Specters of Communism - Program

On the occasion of the centenary of the October Revolution in Russia and nearly one hundred years after Kurt Eisner declared Bavaria a Free State and a socialist republic at the Mathäser-Bräu in Munich, Haus der Kunst will convene Specters of Communism: A Festival on the Revolutionary Century. This festival will trace the multifaceted, partly contrary and partly astonishingly parallel manifestations of global communism.

Conceived as a sequence of live events, the festival will bring together participants from across the fields of art, philosophy, political theory, theatre, performance, art history, film studies, and music in order to unfold the historical legacies of communism as a major feature of 20th and 21st century artistic, intellectual and political thought.


Organized across five chapters:

Unless otherwise indicated, all events take place at Haus der Kunst

Thursday, 16.11

Welcome by Okwui Enwezor, Director Haus der Kunst

Project Outline
Specters und "100 Jahre Gegenwart"
Bernd M. Scherer, Intendant Haus der Kulturen der Welt

Keynote Lecture
"Imagining "Soviet" for the 21st Century?"
Zhiyuan Cui

Friday, 17 November, 2017

Scenes for a Revolution
Session Introduction by Kerstin Stakemeier    

Scenes for a Revolution
Panel “Subjects of Revolutionary Film - Staging a Recess”

  • Anke Hennig “A Reading from Salt and Sugar:  Cinema’s Contribution to Comparative Revolutionary Studies”
  • Claudia von Alemann “On Questions Pertaining to the Historical and Contemporary Significance of Revolutionary Practices within the Field of Visual Arts and Film“
  • Sean Bonney “The Chorus Is On Fire”

Moderated by Kerstin Stakemeier

Lunch Time

The Adventures of Will and Intelligence
Session Introduction by Raqs Media Collective

Performance Series "There are sub-titles, inter-titles and end-titles"
Lantian Xie "Speech acts for two screenings"
Meena Kandasamy "We Will Fight/ We Will Win"


Performance Series "There are sub-titles, inter-titles and end-titles"
Jay Pather "Repetitive Re-enactments of Fright, Sleep and Wakefulness in South Africa"


Scenes for a Revolution Film Screening
"Es kommt drauf an, sie zu verändern", 1973, Director: Claudia von Alemann, 60 min, German with English Subtitles


Scenes for a Revolution
Panel “The Transformation of the Self – Art as Alternative Metabolism”

Moderated by Kerstin Stakemeier

Saturday, 18 November, 2017

The Adventures of Will and Intelligence  
Day–long Performance "Caste-pital”
Sajan Mani                        

Form, Mastery and Aural Disintegration
Session Introduction by Benjamin Piekut

Panel "Revolution’s Decay: Sound in Motion"

Moderated by Benjamin Piekut

Lunch Time

Form, Mastery and Aural Disintegration Panel "Music’s Resistance: Revolution in Daily Life"
Benjamin Piekut “Echoes of October, Echoes of May: Listening for Another Future in 1970s London”
Fumi Okiji “’Black and blur’: Adorno and the Radicalism of Jazz Syncopation”


Form, Mastery and Aural Disintegration Artist Talk "Black Celebrations: Sounds and Vision" Anthony G. Cokes

The Adventures of Will and Intelligence
Introduction by Raqs Media Collective
Performance Series "Hypotheses and Loving Contradictions"
Qingmei Yao "Sanzu Ding and its Patterns: Hypotheses on the Origin of the hammer-sickle sign"
Adrian Rifkin "Inventing Regret, Living with October, Loving Contradiction"

Sunday, 19 November, 2017
After all the Failures. Reinventing an Emancipatory Future
Session Introduction by Michael Hirsch
Panel "Emancipatory Social Transformation, Commons and Care"

  • Ulrich Brand „Emanzipation in Zeiten der sozial-ökologischen Krise“
  • Detlef Hartmann „Politische Technologie, Ökonomie und soziale Revolution“
  • Friederike Habermann „Commonistische & feministische Gespenster im revolutionären Jahrhundert: Commons & Care“

Moderated by Michael Hirsch
In German with simultaneous English translation 

Lunch Time

Tableaux Vivants Performed Readings „„Gegen wen geht’s denn eigentlich?", 100 Jahre Räterepubliken in München“ Mit Texten von Oskar Maria Graf, Ernst Toller u.a.
Presented by Nils Kahnwald (Münchner Kammerspiele), Zeynep Bozbay (Münchner Kammerspiele), and Michaela Steiger Dramaturge: Katinka Deecke


After all the Failures. Reinventing an Emancipatory Future
Panel "Property, Economic Democracy, and Communism"

  • David Ellerman “Neo-Abolitionism: Towards Abolishing the Institution of Renting Persons”
  • Raul Zelik “Rethinking Communism – … after Communism”

Moderated by Michael Hirsch

Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Location: Münchner Kammerspiele, Kammer 1 + 3

16.00 - 23.00
Tableaux Vivants Interactive Installation "Reading Table"
Raqs Media Collective   

20 Uhr Die Paradise Papers – In der Schattenwelt globaler Geldströme
Podiumsdiskussion mit: Wolfgang Krach (SZ), Nicolas Richter (SZ), Vanessa Wormer (SZ)    

Unless otherwise indicated, all sessions will be held in English.

Specters of Communism – A Festival on the Revolutionary Century is conceived and organized by Haus der Kunst in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, as part of the HKW long-term project “100 Years of Now”, which is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media by resolution of the German Bundestag.

The project in Munich is produced in collaboration with the Münchner Kammerspiele.

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