Learning films and learning communities. Pedagogies of conviviality in Chto Delat’s film, in resonance with Zapatismo

Talk and discussion

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Olga Tzaplya Egorova, Nikolay Oleynikov, and Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat-Russia) in conversation with Alessandra Pomarico, Grounding ~ Seeding exhibition co-curator.

26 May 2022, 7 – 8:30 pm

Live-streamed from’s space and on’s FB page.

Ever since their visits to Chiapas and their film The New Dead End #17: Summer School of Slow Orientation in Zapatismo, Chto Delat has engaged in artistic research in resonance with the vision, methods and ways of living of this insurgent community, as a way to self-reflect on their own politics, poetics and pedagogies. For Chto Delat, Zapatismo is an example to return to, and a place to learn from and with.

In this session, the group will talk about how Zapatismo brought hope regarding forms of resistance, generative and communal spaces, real democracy, and art devoted to social and ecological justice, reinforcing our political imaginary despite the failures of leftist social movements. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its unbearable atrocities and its dramatic economic and geopolitical consequences make the questions raised in this film more relevant, if not impossible: what can we learn from Zapatismo in moments of despair, hopelessness and catastrophe?

Film synopsis

The New Dead End #17: Summer School of Slow Orientation in Zapatismo, 2017.

Watch the movie on vimeo.
Slovak subtitled version available in

In their famous Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, the Zapatistas shared the dream of a Zapatista Embassy ready to settle around the world to connect struggles against neoliberalism. Chto Delat’s learning film emerged from the anticipation of such ambassadors. To prepare for their visit, a group is invited to reflect on Zapatista ideas and to engage in communal living. The film reflects the process of being together, in resonance with the Zapatista way of life, during an intensive summer school in a dacha outside of St Petersburg. How non-Indigenous people from Russia with their political burdens could practice Zapatista principles and possibly change their own lives and society - became the central question in their ‘film as a process’.

Chto Delat, an artistic collective founded in 2003, merges political theory, art, and activism. In 2013, Chto Delat initiated The School of Engaged Art in St. Petersburg, and the autonomous space Rosa House of Culture. Their artistic practice manifests through a range of media including films, theater plays, radio programs, murals, conferences, workshops, public campaigns and community building. Core members include Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist, film director), Nina Gasteva (dance-artist), Artiom Magun (philosopher), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist), Alexey Penzin (philosopher), Natalia Pershina / Glucklya (artist), Alexander Skidan (poet and critic), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher), Dmitry Vilensky (artist).

ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit. Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.

Grounding ~ Seeding