The Institute of Lyrical Sociology (The Bergen Assembly)


This year the Bergen Assembly took place in Norway. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway. Ekaterina Dyegot and David Riff were curators of this huge event.

Assembly’s arrangement was inspired by Strugatsky brother’s novel «Monday begins on saturday». Like NIICHAVO departments in Bergen opened 11 institutes: the Institute of Disappearing Future, the Insitute of Anti-Formalism, the Insitute of Imaginary States, the Insitute of Tropical Fascism, the Insitute of Love and Lack Thereof, the Insitute of of Political Hallucinations, the Insitute of Zoopolitics, the Insitute of Perpetual Accumulation, the Insitute of Pines and Prison Bread, the Insitute of Lyrical Sociology, the Insitute of Defensive Magic.

As curators said, each of the eleven institutions writes space novel and “artists are words – usually adjectives, sometimes substantives, seldom verbs, linked only by quirky curatorial syntax”. The galleries supported by government become no opposition, independent spaces of art but part of state, its institution.

The parallels with the Soviet NII CHAVO (the Research Institute of Witchcraft and Mafgic)  seems very appropriate. In addition, everyone had a unique opportunity to explore the city by taking part in the quest for art galleries of the Assembly.

Visitors saw constant attribute of the Soviet Research Institutes in each department of the Bergen Assembly, such as digital clock, tablets with engraving (epigraphs to the institutes – quotes from Stugatsky’s novel), big plants and there were festive long carpet in some galleries.

Institutes begin a dialogue with exhibition spaces were they are located. The Institute of Lyrical Sociology was open in the Bergen School museum. It is wood building near the old church with fireplaces and creaky floor.

Olga Chernyshova presented a surprisingly touching video album, which has collected observations and reflections on everyday life in contemporary Russia. She often focuses on marginal spaces and personalities in quotidian Russian life and culture, while capturing the flow of time.

Olga chosen thus stories with drag melancholy and love: a visit to her parents, platforms, observing from window in small flat, the ride in the subway and so on. Everyone may collect such album of our own lyrical anthropology.

The video artwork “Hypercrisis” by Josef Daberling continued lyrical story line. It was the movie about melancholic weekdays of fictional writer Boris Martov. He showed promises in time of Perestroika, but nowadays he experience writer’s block and live in ex – rest house for cineastes.

And in a large classroom guests of the assembly saw visualization of James Joyce’s “circle reading” produced by conceptual artist Dora Garcia. Here you can spend a lot of time examining the logical links, notes and newspaper clippings, trying to “crack” the language code.

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