DISCUSSION. Photo of the performance by Collective Actions (KD)


The action consisted of two parts and was conducted at A. Monastyrski’s apartment. During the first 55 minutes the audience listened to the phonogram of Monastyrski’s text "TZI-TZI", which was overlapped every three minutes with a phrase "A text by Monastyrski titled "TZI-TZI. Tautology of an Empty Action" is being read" (another variant – "A text by Monastyrski titled "TZI-TZI. Preface to action "Discussion" is being read"). It is important to note that this acoustical pattern of overlapping was later used to resound the audience’s remarks during the "Discussion" itself.

Besides that, objects of "Categories of the C. A." were placed in the room’s center. Eight of them were placed on a rectangle-shaped white cloth, and two on a circular table.

The remote (from the table) end of the cloth covered a long black box with four electric torches, previously used in the "Translation" performance. The electric torches were lit and shone through the white cloth.

On the box covered with white cloth there was a board named "Demonstrative Field" (one of objects of "Categories of the C. A."). A time relay attached to the board was connected to a lamp covered with "Upturned Vase"(another object of "Categories of the C. A.") and a filmstrip projector.

Next to the box, on the white cloth lying on the floor there was the biggest of "Categories of the C. A." objects called "Divagation" – a black overcoat boxed in two boards which were nailed and roped together. (All objects of "Categories of the C. A." are notably heavy and roped with numerous protruding knots, thus resembling mail packages). The upper board, inscribed in different places (both typewritten and hand-written with black soft-tippen: "C. A. Categories. Male overcoat, demi-season, black (1 piece). DIVAGATION. Moscow region, Savyolovskaya railway line, near the village of Kyevy Gorky”. 1976-1985), served as a passage between two parts of the room (Monastyrski’s example prompted such possibility).

Closer to the table, under "Divagation" there was another object called "Imperceptibility" (the "Soft handle", vertically attached to a small board).

On its right there was an object titled "69" – a mattress envelope, wrapped in golden foil and boxed in two roped and nailed scale boards. On the upper board a page of musical score of John Cage’s "Water Music" was glued, with traffic route of trolley bus number 69 printed over it - from the ‘VDNKH South Gates’ to the ‘Petrovski Gates’.

Under "Imperceptibility" there was "Object-frame" – a stack of black rectangular cards with numbers, wrapped in black cellophane, which were previously used as interior object-frame in the "Translation" performance.

On its right there was an object called "Transport. Esthetical Overlay", which consisted of "Guten Tag" magazine front pages with metallic accessories (wings and stars), specially connected and imposed over each other, and metallic sheets. A photograph from "Translation" performance was glued onto the lower card’s reverse side.

A walkman with a cassette box balanced on top of it was placed on a plastic stand and situated between two objects (between an ‘object-frame’ and an ‘aesthetic covering’). All the objects were inscribed with the following title: ‘Category of CA. The tautology of the empty action. Description (Recording) 1985’. Placed within this row of objects the intention of this particular object was to indicate a part of the process of ‘The Discussion’ performance (i.e. to represent a recording of the discussion itself).

Finally, next to the table on the white cloth there was an object called "Dumbbells scheme", consisting of a long heavy cardboard box, roped in four places. Inside it there were two fur hats, a dumbbell weighing 3 kilos and two enemas. On the box’s upper side there were white labels, accordingly marked. Besides them, each object had a label with a certain location. For example, the "Dumbbells scheme" was labeled "Moscow, Losiny Ostrov, basketball playground" (where several slides for the "Barrel" performance were made).

In the center of the circular table there was the "Upturned Vase" with a lamp inside it. The box holding the lamp’s socket and the vase was roped with two knotty wires forming two braided straps. To their ends, on the box’s left and right two microphones of a Walkman lying on the white cloth were attached. "Upturned Vase" was the only unlabelled object of all "Categories of the C. A.” pieces

On the table’s corner there was the "Photo album" – a big album, nailed and roped to a sophisticated podium. The album contained photographs from different performances of the C. A. group, and also two cardboard cards from Monastyrski’s "Reeler". On the album’s right, a paper was glued to the podium, listing the following demonstrative relations - categories of the C. A.: "Reeling. Standing. Lying in a pit. A Group. A man – people in a distance. Sound. Listening to the listening". Viewers could scroll the album.

In the room over the piano a black musical sheet of the "Jupiter" performance was hanging, and under the coach there was a glass-sided framed screen in blue passé-par-tout belonging to "Barrel" performance. These objects had a certain value in the visual structure of the action.

After the audience’s having finished examining the "Categories of the C. A." objects, between the piano and the white cloth a screen with black letters was fixed. The letters said: "C. A. CATEGORIES. PERSPECTIVES OF THE VERBAL SPACE. Discussion. 1985”. Further listening to the soundtrack was accompanied by demonstration of several slide films from the "Russian world" and "Barrel" performances, relating to the "TZI-TZI" soundtrack’s content. When the "TZI-TZI" soundtrack came to an end, the "Discussion" itself started after a five minutes’ pause. Headlights were turned off, while the lamp inside "Upturned Vase" was switched on. The first slide from "Fragments. The Closed City" series appeared on the screen, and Kizewalter who was responsible for switching slides, read aloud a short introductory text. Simultaneously, the same text was repeated through stereo speakers by Monastyrski who was sitting behind the screen (and thus was invisible to the audience) and, while listening to the audience’s commentaries through headphones of the second Walkman (it was connected to another Walkman set to recording mode which rested among other objects on the white cloth), repeated some of them to the microphone connected to a speaker in the opposite corner of the room. He also participated in the discussion from time to time.

The slide film titled "Fragments. The Closed City" accompanying the "Discussion" consisted of 114 slides, each remaining on the screen for 20 seconds.

1. Screen (slide with image of lettered screen on which the slides were demonstrated).

2-9. Fragments of "Dumbbells scheme" object (black and white images).

10. Headpiece "The Closed City" (b/w)

11-14. Colored slides of "The Closed City", including:

11 – a trolley bus base emblem (circles with "wings") against red background. Such insignias can be seen on trolley buses’ sides.

14 – lower left side of a trolley bus’s body with rear sidelights and fragments of numbers against red background.

Each sequence of eight slides with "Categories of the C. A." objects was followed – after a short caption frame – by four slides of "The Closed City" assembled in the same sequence as described above. Although, only two slogans – the first and the last ones – were captured in full (text of the last slogan: "WORKERS OF KRASNAYA PRESNYA! LET US IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY OF LABOUR AT EVERY WORK POSITION!"). Other six slogans were represented by vertically positioned fragments of a giant horizontal banner mounted somewhere in Krasnaya Presnya district: detached pieces of words, letters and syllables of which no sensible phrase could be assembled.

15-22. Fragments of the "Divagation" object (b/w)

23. Caption frame.

24-27. "The Closed City" (in color)

28-35. Fragments of the object "69" (b/w)

36. Caption frame.

37-40. "The Closed City" (color)

41-48. Fragments of the object “Demonstrative Field” (b/w)

49. Caption frame.

50-53. "The Closed City" (color)

54-61. Fragments of the object "Photo album" (b/w)

62. Caption frame.

63-66. "The Closed City" (color)

67-74. Fragments of the object "Object-frame": close-up photos of license plates of trucks, buses and cars (b/w)

75. Caption frame.

76-79. "The Closed City" (color)

80-88. Fragments of the object "Transport. Esthetical Overlay" (b/w)

102. Caption frame.

103-106. "The Closed City" (color)

107-113. "Upturned Vase" and fragments of other objects’ arrangement on the white cloth (b/w)

114. Monastyrski sitting behind the screen with headphones and a microphone in his hand (pictured during the "Discussion" performance while repeating the audience’s remarks).

With the appearance of the 114th slide Monastyrski finished repeating the discussion which then continued in normal verbal mode.

Note: if a second demonstration of the slide film "Fragments. The Closed City" occurs, it is to be accompanied by playing back the "Discussion" soundtrack with addition of the final 115th slide (the advertisement slide in the "Barrel": tape recorder on purple cloth on snow). This slide must appear on the screen as soon as the repetition of remarks on the soundtrack is finished.


28th of September, 1985

A. Monastyrski, G. Kizewalter, M. Eremina, I. Makarevich

I. Kabakov, S. Letov, L. Rubinstein, I. Bakstein, D. Prigov, V. Mochalova, V. Sorokin + 2 German embassy employees

Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  02 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  07 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  09
Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  14 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  18 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  21
Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  24 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  29 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  43
Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  53 Collective Actions. Discussion. Photo  63

Phonogram Csi-Csi:


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