Художественный журнал
digest 2005 – 2007

They say...

Dmitry Vilensky
Chto Delat? /Tsaplya, Nikolay Oleynikov, Dmitry Vilensky/. "Angry Sandwich People or In Praise of Dialectics", still from slide-show with sound, 2006
They say that art
is a product
that makes the life of the elite
even more comfortable
and attractive.
And that all people need
is a little provocation,
a little nervous titillation,
the lifelike illusion of authenticity,
of course, and lots of pieces
in many new styles -
so many new white walls to fill,
so much free money to spend -
so that now minimalism, abstraction, pop,
and even socialist realism
will probably find their places
in some important living room.

They say that culture
needs to rally the nation in the face
Of manifold threats.

They say that the market
is the only form,
obviously the most natural form,
for organizing society,
that the rights of property
are the only thing still sacred
after so many sudden deaths:

Humanism, the Author, Communism, the Revolution...
All have long since been buried, yet capital lives on,
its laws universal all over the world,
universal to all spheres of human activity.
Its order of things unchanging.

They talk about how justice
is an objective impossibility.
How nice that there is inequality -
The master will always have to rule
for the benefit of those
naturally incapable of deciding anything
on their own.
And what hard work it is to rule, indeed,
To preside, to represent, to lead,
to manipulate, to coerce.
Thank god somebody is ready to do the job
For such meager recompense.

They've also learned the central lesson:
The medium is the only message.
They mouth it over, again and again,
no worse than parrots:
The medium of power
no longer needs to make meaning.

Why would you need eternal emancipation,
if there is so much turnover,
so much marketing and branding,
so many new styles, galleries, and boutiques
in a stable society that
leads stable wars
shapes a stable demand for services
has a stable constitution
and stable prices -
oops, sorry, falling prices, of course!

They say that the crowds around
the cultural feed trough
whose contracts deck out
the projects of power
will create new forms of social dialogue

And that the only possible form of thought is
an endless rehash
of the most down-to-earth opinions,
seasoned by ghost-writers' backhand spice.
After all, every successful thinker
has already learned to do their job,
without even asking for a raise.

And, of course, don't forget reconciliation
between rich and poor,
red and white,
victims and oppressors,
which is what the end of history
really means.

When they say it, they sound so sure,
from above,
they know,
that as long as the price of oil
keeps climbing
they have time to keep on talking.

They say it on TV
on academic panels,
on the newspaper pages, in magazines,
in parliament
and even in the subway or on the streets,
you can hear something very similar.
It sounds like their speech is
contagious like a virus

When they talk, it's light and easy -
made legit by fancy suits,
luxury-class cars,
a multitude of body guards
Who else dares speak
without becoming part of their world?

They aren't asking you to become more -
they are fine-tuned to your concerns
ready to say all kinds of things for your benefit -

but lately, they sound a bit more hysterical when they talk,
just a little note of uncertainty
(though everything looks as calm as ever) -

for some reason
what ruffles their calm is a handful of people
who has the nerve to claim
that what they say is a lie.

Dmitry Vilensky
Born in 1964 in Leningrad. Artist, curator and critic.
Participant of the Creative Platform "What is to Be Done?".
Member of the MAM Editorial Board.
From in Berlin (Germany) and St-Petersburg.
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