Manege Central Exhibition Hall announces its launch of NEW NOW, an international online platform for the exchange of ideas about and interpretations of reality and for research on the present moment. NEW NOW is a forum for dialogue, generating new meanings, and rethinking our relationship with ourselves in a changing world. The programme is a response to the most vivid ideological transformations and challenges of modernity and an aid in the creation of our common future.
Today, cultural institutions undertake the key role of working with the public’s perception of their surrounding reality and culture. NEW NOW, initiated by St. Petersburg’s Manege, will showcase the cultural context of modernity, with an emphasis on its contradictions, to a worldwide audience.
The NEW NOW 2021/22 program includes eight thematic modules. Each module contains a moderated discussion that will be accessible via online video streaming. The modules will also contain a list of additional materials selected by the program creator and the speakers themselves for a full, self-led immersion into each of the themes.
Among the themes for the 2021-2022 season are: corporeality and problems of identity, reality and post-truth, technology and the limits of freedom, the environmental situation and neo-mythologism, and transhumanism and mental health.
The first discussion "Neomythologies and the Disintegration of Reality" took place on September 18 at 8 p.m. (UTC +3).
- Federico Campagna – philosopher and writer. He spent over twenty years in Milan, where he was active in the anarchist/autonomist networks and co-founded the street-poetry collective Eveline. In 2007 he moved to London, where he lives. In 2009 he started a long-term collaboration with the Italian Autonomia philosopher Franco Berardi ’Bifo’. In that same year, he co-founded the (now defunct) multilingual platform for critical theory Through Europe.
His most recent books are Prophetic Culture (Bloomsbury, 2021), Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality (Bloomsbury, 2018), and The Last Night (Zero Books, 2013). He works as a lecturer in philosophy KABK in The Hague and as rights director at Verso Books;
- Reza Negarestani – philosopher and writer. Since the early 2000s, he has contributed extensively to journals and anthologies and lectured at numerous international universities and institutes. Negarestani’s writings have been translated into more than twelve languages, including Russian. His latest philosophical work, Intelligence and Spirit (Urbanomic/Sequence Press/MIT, 2018), is an inquiry into the meaning of intelligence at the intersection of artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, theory of computation, and the philosophy of German Idealism. Negarestani’s most recent project focuses on worldmaking and the question of what it means to inhabit a world as what Wittgenstein would have called a lifeform.
- Sarah Shin – publisher, editor, writer and curator. She is also among the co-founders of Silver Press, a feminist publisher, and Ignota Books, an experimental platform exploring technology, myth-making and magic. She is the founder of New Suns, a curation and storytelling project, which began as a literary festival at the Barbican Centre and includes projects at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Somerset House Studios in London.
The discussion was moderated by Alexander Vileykis, philosopher, social science researcher, employee of Tyumen State University, guest expert at Synopsis.group, curator of the "Education" panel of the All-Russian Civic Forum.
“New worlds require new cosmogonies. New cosmogonies, as narrative artefacts, require new mythopoetic creations to emerge. At a time when the old world appears to be dying, and the new one is still struggling to be born, the creation of mythical narratives that might be capable of crossing the boundaries between worlds takes on a crucial importance”.
As Max Weber pointed out (Science as a Vocation, 1917), the Industrial Revolution’s purpose was to disenchant the world. Mythological thinking was doomed in the reality of steam engines, factories, and looms. Technocratic European rationality seemed to have triumphed – the world had changed, and old-fashioned narratives had become historical artifacts. And yet, mythology has not disappeared. It has only changed its appearance, becoming one of the most important cultural forms of the 20th century. As stated by Ernst Cassirer in The Technique of Modern Political Myths, 1946, the modern myth is created through the intertwinement of traditional mythological elements with technology and government authority. Modernity has formed a new cosmogony, inwhich our everyday lives exist.
The NEW NOW programme began with a discussion on what contemporary mythmaking is and whether mythological thinking can resist the disintegration of reality on a global scale and on the level of day-to-day actions. How can radical mythology help us adapt to climate change, decrease inequality, and promote a feminist agenda? And what cultural “traces” will we leave behind for the generations to come?
You can find the recording of the discussion on our YouTube channel.
Creator of the programme: Anna Kirikova (Manege)
The event is part of the international UK – Russia Creative Bridge programme 2021-2022 supported by the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Moscow.
Partner for Manege’s educational programme – The Mikhail Bazhenov Foundation.