Practical Programme
Apr Apr 2019
sur candidature
Les Brigittines

Russian collective Chto Delat leads a workshop on the place of emotions in our contemporary languages. Emojis and gifs included.

Chto Delat / When emotions become form

Performative laboratorium and a learning play with the Collective Chto Delat

It looks like we’re living in a time of emotional upheaval; we trust our reason less and less and rely ever more on our feelings.
What is truth and what is not no longer depends on reasoning, but rather on the overwhelming emotional impact on our dialogue partners.

This could be considered as a new psychological basis for the so-called populist politics and the ensuing collapse of democratic forms, which were always based on citizens’ conscious decisions. We now see how this fundamental idea is vanishing through growing manipulation of our collective feelings. We can also consider such upheavals as a legitimate aftermath of the long-running critique of reason that has been interpreted as something repressive, totalitarian, and patriarchic. Emotions (embodied in body language, for instance) are not considered appropriate in serious debate and somehow compared with a language used by subalterns and the oppressed; this current move toward emotions could also be considered as a liberation. 

We can also witness this upheaval in the emergence of the culture of emoji and gif-animations in our everyday interactions. These ideograms are routinely used in social networks and personal online communications. There are various genres of emoji: facial expressions, common objects, locations, types of weather, animals, and many others forms.


Chto Delat gathered 12 artists from different disciplines to work on these topics during 6 days at Les Brigittines (Brussels).

In this workshop, the group discussed and enacted these phenomena in relation to different concrete events in our public and private lives as chosen by participants. At the end of the workshop the group made a presentation of its collective lexicon and demonstrated its use, based upon the collective interactions during the workshop.

This public presentation took place on Saturday 27th April 2019 at 19:00 at Les Brigittines.

Chto Delat

The collective Chto Delat (What is to be done?) was founded in early 2003 in St. Petersburg by a group of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers.
Their goal is to merge political theory, art, and activism.
Chto Delat acts as a community that organises various cultural activities. It intends to politize "knowledge production" by redefining the concepts of autonomy and engagement in artistic practice today.
In 2013, Chto Delat initiated an educational platform - School of Engaged Art in Petersburg -, and also runs a space called Rosa’s House of Culture. From its inception, the collective has been publishing an English-Russian newspaper focused on the politicization of Russian cultural situation, in dialogue with the international context.


The Cifas asks contemporary artists to illustrate its communication. Lukas Verstraete illustrated the workshop led by Chto Delat.

Lukas Verstraete (1992, Belgium) studied fine arts and graduated as an illustrator from Sint Lucas Ghent (LUCA). IN 2013 he recieved the prize for best scenario at the Fumetto Festival in Luzern for his first comic, Tupu. In 2017 he released his first graphic novel, Een Boek Waarmee Men Vrienden Maakt (A Book to Make Friends With) published by Bries. Lukas makes illustrations for newspapers and magazines, such as Humo, De Morgen, Rekto:Verso and Le Monde Diplomatique.