Slavs and Tatars — 79-89-09

Friday, February 26th, 7 p.m.

At SVA, 209 E. 23rd Street

(3rd floor amphitheater)

Edifying and SVA, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media, are pleased to present 79-89-09performative lecture by artists collective Slavs and Tatars.

In the lineage of John Cage’s Lecture on Nothing (1950), or Robert Morris’s 1964 performance 21.3 where the artist lip-synched a film of art historian Erwin Panofsky reading his Studies On Iconology (1939), Edifying, a series of performance-lectures curated by Beatrice Gross, presents a selection of contemporary performative events concerned with the dramatization of knowledge and its dissemination.

Slavs and Tatars, a self-described “faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area East of the former Berlin Wall and West of the Great Wall of China,” will perform the first two chapters of their 79-89-09 lecture dedicated to the Iranian Revolution, “unibrows,” the advent of around-the-clock world news, dervish trance, the collapse of Communism,  the Beach Boys, Modernity, propaganda and historical truths …


“It is strangely refreshing to see that nobody “knows” anymore.

The critical thinking previously reserved for epistemologists has been ushered in healthy doses into the domain of common sense. Where once intellectuals, nay-sayers and outsiders alone celebrated the limits of human knowledge, today prime ministers, merchants, and manual labourers stand together amidst the fog of the present. To better understand the world around us, we decided to rip a page from the anti-modernist playbook, plowing forward by looking backwards to two key-dates of the recent past – 1979 and 1989 – in the hopes of coming to terms with 2009.” (S&T)


Artist(s) Biography:

Colliding the polemical, the analytical and the affective in a society that too often sequesters each, Slavs and Tatars excavates stories and legacies at heightened risk of being forgotten and trampled under the guise of progress-cum-westernization. Based between Brussels and Moscow, the collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low) focusing on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians. In 2009, Slavs and Tatars published Kidnapping Mountains (Book Works), a celebration of complexity in the Caucasus, and more recentlyLove Me, Love Me Not: Changed Names (onestar press): a selection of 150 Eurasian cities whose names have been caught like children in the spiteful back and forth of history’s custody battle. Slavs and Tatars have exhibited at the Barbican, Netwerk Centre for Contemporary Art, the Goethe Institut, New York, Colette, and the Moscow Biennale. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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This event is free and open to the public.