nika and david on infra

15 min video (jun 2020) nika dubrovsky and david graeber at 16beaver:

Nika Dubrovsky and David Graeber discuss Proletkult, Value, and Art at (virtual) 16 Beaver Street’s “Friends of the Virus” (May 2020)

proletkult.. graeber values law.. another art world.. et al


d: is it possible to actually change possibilities

d: you could make the argument that what artists and revolutionaries have in common is that they actually are people who do that.. revolution really happens when there is a transformation of common sense.. what i have been thinking about is.. *how can we turn this moment into.. there will be a transformation of common sense..t how do we assert ourselves as revolutionaries in a process where transformation of sensibilities/sensitivities/common-sense are all changing in immediate and dramatic ways.. the best we can do is perhaps intervene in the ways we can talk and think about it

*org around legit needs

ie: a nother way.. as a means to undo our hierarchical listening.. setting all art ists free in sync

d: i’ve been thinking hard about every way we measure econ indicators to the very notion of disciplines of econ and bodies of assumption about human nature that are kind of packaged into them.. *how can they directly be challenged.. t

yeah.. but really whales nature

*maybe they can’t.. maybe we just need a way for 8b people to get out of sea world.. hari rat park law et al.. so that rather than challenging them.. they become irrelevant s

3 min – d: so my one tentative answer to productivism that i’ve been trying to develop is .. a notion of production/consumption as we’ve been playing out essentially theological notions.. not just monotheism.. monotheism isn’t that big of a deal.. not some incredible break thru that had never occurred to anybody.. for good/ill.. what seems to be unique.. is the idea of a deity creating a universe out of nothing.. so that idea of creation/production seems to.. you know most gods work w existing materials.. their creation is actually a re processing.. and a moment of transformation rather than something comes out of nowhere.. and production means to push out.. you know you have this black box.. always analogous to a womb.. you know god punishes us by imitating creation.. people who suffer in labor..

4 min – d: so that theological notion of productivism.. that econ is production/consumption.. if we were to get rid of that.. what would we substitute.. how would we rethink it..t

ie: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

d: so i thought maybe everybody’s been talking about care a lot lately.. and econ’s point out that all labor can be conceived as caring labor.. so they start w value of labor that econ is how we take care of each other.. care is the basis of the value of all labor

caring labor

5 min – d: but we immediately run into the problem of care as a form of oppression.. which is something that we’re all grappling with.. to what degree is a prison giving care? it feeds/clothes you.. is care all that great.. is it actually a value in itself..

huge.. depends on what needs we org around.. ie: a nother way

d: so i thought maybe the best way out of that is by saying care is an action that maintains/enhances another person’s freedom (or entity’s.. including environ, plants, et al)

bishop freedom law et al

d: you think of the paradigm of a child.. the mother takes care so they can grow/thrive.. but also so that they can play.. the ultimate expression of freedom in itself.. for its own sake

graeber care/free law

6 min – d: so in that idea of reformulating essential structures of value.. how do we reimagine what art does.. t.. this is something nika and i have been alike in a million diff ways.. in looking at alt traditions in how you could .. well reimagine the value of art..

what we need is to reformulate essential needs.. and structure around that

art (by day/light) and sleep (by night/dark) as re\set.. to fittingness/undisturbed ecosystem

d: take it from a marxist perspective.. the idea that production and realization of value take place in diff spheres.. and exploitation is possible because of that rupture (i think?).. so you could produce value in the workplace and it’s realized in the market.. but even if producing value at home in bringing up children it gets realized in the public sphere in a way that allows the primary producers to get ripped off (i think?).. so that’s a productivist view of this.. but that sphere if realization requires (?) and an audience.. in fact for any given actor.. society are those people in whose eyes you realize value

7 min – d: everybody has people who they care whether they achieved/got/have/did something.. and other people that it never even occurs to them to wonder what those people think about them.. so that is society for that.. the audience for the realization of forms of value

d: so perhaps the way revolutionary work as art is to think of art not as a production of an object that is realized in a field of value.. but to unify the creation of that field and the creation of whatever you’re thinking of is the art itself..

8 min – d: nika’s been thinking very hard about how these issues were dealt with in the very early years of the russian revolution..

n: yeah.. also.. and to be more practical now.. what will happen after the lockdown will end.. and esp in art as an ie.. because art is this fictional character that presents this creative work..

9 min – n: now it’s part of conversation of how to help artists.. ie: germany gave money to the artists.. et al.. same new deal et al.. and a lot of public art going on.. propaganda art..

perhaps let’s try/code money (any form of measuring/accounting) as the planned obsolescence

w/ubi as temp placebo.. needs met w/o money.. till people forget about measuring

n: what’s interesting about that.. is he created an infra in which people were able to art by themselves t.. in 1920s.. amount of art was huge/amazing.. proletkult..

10 min – n: and it very much look the same in lockdown when people org selves in communities in fb et al.. singing collectively on balcony.. so it was like proletkult created infra for play and freedom.. art was so strong.. that even after stalin/et-al regimes .. it’s still there.. so everywhere you have this places you can play chess/music.. so the whole societal tissue was transformed by this 10 yrs i think proletkult.. not so long time..

city sketchup et al

11 min – n: the other thing about collective community.. so alexandar maknonov mamonov (?) created the block institute for block transfusion.. because he believed the same way as art supposed to be this infra for collective creativity.. the same we can be forever or at least for the process of constant rejuvenation.. by transfusion of block from younger to older people.. he actually died because he went thru this block transfusion w young person who had malaria who survived.. because maganonov (?) engaged this person in this process..

12 min – n: so it’s actually like almost as he was imagining creating a physical infra where people are connected to each other.. then maybe society will maintain this collective life/health/youth ness.. t

exactly.. we’ve been trying to org around non legit needs (food/water/shelter/resources) rather than the needs of our essence.. ie: maté basic needs

12 min – d: what i found so fascinating.. we always see soviet culture as a failure.. and it was because they lost culturally .. because everybody wanted rock n roll and jeans..

13 min – d: but they did manage to create and infra.. in those few years.. prolekult was like the artistic group for the soviets.. it was a democratized, bottom up, collective, creation.. and we didn’t really attempt to really realize yet.. what would it mean for everybody to be an artist..t

let’s do this first – huge

aka: all of us

ie: a nother way

d: and some of the institutions they created were so dogged that they’re still there.. despite no support.. and it’s one of the things that managed to sustain the people thru the collapse of society.. of the system.. econ disaster.. was.. there were these infras created around play and creative expression.. that were there and were reliable.. and still are there despite govt’s attempts to essentially root it out.. t

huge ie: cure ios city

n: yeah.. and so everybody is talking now about the green new deal.. but to me.. it’s important to get into details and to figure out what kind of green new deal we will advocate..t.. because the green new deal in the us in 30s was state run new deal.. that wasn’t creating an infra for the artists for ie.. it was just.. the govt help artists during this transition when they would supposed to become successful entrepreneurs..

ie: 2 conversations .. as infra

14 min – n: and in soviet union what they did is they created an infra in which everybody would be common (?).. t.. that’s how communism is understood


this.. let’s to this..

d: that’s what communism would mean.. needless to say .. lenin didn’t like it.. but it’s a fascinating counter ie of what could have been

ie: via our findings:

1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people


video via simona ferlini:

@nikadubrovsky 1/ “Revolution is happened when there is a transformation of common sense”, and in this meeting you and @davidgraeber discussed the potential for transformation towards #FreedomAndCare embedded in the pandemic crisis

Original Tweet:

@nikadubrovsky @davidgraeber 3/ reversing this outcome, and restoring and idea of freedom that is collective creation based on mutual care, instead of on the coercive power of the State, is our most important task

Original Tweet:

ie: a nother way

a means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature


That’s how I see our future plans.

Original Tweet:

“Revolutions have consisted above all of planetwide transformations of political common sense.”

David Graeber

“We Zapatistas think that now more than ever, we need ART in order to give birth to a new world.”

Original Tweet:

art (by day/light) and sleep (by night/dark) as re\set.. to fittingness/undisturbed ecosystem

let’s do this first: free art\ists