Chto Delat is a Russian-based arts-activism collective – formed in 2003 – which aims to promote the political capacity of art via open dialogue with the public through dance, theater, mural painting, installation, discussion and text. The group’s inaugural action entitled The Refoundation of Petersburg was held in May 2003. Following this, it began publishing an international newspaper called Chto Delat?. The name of the publication and the group derives from a novel by the Russian 19th century writer Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and later Lenin’s 1902 publication of the same title.
In cooperation with Artists at Risk (AR) – a residency programme for at risk artists, curated by Perpetuum Mobile (PM) – Chto Delat shot the film It Has Not Happened to Us Yet. Safe Haven (2016), Directed by Tsaplya Olga Egorova, the film envisages an imaginary situation in which five people arrive at a safe haven seeking shelter on a remote island. The residents share stories with the local inhabitants who reciprocate, explaining local rules and customs. However, as time unfolds it becomes apparent that the artists are not comfortable with leaving behind their own world for the perceived tranquility of island life and they all eventually move on.
The text accompanying the film states: “We are not yet in need of assistance in the form of a Safe Haven. Regardless of continually growing censorship and repression of any kind of critical statement, we can produce art with minimal risk to life and freedom. But what will happen if we do have need of a Safe Haven? Or rather, what will happen when we need one? What will happen if at some point we find ourselves hiding from danger in a residence on one of the small Norwegian islands?”
The activities of Chto Delat are coordinated by a core group including the following members:
Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist, St. Petersburg), Artiom Magun (philosopher, St. Petersburg), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist, Moscow), Natalia Pershina/Glucklya (artist, St. Petersburg), Alexei Penzin (philosopher, Moscow), David Riff (art critic, Moscow), Alexander Skidan (poet, critic, St. Petersburg), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher, Moscow), and Dmitry Vilensky (artist, St. Petersburg).
It Has Not Happened to Us Yet. Safe Haven was produced and shot on location during a PM-LKV Collective Residency at Sula Artist in Residence, Norway 2016, curated by Ivor Stodolsky and Marita Muukkonen of Perpetuum Mobile (PM). It was Co Produced by Perpetuum Mobile (PM) as part of its Artists at Risk (AR) residency programme, LKV Lademoen and Chto Delat.