16Beaver Group in Weimar & Leipzig


A. Counter/Cartographies.
B. 16 Things to be Done
C. 16 Simultaneous Lunches
D. 9.2    16 Conversations: Restaged: a proposal (PL)
E. 12.7    - 16 Functional Structures for Open Collectives (a coopetition)


 A. Counter/Cartographies

counter/cartographies is a project initiated in collaboration with U.K. based collective c.cred <http://www.ccred.org>.

We seek to make a map of artists, activists, collaborative frameworks, groups and collectives who work (or have worked) with different notions or ideas of resistance and social engagement, outlining the different tactics, strategies and approaches being employed as well.

 In addition to this map of groups and individuals past and present, we are also seeking to map sites of interest and resistance, places and spaces within cities where certain events have occured, where actions, demonstrations, projects, protests, strikes, interventions, discussions, and dissent have been produced or have the potential of being produced. 

1. Participate
2. Additional Remarks
3. Background of Counter-Cartography Project
4. Essay from original invitation

 1. Participate

We are  asking people to participate in two possible ways:

I. Please e-mail to cartography@16beavergroup.org a list of 16 individuals or groups past and present whose work is of interest to you and who are in some way dealing with notions or ideas of resistance and social engagement. When possible, please include contact information for or description of the group, individual or project. 

Please Include:
a. a brief or lengthy description of the group, collective or, if appropriate, individual working practice
b. their location(s)
c. any contact info and/or description 
d. the group, collective, individual who forwarded this email to you


II.  Please e-mail to cartography@16beavergroup.org a list of 16 locations/sites in your respective cities that incorporate the local political terrain or history in some way(s), along with a brief explanatory note on each location.  These sites can be ones that have retained or obviated their specific histories, pasts.  They may be sites of current or future contestation, sites for possible counter-memorials, destinations to which one would prefer to direct visitors or tourists to. 

Please Include:
a. an explanatory description of the site/location
b. when possible please include images, links to images
c. the group, collective, individual who forwarded this email to you

 2. Additional Remarks

 Hopefully, this project will be pragmatic, one which can be used as a beginning and a potentiality, a resource for some and the starting point for forming new networks for others. But it will also be a project that constantly confronts its limits; that is, the point where this email is no longer forwarded and the social, political and cartographical implications of that limit, as well as the point where the email is forwarded to such extent that its cartography encompasses too wide a difference, where the political and ethical agenda is dissolved, corrupted, or abused. we receive, and the way the email does or does not spread into wider and wider networks, will then be registered as a set of cartographies, or, better perhaps, counter-cartographies, published on the Internet. 

if you have questions, please write to cartography@16beavergroup.org <mailto:cartography@16beavergroup.org>

 3. Background of Counter-Cartography Project

Initially in February of 2003, we sent out an email asking people to reply giving us some basic information regarding their working practice and to, in their turn, forward it to other potential participants (see http://www.16beavergroup.org/vienna/cartography.htm).

Since then, we have modified this project to include not only information about particular collective or individual practices/projects, but also notes on particular sites/locations as well as groups/projects of significance from previous generations.  Furthermore, we want to emphasize that our call goes out to artists as well as historians, sociologists, critics, passers-by; and other interested parties in order to draw from as vast a pool of knowledges as possible.

 4. Essay from original invitation


Cartography: (early 19th Century), from Fr. cartographie, from Gk. khartes layer of papyrus and graphein to write, to draw.

If two come together and unite their strength, they have jointly more power, and consequently more right over nature than both of them separately, and the more there are that have so joined in alliance, the more right they will collectively possess.
(Benedictus de Spinoza)

Confronting expanding, global capitalist systems of repression within the framework of a dominant imperial-capitalist cartography – seen here as a way of understanding and producing the world in relations between territory to territory, and territory to monochrome surface; or between localities, and localities and globality – it becomes imperative for movements of political resistance and dissent to try to think through some of the most pertinent issues to do with counter/cartography, the condition and possibility of a different ‘mapping’- than the one presented to us by the global capitalist machinery, a different way of understanding and producing the world along with the social and political territorialities that are inscribed upon its surface.

However, often political resistance comes in the form and shape of something supposedly anti-global, which is an unfortunate term, since what resistance must be about, in order to avoid a regression to traditional proto-fascistic territorialities such as the local, the known, established territory, affiliation, identity, home, is to posit a different relationship between the local and the global, a relationship that displaces these difficult notions of locality against the global, and instead promotes a more productive mode of political and ethico-aesthetic experimentation: traveling, exile, lines traversing known territory and established binaries, alliances crossing traditional boundaries of various kinds. This will perhaps provide us with certain possibilities when it comes to the constitution of some kind of movement that can seek to be productively against the status quo, against the war(s), against racism, imperialism, fascism and capitalism, against apartheid and genocide, in all forms and cases rather than merely the most obvious ones; that is, it may provide us with significant possibilities for the affirmative production of other movements, counter-cartographies. This often involves two distinct, but interlinked movements: One being a movement of resistance, resisting and opposing that which is bad; the other being what one might refer to as a Utopian movement, a movement towards the affirmation and creation of alternatives to the dominant order.

We are interested in questions to do with the conditions, possibilities and indeed limits of this conception of counter-cartography. In order for any kind of cartographical production to take place, one must traverse and connect the character and specificity of a diverse range of localities and different territories, and then make alliances that traverse the field of discrepancy and difference that will without doubt present itself between these individual localities. It is easy, perhaps, to be against capitalism, to put differences and discrepancies aside in trying to oppose and resist capitalist repression and exploitation. However, in order for a movement of resistance and dissent to productively present alternatives to global capitalism, racism and fascism, alliances must be made on a transversal level that, in Spinoza’s sense above, increase our collective power and ethical right and capability not only to resist and be against repression and exploitation, but to form, shape and construct alternatives to the dominant order, and thus to really bridge discrepancies and differences between compatible and incompatible Utopias, projects, agendas, manifestoes, strategies, tactics and practices.

This current project is to be seen as somewhat a test of these conditions, possibilities and limits; an attempt towards a technology of counter/cartographies. It is an attempt towards a pragmatic project, a project that can be used as a resource, a beginning and a potentiality. But it is also a project that constantly confronts its limits; that is, the point where this email is no longer forwarded and the social, political and cartographical implications of that limit, as well as the point where the email is forwarded to such extent that the cartography encompasses too wide a difference, where the political and ethical agenda is dissolved, corrupted, or abused. What we set out to do is to try the capability of a group of people - such as ourselves in our collective enterprise - to use very basic communication technology in order to create a wider network of alliances and so to construct a different cartography, a kind of counter-cartography, by connecting different locations, agendas, manifestoes and Utopias - these micro-maps functioning at the level of locality - and plugging them into this larger counter-cartography. By doing this we seek to engage with the way in which this email spreads and connects into networks that function both as a possibility and a limit to alliance as an ethico-political figure. Furthermore, we are interested in how this network bridges discrepancies and differences between people, collectives, organizations and groups active in different locations and with different agendas and manifestoes; how it creates a different – possibly Utopian – graphic or map of affirmations that exceed the level of locality and similarity, to incorporate a sense of difference into its very terrain. However, we are also interested in the more affirmative, future dimension of this project; how this counter-cartography can, if successful, provide a reference of contacts creating possibilities for new alliances and networks, future counter-cartographies, outside of the immediate framework of this project ...

B. 16 Things to be Done

16 Things to be Done works with the current archive of the What is to be Done? project by Susan Kelly and Stephen Morton which was presented in the Spring of 2003 at the Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland. What is to be Done? is an ongoing archive of responses to Lenin’s original question, re-posed 100 years after Lenin’s original book. It continues on the Lenin Museum web-site and will travel and accumulate at the Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale in Siberia (September 2003), and other future locations to be confirmed.

A selection of 16 archived responses from Susan Kelly and Stephen Morton’s project  "What is to be Done?" will be sent out as a series of four bi-weekly blocks, four responses each and starting the last week of July - through the 16Beaver Journalisms e-mail list in New York. The responses will be also be available in print during the exhibitions "Get Rid of Yourself" at ACC Gallery, Weimar/Leipzig (July-October, 2003) and "24/7" at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania (September-October, 2003). In addition response cards will be left in each space for further answers, thoughts and ideas to be added to the archive.

Please e-mail your response in not more than 300 words to

 Further Information on
What is to be Done? Questions for the 21st Century

If people still would like to send in contributions to What is to be Done? or are curious to learn how the project here is a description and the structure of the original invitation:
See also: http://www.sci.fi/~lenin/questions.htm

What is to be Done? a collaborative project by Susan Kelly and Stephen Morton began at the Lenin Museum in Finland in Spring 2003. This project is an on-going rolling archive of responses to the Lenin’s original question, re-posed 100 years after the publication of the original book. December 2001 seemed like an important time to ask and initiate this somewhat large and rhetorical question, to gather ideas about new forms of resistance to globalisation and Empire. Together we conducted historical research into Lenin, his connection with Finland and his ideas about anti-imperialism and how his thinking has been taken up again by Hardt and Negri and Slavoj Zizek among others. Some statements and ideas were put together and sent out to local and national Finnish organisations, unions, artists, politicians and activists. We also contacted many other communities through the internet, friends and colleagues, reading groups, philosophers, politicians, family, Fuse magazine in Canada and several other sources.

Many more responses were contributed during the exhibition at the Lenin Museum itself and have been added to the archive. This archive in itself maps a network of friendship of sorts, and the issues raised and manifestoes contained within it offer many important and inspiring ideas.

During the exhibition Florian Schneider´s documentary “What is to be Done? A World to Invent” was screened continuously and a special screening of Oliver Ressler´s “Disobedientti” took place along side a discussion/workshop with local artists, activists, researchers and historians. So far, the exhibition in Finland has featured on national radio and in about 20 newspaper articles and interviews. It will also be included in a Danish documentary in 2004 (to be confirmed) and will continue on-line and travel to 5th Krasnoyarsk Biennale in Siberia in September 2003. A book of responses in also currently under production.

 The Original Invitation:

We are writing to invite you to participate in a forthcoming exhibition at the Lenin Museum in Tampere, Finland. 'What is to be Done? Questions for the 21st Century' appeals for your response to Lenin’s original question "what is to be done?" posed in 1902. Your response, along with those of others drawn from a local, national and international public, will be documented, archived and displayed in the exhibition.

Lenin's ideas about revolutionary change, the relationship between local movements and universal social struggles, as well as his predictions about late capitalism and imperialism seem surprisingly relevant today. What is to be Done? Questions for the 21st Century encourages you to write down any thoughts you might have about possible social change today. Your response can be something short, a slogan, an idea or a reference to a specific situation you feel is important. Under late capitalism’s all encompassing reach, it is our very freedom to think that is being eroded. In the spirit of Lenin’s thought, we repeat the question “what is to be done?” as a sincere appeal for your ideas and thoughts on our future.

The Lenin museum opened in January 1946 in the Tampere Workers' Hall where Lenin had pledged to further the cause of Finnish independence. In the same building, Lenin and Stalin met for the first time in 1905. The museum preserves, exhibits and researches the objects, documents and symbols of the Soviet era and has developed into a widely acclaimed institute of culture and research. The downfall of the Soviet Union has left the museum the last regularly operating museum of its kind in the whole world.

Below there is a series of short statements and questions that we now ask you to respond to. We request that you e-mail your response, which we will then transfer to a time card format for the exhibition. All responses will be gathered together, translated in Finnish and Russian, documented and presented as an archive at the Lenin Museum in February 2003. With your permission, multiple copies of your response will be made so that visitors to the museum can take some ideas away. A selected number of responses will also be reproduced in a book publication later on in 2003/04. Please indicate in your e-mail if you are willing to let us reproduce your text.

This question is asked of individuals and groups in Tampere and broader national and international constituencies in Finland, Russia, the US and elsewhere. We would like to  harness the energies of those who think about change today and put them into dialogue in this important public space.

Thank you for your time and participation!

Yours sincerely,
Susan Kelly and Stephen Morton

 The Questions:

What is to be done? Questions for the 21st Century

Lenin's description of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism now seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. After the collapse of the Soviet bloc the total spread of unregulated global capitalism is seen as inevitable. With this spread, a third of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day and the poorest countries in the world owe a $422 billion debt that can never be paid. Yet, events in Seattle, Genoa and  elsewhere show that global capitalism can be resisted. Do you think that Lenins ideas are of any use today? What are the burning social and political questions of our time?


When Lenin wrote What is to be Done? in 1902, he mainly wanted to distinguish between radical revolutionary politics and the reformists who just wanted to patch things up. Lenin was intolerant of questions that failed to really challenge the dominant political order. How can we provoke significant change today and do you think any real shift can really happen under our present system?


The Lenin Museum in Tampere is the site of Lenin and Stalin's first meeting. Lenin's ideas are often seen as leading inevitably to Stalinism and the terror of the Soviet Empire. This has been called the Leninist Tragedy. At the scene of their meeting, is it possible to rescue some of Lenin's ideas from this fate? How can we prevent social change from turning into a situation where the same structures of power are re-established with different players at the top?


In Tampere, 1906 Lenin made a pledge to honour the Finnish right to self-determination after the Bolshevik Revolution. Lenin believed that Marx's revolutionary ideas had to be adapted to the local and national conditions of workers rather than being imposed from above. In Lenins time, this mobilisation of worker's movements was the most effective way of achieving international solidarity. The phrase 'workers of the world unite' may now seem like an impossible ideal since late capitalism has crushed union power and pitted the workers of the world against one another. Despite this gloomy picture, from where you stand right now, what are the possibilities for social change today?


In short, what is to be done?

Please e-mail your response in not more than 300 words to
whatistobedone@excite.com or mail to: What is to be Done? The Lenin Museum
Hameenpuisto 28, FIN-33200 Tampere, FINLAND


C. 16 Simultaneous Lunches

In conjunction with the exhibitions we will be coordinating simultaneous discussions pertaining to the responses over meals in 16 different cities.  A simultaneous meal and discussion about "16 Things to be Done" will conclude the series on the last Friday of September in several cities.

For more information please visit:


Interested in finding out more, please write to peterlasch@16beavergroup.org.


D. 9.2    16 Conversations: Restaged: a proposal (PL)

This project revisits past conversations related to art and politics through various forms of "restaging" on different kinds of platforms.

16 Beaver Group, New York (ongoing)
Get rid of yourself. ACC Gallery, Weimar/Leipzig, Germany. July-October,2003.
24/7. Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania. September-October, 2003.

9.2.1    Excerpts from “Democracy Project.” by Group Material
9.2.2    Excerpts from “If you Live Here.” by Martha Rosler
9.2.3    Excerpts from movies displaying very silly accents (restaged as answering machine messages in New York, Leipzig, Ljubliana)



9.2.6    Excerpts from tapes produced by groups on official U.S. terrorist list (restaged as answering machine messages in New York, Leipzig, Ljubljana)



9.2.9    Restage discussion around work/work with a group of colleagues (RG/PS)








D. 12.7    - 16 Functional Structures for Open Collectives

After several years of producing a large variety of social projects, the collective 16 Beaver Group is now facing a problem of aesthetics and function: we have not found the appropriate furniture for our space in the Financial District.

The project resulting from this situation loosely follows the format of a design “coopetition.” The first stage will establish an initial group of participants, whose work will be shown online and at the exhibition “Get rid of yourself” ACC Gallery, Weimar/Leipzig, Germany. July-August, 2003. The second stage will consist of the elaboration of some basic designs by these participants. The individually or collaboratively proposed designs will be presented, discussed, and finally built in sets of two, one for our space in New York, and one for our temporary mirror site in “24/7” at the Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania (September-October, 2003).

Although the form of the design is entirely open, some of the basic functions will be:
as transportable table, or support for panel presentations, discussions, etc.
as transportable table, or support for eating (between 8 and 30 people capacity)
as transportable table, or support for easy-to-carry street-stand
as transportable table, or support for image projection, sound equipment, computers, etc.
as transportable display case for small souvenir shop
as structure for transportable information booth
we encourage the use of accessible (cheap) materials, but in no way would like to limit ideas in the proposal stage.

If you have any questions regarding this project, or would like to participate, please contact: peterlasch@16beavergroup.org

The current participants are:
Ayreen Anastas
Peter Lasch
Rene Gabri
Geoff Garrison
Heimo Lattner? (link: who in Germany)
Janna Graham (link: who in Canada?)
Florian Schneider?
Michael Rakowitz
Chico MacMurtrie
Montana Cherney
Garrett Richiardi


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