institutions demanding their rights; the
second line is the space of state policy, insti-
tutions and governmentality (the whole sector
is fully neoliberal and widely privatized); the
third is artistic, cultural interventions, building
counter-histories.
There is a whole list of discriminations that
re-construct disability in turbo neoliberal
post-socialism from economy (completely une-
qual possibilities to work and be paid) to public
access (disability is repeatedly not connected
with structural discrimination but is always
individualized) to culture. The cultural work of
images changed historically and presently. Still,
photography as the most remarkable appara-
tus to capture” disabled people travels from
its indexicality (the power of photography over
words) to function currently as a “trophy image,
that seizes (literally) the exoticized impaired
body as a trophy and makes it visible — but
socially and politically mute and therefore in-
visible. Names and dates, groups and programs
need to be listed, although I can only sketch
some important points of this history and this
present.
47
The Space of the former Yugoslavia and the
Culture of Handicap
The pillar of the struggle in Slovenia regarding
disability is the Association for the Theory and
Culture of Handicap (YHD). The informal move-
ment YHD (Youth Handicapped Deprivileged)
was established in 1992, and later changed
into YHD Association for Theory and Culture
of Handicap. They formulate a proper position
as: “The YHD group (Youth Handicapped De-
privileged) was shaped from the need of young
disabled students who wanted to taste freedom
and independence. The theory of handicap and
revolt against medical comprehension of disa-
bility are the principal guidelines to which the
Associations’ projects and actions adhere. Other
associations for disabled people are centered on
medical diagnoses of its members, whereas YDH
aims to bring about positive changes concerning
the position of handicapped people in the socie-
ty. For YHD, disability is a social status and not a
characteristic of the body or a mental condition,
difculty or ‘special need’” (see YHD).
In the beginning of 2000 Elena Pečarič, one of
the most prominent in the group and a public
gure in Slovenia (Pečarič, suffering from severe
disability, ran as an independent Slovenian pres-
idential candidate in 2007), presented the pro-
ject Independent Living of Disabled People. In
the same year Darja Zaviršek, a prominent gure
from the eld of social work, also professor and
theoretician, published a seminal book in Slove-
nian in the eld: Handicap as a cultural trauma.
Historicization of images, bodies and of everyday
practices of disabled people (Zaviršek 2000).
Zaviršek showed that physical and mental bar-
riers are not inherited and do not exist from
birth, but are mostly acquired during individ-
ual’s’ lives. She argued that it is not possible
to talk about disability without taking into ac-
count poverty, racism, and other forms of vio-
lence. In 2014 Zaviršek, with another remark-
able theoretician Jelka Zorn, edited a special
issue of Socialno delo (Social Work), as part of
the eld of social work in Slovenia, published
by the Faculty of Social Work, University of Lju-
bljana, and focused entirely on disability stud-
ies in post-socialist countries and South-East
Asia. This special issue identies three topics
by signicant theoretical positions throughout
the former Yugoslavia.
Vjollca Krasniqi (Kosovo) stated that social pol-
icy, politics and cultural representations of dis-
ability in post-war regions (as in the Balkan or
ex-Yugoslav region) are key for thinking about
disability in the whole territory of the former
Yugoslavia, as well as in Slovenia (which seems
at rst the least affected by the war). Zaviršek
asked to urgently rethink how normality has
been created and constructed in a society like
Slovenia and shows the socially-constructed
responses towards bodily specicities which
determine the quality of life of persons with
impairments in different societies. Kristina Ur-
banc, Daniela Bratković, and Natalija Lisak have
written that the current crisis of Croatian socie-
ty has harmed people with disabilities and their
families, as well as their position in society and
their participation in everyday life. Sanela Bašić
identied that in Bosnia and Herzegovina peo-
ple with disabilities are often denied full par-
48
ticipatory citizenship through different mech-
anisms of social exclusion. She tackled one of
the most urgent and complex topics of con-
temporary disability studies: naming sources
and mechanisms of social exclusion of people
with disabilities in a post-conict, transitional
post-socialist country at Europe’s semi-periph-
ery.
Krasniqi reected on Kosovo, which proclaimed
independence from Serbia in 2008. She analyz-
ed the relationship between the (post-inde-
pendent) Kosovo state and the disability move-
ment and explored the ways in which disability,
as an embodied condition and a form of social
identity, functions in the cultural imagination
and systems of representation. Krasniqi indicat-
ed that the legislative instruments concerning
disability ensurede jure but not de facto equal-
ity.
From 2007 an international trans-disciplinary
art festival Extravagant Bodies was initiated in
Zagreb, Croatia as a triennial project that deals
with societal demarcations of normal and
pathological physicality, appearance, behavior,
sexuality and/or life style.In 2016 at the fourth
edition of Extravagant Bodies, subtitled Crime
and Punishment, topics that were put forward
were social, legislative, scientic and ideo-
logical constructions of criminality and social
norms that delineate criminal from non-crim-
inal behavior. As they formulated: “Once again
the key question remains: what is outside the
norm? How are the boundaries between the
criminalized and the non-criminalized?” (see
Extravagant Bodies).
Vesna Mačković, performer and musician, when
asked to describe the situation for disabled
artists in Croatia, stated that “Zagreb and Rije-
ka (the capital and port in Croatia) have good
workshops for developing disabled dancers. (…)
But I think the main issue causing lack of dis-
abled performative artists in Croatia isn’t ac-
tually lack of inclusive workshops or academic
programs but the lack of a critical number of
interested disabled artists. As it was for me be-
fore, (…) we ourselves, or society, has reinforced
a mindset that a performative body is strictly
one type of non-disabled body and no other”
(see Mačković).
Therefore it is time to intervene in the theory
of performance and performativity, in art and
culture, and at the same time not to dismiss the
massive processes of disenfranchisement that
are an outcome of a new poverty imposed by
neoliberal global capitalism and their brothers
in arms, the post-communist ultra-liberalized
states.
In June 1991 Dah Theatre was established in
Belgrade by Jadranka Anđelić and Dijana Mi-
lošević, and in 1993 the theater expanded its
activities by forming the Theatre Research Cen-
tre. From the beginning Dah Theatre, with other
important sites and groups, always connects
proper work to the position of an individual
in dark times and history. Dah Theatre, Women
in Black (a civil society group that started in
1991 in Belgrade with a public nonviolent pro-
test against the war, the Serbian regime’s pol-
icy and militarism) and Off Frame Festival (an
independent and alternative festival working
49
with different forms of discrimination), since
the 1990s, have worked together on the aesthe-
tic formation of the anti-patriarchal resistance.
In 2011 at the Theatre for Young Audiences in
the UK, Sanja Krsmanović Tasić, another core
member of Dah Theater and Program Director
of Dah Theatre Research Centre, gave a seminar
on theater techniques to be used by disability
performers.
Olivera Simić, another notable academic writer,
based in Australia and who publishes exten-
sively on a variety of topics regarding disability
and international justice, and Dijana Milošević,
presented Enacting Justice: The Role of Dah
Theatre Company in Transitional Justice Pro-
cesses in Serbia and beyond” in 2014. They
maintained that “Dah Theatre gives public
voice to survivors of mass human rights viola-
tions—in particular to women. The theatre and
its members employ performance as a strategy
for truth-seeking, resistance and intervention,
while actively promoting social and symbolic
reparation—a process that is much needed but
overlooked by the Serbian state” (Simić and Mi-
lošević 2014).
To conclude, I spoke in the very beginning of
a necessity to break with the constant victim-
ization of people labeled as disabled. In such
a context Olivera Simić, in another text, ex-
poses that victims are in constant need of rescue
and rehabilitation and therefore she demands
the possibility of emancipation from such an
oppressive context of master and slave. She
quotes another renowned author from Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Jasmina Husanović, political
philosopher and theoretician, who states when
reecting on the same problem “it is time to
deal with loss, rupture, break — mend it, repair
it, restore it, repoliticize it, reimagine it, make it
creative, politically productive, turn it into the
politics of hope, of emancipatory politics!” (Hu-
sanović in Simić 2013).
In conclusion, our interest lies in the possibil-
ities of transdisciplinary work, building knowl-
edge, sharing information and nally producing
textuality that serves as an engine for activa-
tion, empowerment and reection. This is where
we stand in order to continue on this path.
References:
Broyer, nili R (2016). Ableism and Futuristic Technology:
The Enhancement of ‘No Body’ in the Films ‘Lucy’ and
‘Her.’” In Transmissions: the journal of lm and media stud-
ies. Vol. 1, no. 1, 82—98.
Connell, Raewyn (2011). “Southern Bodies and Disabil-
ity: re-thinking concepts.” In Third World Quarterly, 32:8,
1369—1381.
Dah Teatar, http://www.dahteatarcentar.com/index_eng.
html
Exravagant Bodies, http://www.kontejner.org/en/project/
extravagant-bodies-crime-and-punishment
Fletcher, Brandon (2017). “Tropes of ropes of dis/ableism
as exible stigma: examining
Brenda Connors’ 2008 report as an instance of dis/
ableist polemical rhetoric.” Thesis in Master of Arts in
Communication Studies, https://search.proquest.com/
openview/2d3e6a3ebbc4a9d67dad755ad0e2293d/1.
pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
50
Foucault, Michel (1965). Madness and Civilization: A Histo-
ry of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Vintage.
Longmore, Paul K. and Umansky, Lauri (eds.) (2001). The
New Disability History. American Perspectives. New York and
London: New York University Press.
Mačković, Vesna, http://www.vesnamackovic.com/en/au-
thor/admin/page/2/
Phillips, Sarah D (2009). “‘There Are No Invalids in the
USSR!’: A Missing Soviet Chapter in the New Disability
History. In Disability Studies Quarterly (DSQ).Vol. 29, no 3.
Simić, Olivera (2013). “Challenging Bosnian Wom-
en Identity.” https://www.researchgate.net/publica-
tion/273832656_Challenging_Bosnian_Women_Identity
Simić, Olivera and Milošević, Dijana (2014). “Enacting
Justice: The Role of Dah Theatre Company in Transitional
Justice Processes in Serbia and Beyond.” In Peter Rush
and Olivera Simić, (eds.), The arts of transitional justice
culture, activism, and memory after atrocity, New York:
Springer.
Zaviršek, Darja (2000). Hendikep kot kulturna travma. His-
torizacija podob, teles in vsakdanjih praks prizadetih ljudi
[Handicap as a cultural trauma. Historicization of images,
bodies and of everyday practices of disabled people]
Ljubljana: Založba /*cf.
Zaviršek, Darja and Zorn, Jelka (eds.) (2014). Disability
studies in post-socialist countries and South-East Asia.
Special number. Socialno delo (Social Work). Vol. 53. Is-
sues 3—5.
YHD – Association for the Theory and Culture of Handi-
cap, Ljubljana, https://www.yhd-drustvo.si/home.html
Alevtina Kakhidze, 2017, for »Tracings Out of Thin Air.«
52
THE QUESTION OF DISABILITY
IN CONTEMPORARY DANCE PRACTICES
ANETA STOJNIĆ
Within the larger context of questioning dis-
ability in relation to artistic and cultural practic-
es in Eastern Europe and worldwide, questions
of systematic marginalization, and rethinking
the possibilities for empowerment proposed
by this volume, in this brief text I shall focus
on three issues: a) specic case of treatment
of able and disabled bodies in contemporary
dance and more specically the possibilities
for dismantling the normativity of the dancer’s
body; b) how artwork by artists with disabili-
ties is treated in the wider artistic context and
how it can transgress the label of “disability”; c)
availability of formal artistic education for peo-
ple with disabilities.
Emphasizing the specic position of disabled
dancers in relation to other disabled artists Ann
Cooper Albright claims that dance as a form of
cultural production makes the body visible in
the artwork itself (Albright) — or I would add,
in dance the representation is always embod-
ied. “Thus” Albright continues: “when we look at
dance with disabled dancers, we are looking at
both the choreography and the disability” (Al-
bright).
Such a situation can be problematic from dif-
ferent aspects, one of the issues being: does the
non-normative body on stage become exposed
to the gaze of normative able-bodied audiences,
who applaud inclusion while expecting a less-
er quality of art-work? In order to contest such
marginalization we need to pose the question:
what kind of embodied practice is realized in
the performance by and with disabled artists?
And what representational codes of dance and
the performer’s body are being challenged in
such a situation?
The disabled performer appears on stage as a
political subject who re-claims the non-norma-
tive position exposing the traditional ideas of
a awless, perfect, skilled able-bodied danc-
er body as anachronistic. This is also import-
ant because it undermines the ideology of the
cultural paradigm of health and tness, and as
Albright emphasizes, disabled dancers expose
and challenge the strong preconceptions of the
dance world about which bodies and move-
ments can constitute a dance and/or a dancer:
“In order to examine ableist preconceptions in
the dance world, one must confront both the
ideological and symbolic meanings that the
disabled body holds in our culture, as well as
the practical conditions of disability. Watching
disabled bodies dancing forces us to see with
a double vision, and helps us to recognize that
while a dance performance is grounded in the
physical capacities of a dancer, it is not limited
by them” (Albright).
53
In order to elaborate on the above-mentioned
issues I will look at the example of work by
the artistic-activist group “Let’s…”1 (in Serbi-
an “Hajde da…”) from Belgrade, Serbia. Active
since 1999, over the years they have realized
a number of contemporary dance and theatre
projects (performances and workshops) with
artists with various physical disabilities as well
as with those with mental health problems and
youth with developmental difculties. Their ac-
tivism also includes work with other marginal-
ized and sensitive” groups but here I will focus
only on these two groups. In their inclusive per-
formances the group “Let’s…” made a signicant
effort against ableism and towards the em-
powerment of disabled artists in the context
of contemporary dance and theatre in Serbia.
Specic to their approach is to work together in
the same production with disabled dancers and
dancers without disabilities. One of the import-
ant issues that they raise in their work has to
do with the lack of availability of formal artis-
tic education for people with various forms of
disabilities. As one of the models of marginal-
ization they recognize the fact that artists with
disabilities are not accepted as equal partici-
pants in a professional artistic context because
they often lack formal academic artistic educa-
tion. The reason for this is that art academies
and faculties do not accept them as regular”
students. In most cases even the facilities of art
schools, faculties and academies are not acces-
sible, which should be the most basic, let alone
any more substantial practice such as providing
programs and study materials that would be
1 See http://hajdeda.org.rs
adequate to accommodate the material condi-
tions for people with different kinds of disabili-
ties. Therefore we have a double-bind situation
that perpetuates the circle of further structural
marginalization and discrimination.
With the aim to prompt and facilitate the col-
laboration of contemporary dance choreogra-
phers and people with disabilities interested in
studying dance, the collective “Let’s…realized a
long-term program of free inclusive contempo-
rary dance workshops, that were open for both
persons without and with disabilities, for work-
ing and learning together. According to Mar-
ko Pejović, one of the founders of collective:
“When the group “Let’s... (Grupa “Hajde da...”)
started working on the development of inclu-
sive theatre in Serbia, it was not possible to see
the entire picture. We were not completely sure
what we were dealing with […] I believe that
the greatest obstacles were psychological. A
number of experts in the eld of disability, as
well as part of the community of people with
disabilities, believed there was no possibility of
success. They didn’t think that a paraplegic or a
person with muscular dystrophy could be en-
gaged in artistic dance” (Pejović).
This was also the topic of their inclusive perfor-
mances, such as “Hegel and long list of frauds,
where they challenged the idea of a wholeness
and totality established through the standard-
ized “able body image” while all other bodies
are rendered in terms of lack. The authors try
to dismantle such preconceptions, offering the
idea that every possible body can be under-
54
stood as a dance body, calling for educational
institutions in performing arts not to discrimi-
nate against disabled bodies.
In their artistic process, the group relies on the
long tradition in contemporary and conceptu-
al dance which aims to dismantle the social
construct of the normative “dancer” body, by
opening up and including in dance forms a
variety of different non-normative bodies that
were unthinkable to appear in classical ballet
forms: from untrained bodies, old bodies, obese
bodies, queer and trans bodies to bodies with
different forms of disabilities. It is a tradition
of contemporary dance where, as Leigh Fos-
ter argues, choreographers appear as facilita-
tors more interested in the cultural and social
connotation of an action performed by specic
performers’ bodies than the physical articu-
lation of such action: choreographers began
to ask: How do these actions signify identity?
What kinds of cultural milieus do they repre-
sent? What had begun with Cunningham as an
embrace of all movement as articulation soon
transformed into an interest in all movement
as varieties of signifying cultural and individual
identity” (Foster, 205).
In this context the performing bodies in in-
clusive theatre open the possibility for critical
re-articulation of manifestations, representa-
tions and transformations of the body and the
corporeal, as socio-cultural, political, psycho-
logical, physiological, material and virtual en-
tities.
References:
Albright, Ann Cooper (1998). “Strategic Abilities: Negoti-
ating the Disabled Body in Dance.In Michigan Quarter-
ly Review. Vol. XXXVII. Issue 3: Disability, Art, and Culture
(Part Two), 1998.
Foster, Susan Leigh (2011). Choreographing Empathy. New
York: Routledge.
Pejović, Marko (2014). “Challenging what is Normal: Some
controversies concerning norms normality and the con-
ventional in the context of youth. http://pjp-eu.coe.int/
documents/1017981/7110670/Challengingwhatisnor-
mal.pdf/488ea566-7389-40de-8d9a-8a9af13e24ff
Alevtina Kakhidze, 2017, for »Tracings Out of Thin Air.«
56
ARTISTIC AGENCY OF PEOPLE
WITH DISABILITIES
MIRA KALLIO-TAVIN
Collaborative arts projects
Collaboration has become characteristic for
much of the contemporary art practices in the
twenty-rst century.1 According to Foster (1996),
community-based art is dened as collabora-
tive and interactive art-making between an art-
ist and a local group. Logically, it follows that
people who take part in art-making are seen as
co-producers and participants, rather than au-
dience or viewers. The boundary between the
collaborative partners and the artists becomes
ambiguous, and the role of the artwork is un-
derstood in a potentially novel fashion through
the collaborative process. Often, the artist is
conceived of as a collaborator and producer
of situations and events rather than a person
who creates art objects (see more Kallio-Tavin
2014).
Participatory arts practices are considered by
many to be a logical step toward a meaningful
relationship between artists and participants
and an efcacious means of shrinking the dis-
tance between the traditionally separate poles
1 Portions of this paper were previously published in Kal-
lio-Tavin, M. (2017). “Participatory and community-based
contemporary art practices with people with disabilities”
In John Derby & Alice Wexler (eds.), Contemporary art and
culture in disability studies. Critical Perspectives on Disabili-
ty. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
of art production and reception. As such, col-
laborative arts projects are often considered
artistically and politically critical and progres-
sive practice. Criticism has been directed to
how right-wing, neo-liberalist, and consumerist
culture has dominated the art world through
art market-centered thinking. As Claire Bishop
(2012) has stated, among others, for many art-
ists and curators, participation is important as
a project, to critique the consumerist-centered
art world. Bishop (2012) refers to Paulo Virno,
who pointed out that while historic avant-gar-
de practices were encouraged by centralized
political parties, today’s collective practices are
connected to the decentered and heterogene-
ous net of social co-operation. Social justice
and human rights has been the key role for ac-
tivist artists through collaborative art-making.
For example, artists working with people with
disabilities have wanted to increase the soci-
etal knowledge of people with different needs
and to offer a voice for those who have been
silenced in society.
Bishop (2012) emphasizes that, “collectivity and
collaboration have been some of the most per-
sistent themes of advanced art and exhibition
making of the last decade.... Individualism...
57
(has been) viewed with suspicion, not least be-
cause the commercial art system and museum
programming continue to revolve around lu-
crative single gures.(p.12) Collaborative prac-
tices were, hence, strongly connected to new
liberalist critiques of art world market values,
rst advocated by artists and curators on the
political left.
Ten years after the early social networks that
Virno and Bishop discuss, the critique has
moved on to question the real possibilities of
democratic collaboration and, ironically, at the
same time, new liberalist practices have bene-
ted from the participatory discourse. Due to
this new capitalist approach to collaborative
practices, what started as a critique of domi-
nant art markets supplying artistic commodi-
ties has lost its greater criticism and unfortu-
nately serves the markets better than critical
art-making. New liberalist politics, such as New
Labour in the UK from 1997 to 2010 (Bishop
2012), are busy beneting from the avant-garde
and interested in changing its practices quite
exibly, according to the customer’s will. If peo-
ple (audience, visitors, participants, customers)
want collaborative activities, why should’ the
art market not follow that direction? That is
how the market works, after all.
Gerald Raunig (2013) criticizes the word par-
ticipation because it suggests that people take
part in something that is whole. Like the idea
of a presupposed community, one can then only
gain a (small) part of something that is already
predetermined. Raunig states that so-called
community building often remains as rhetoric of
participation and involvement and actually be-
comes pseudo-participation. The terminology
is appropriated and made dominant by the cre-
ative industry and right-wing politics, and does
not give true agency to the people involved.
There are, however, artists, educators and cu-
rators who critically work in collaboration, who
“are interested in devising social situations as
a dematerialized, anti-market, politically en-
gaged project to carry on the avant-garde call
to make art a more vital part of life.(Bishop
2012, 13) What remains as relevant questions
are: what are the inherent problems with col-
laborative and participatory work?; how should
artists, educators and curators work in collab-
orative projects, especially when working with
people with disabilities?
Criticizing normalcy
I will next focus on the meaning of disabili-
ty in society, as I understand it (see also Kal-
lio-Tavin 2015a; 2015b). I think it is important
to include this perspective to clarify why agen-
cy is so important when working with people
with disabilities, and to understand why good
intentions are not enough when working with
people with disabilities in arts projects. Similar
to the discrimination of people based on eth-
nicity or gender, historically people with disa-
bilities have been objects of abuse and control.
This is why it is crucial to draw attention to the
practices of artists, educators and curators, who
work in collaborative art projects.
58
Throughout history, disability has been difcult
for normative people to relate to, even though it
has always been part of human societies. Simo
Vehmas (2012) sums up how during Antiquity
and the Middle Ages, disability was believed to
be a consequence of a transgression, a result
of moral wrongdoing. People with disabilities
were either isolated from society or killed (Stik-
er 1999; Vehmas 2012).
During modern times, disability has been un-
derstood, controlled, and managed through
scientic and medical classications and diag-
nostics (Vehmas 2012). For these same reasons,
disability became an individualized physical or
mental decit, and an object of treatment and
oversight. The origin of disability was connect-
ed, and is often still connected, to bad luck (an
accident), bad habits (wrong diet and intoxi-
cants), or bad genes (p. 270). Normalcy became
a measurement of humanity, a standard that we
learn early in life, and abnormalcy an undesira-
ble deviation from the norm. The denitions of,
and reasons for, abnormalcy have been chang-
ing throughout history. What has remained
constant, however, is that people want to keep
a distance from abnormalcy (disability), par-
tially from fear of our own mortality (Swain &
French2000; Wexler 2005).
Both approaches to disability—the moralist and
the medical—are criticised for their paternal-
ism. The freedom of individuals and the right
to make their own decisions are limited, which
are sometimes imposed against their will (Veh-
mas 2012). In the medical approach, disabilities
are perceived as potentially treatable via vari-
ous therapies. This idea is largely accepted in
societies and is problematic for many reasons.
Disability studies scholars aim to show how
disability is not primarily a biological condition,
but at the intersection of society and its dis-
courses, which create and maintain disability
through values, conventions and signicances
(Davis 2006; Osteen 2008; Siebers 2006; Ve-
hmas 1998; Wilson & Lewiecki-Wilson 2004).
This so-called social model, or socio-political
approach to disability, has challenged earlier
approaches. Acknowledging all bodies as so-
cio-politically constructed, and disability as
other than a personal tragedy or distinguished
from impairment, has helped to represent dis-
ability as a socially constructed phenomenon.
As Tom Shakespeare (1992) has stated, the real
cause of disability is discrimination and preju-
dice, not an impairment.
While non-disabled people might assume that
disabled people lack “normalcy, this is rarely
experienced by people with disabilities them-
selves, who consider disability to be a natural
part of their identity. Disabled people are sub-
jected to many disabling expectations, such as
“adjusting” to and “accepting” their situation.
These types of expectations can be more disen-
franchising than the impairment itself (Swain
& French 2000).
More recently, the socio-political notions of
disability have been developed towards a so-
called afrmation approach. The afrmative ap-
proach directly challenges the presumption of
personal tragedy and the determinations based
on the values of nondisabled people. While the
59
social model, also generated by disabled peo-
ple, offers a viewpoint of those living within a
disabling society, the afrmative approach to
disability values disabled individuals’ own life-
styles as culture and cultural identity (Swain &
French 2000).
While disability is recognized as a cultural
identity comparable with other cultural minor-
ity identities, it is clear that there is not just
one disability culture. Disability culture refers
to a diverse group of people with diverse phys-
ical or mental conditions, who often experience
cultural discrimination, stigmatization, segre-
gation and medicalization (Eisenhauer 2007).
These diverse groups and individuals also have
different identities and different understand-
ings of their own (dis)abilities. It has often been
demonstrated that individuals with disabilities
do not want to be treated as special” (Derby
2011), live in segregated spaces, receive a seg-
regated education, and suffer a loss of rights
(Blandy 1994). Also, people experiencing disa-
bilities often do not want to be perceived as
curious,” or whose artistic production is cate-
gorized by such designations as “outsider art,
“mad art, or “l’art brut” (Blandy 1991; Wexler
2005).
Towards artistic agency
In arts projects, nondisabled artists are often
working with people with disabilities who of-
fer possibilities for artistic expression and so-
cietal inclusion. Many participatory projects
have made a signicant difference to the lives
of the participants (Jokela, Hiltunen, and Härkö-
nen 2015; McLeod and Ricketts 2013; Powell
2008). Indeed, they are extremely important,
self-critical, and well-planned participatory ac-
tivities. In countries not identied as so-called
welfare states, and in which the state does not
offer certain services to its citizens, community
arts projects have sometimes taken a substan-
tial role in improving conditions in people’s
lives. While these projects are well-intentioned
and the artists, organizers, audience, and most
importantly, the participants are often quite
pleased with the process and the outcome,
there could be even more ambitious goals for
cultural participation and agency.
Issues, such as who creates the community and
by what means, need to be discussed. What are
the politics behind the groupings, and whose
interests are being met as a result of these
groupings? Naming a group based on its par-
ticipant’s abilities is questionable. It is also
important to raise questions such as how do
we dene a community without stigmatising
the people participating in it? How do we see
a person’s personality above and beyond his
or her disability when the group is externally
dened by that particular disability? How can
artists, educators and curators create a positive
identity instead of limiting one’s personality?
The dened characteristics for any community,
be it self-organised or organised by an external
authority, reveal the values, wishes and aims of
contemporary society.
60
“Nothing about us without us” and “art belongs
to everybody” are well-known disability rights
slogans. Academics, artists and activists have
been working for two decades towards the
fulllment of these slogans. Still, people with
disabilities as equal representatives in pub-
lic and private art and media institutions, and
decision-making bodies are rare. People with
disabilities are still controlled and regulated
by nondisabled “experts. While there might be
services available, there are few possibilities
to actively produce and implement actions in
art and culture, or to take part in policy-making
decisions in society. How might artists, educa-
tors and curators work in collaborative projects,
especially when working together with people
with disabilities? If one is interested in working
with dematerialized, anti-market, politically en-
gaged projects with pro-social justice with hu-
man rights perspectives, what should be kept
in mind? Is it even possible to work in partici-
pative manners so as not to allow collaboration
to become an empty rhetoric of neo-liberalism?
Recent developments in the arts, education, and
curating elds have emphasized the actions of
“thinking together” and “self-organizing.” There
are projects which have turned more towards
the ideologies of historic avant-garde practices,
and instead of participation, they invite individ-
uals to think and act together. Activist and crit-
ical approaches are crucial when collaborative
arts projects are about to become all-purpose
handy tools.
It is always important to ask whose interest,
agenda, ideology or orientation is being driven
when working and thinking together. Who pro-
vides spaces, who funds the collaboration, and
for what reasons? It is also important to rec-
ognize and critically evaluate the level of de-
mocracy the collective claims to practice. And,
it is important to encourage self-organization
among disabled people rather than encourag-
ing nondisabled people to organize projects on
their behalf. First hand perspectives instead of
the interpretations of external specialists are
more accurate representations of disability cul-
ture. Maintaining the freedom of individualism
and avoiding paternalism should be a leading
principle for many projects. Perhaps artists, ed-
ucators and curators would benet working as
participants with a self-organized disability
artist community who are too often dened, or-
ganized, and understood as “just” participants.
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