States of Control: Who is in Control?

  • Tali Keren, The Great Seal, 2017. Interactive Installation/performance
    1/3 | Tali Keren, The Great Seal, 2017. Interactive Installation/performance
  • One of the iconic frames taken during the Gezi Park Resistance in Istanbul in 2013. Some of the slogans written on the banners on the building, Ataturk Cultural Center, are as follows: "The university is standing, "Tayyip resign." "Shut up, Tayyip." "Unions to duty, general strike" and “Do not obey.”
    2/3 | One of the iconic frames taken during the Gezi Park Resistance in Istanbul in 2013. Some of the slogans written on the banners on the building, Ataturk Cultural Center, are as follows: "The university is standing, "Tayyip resign." "Shut up, Tayyip." "Unions to duty, general strike" and “Do not obey.”
  • Cirque d’ Vote, 2020
    3/3 | Cirque d’ Vote, 2020
03.11.2020 - 20:00
Related project: 


Online debate about the future of choice and fair elections

November 3, 2020
12.00 - 14.00 (Minneapolis) / 18.00 - 20.00 (London) / 19.00 - 21.00 (Berlin) / 21.00 - 23.00 (Moscow)

Curated by Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits)

in partnership with the Weisman Art Museum (WAM)University of Minnesota

Participation via Zoom is FREE,  REGISTER HERE  to participate in the Q&A.  



Participants: Ayşe Çavdar, journalist, writer (Turkey), Paul DeMain, journalist, activist (citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and of Ojibwe descent), Stephen Duncombe, media researcher and activist (USA), Idris Goodwin, writer, playwright (USA), Tali Keren, artist (Israel/USA) and Greg Yudin, sociologist (Russia)

Moderators: Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits, TOK Curators

Recent political events left no illusions: neither can we continue living our everyday lives separately from our political lives and political choices, nor can we retreat to the safe haven of private life and cyberspace. Acceleration of the global crisis during COVID-19 has demonstrated the necessity in urgent reconfiguration of political and social structures worldwide. It has become clear that we must know our rights better and make our political choices wiser in order to resist corrupt mechanisms of power and corporate structures embedded in the systems of medical care, education, labor, surveillance, housing, environmental policy and other fundamental institutions that influence our present and the right to shape our future.

On the final US Election Day, November 3, 2020 the world audiences are invited to join an online discussion with participation of experts from diverse spheres and backgrounds to revisit the notion of elections as a platform for representation of people's political will and views, both in historical and imaginary perspectives. While observing the pending results of the US elections live invited experts will talk about alternatives to the current state of affairs of voting procedures on the global scale. The discussion will reflect upon the topics of manipulation and suppression of voters and election procedures, which is highly relevant for the US social and political environment as for other societies that recently went through elections: Russia, Belarus, Israel, etc.

There are many ways to influence the processes or the results of elections - from technological manipulation of voters’ opinions and behavior to faking the numbers and to eliminating candidates that can potentially shake the position of current leaders. In this context of technological and corporate interference and lack of access to elections for candidates, who could represent interests of various communities and the very idea of alteration of power, the future of fair elections as one of the pillars of democratic society is in danger. Therefore, during the event we will look at causes of the destruction of the institution of political competition,  study accessibility and rights to vote for isolated rural and urban communities and  search for an answer to the question “What is the proper place of elections in contemporary democracies?”. At the event, we'll present creative and educational initiatives that help to increase voter engagement and learn from the younger generation what is possible.

By placing the election discourse into the art domain, we will practice our collective imagination and will test and discuss a variety of channels and strategies to challenge current political structures and reimagine political processes that lead to failure of democracy and increase of control. The project will attempt to rewind the developing process of political crises and find alternatives to current political populism that has become ‘a normal’ condition for many geographies.

Being a part of TOK’s ongoing project “States of Control” the online event “Who is in Contro?” contributes to the discursive and multidisciplinary series of events about contested political history, changing media strategies, governmental control and the impact of political and communication technologies on social progress and reproduction. "States of Control" was initiated in 2015 as a response to growing political polarisation between the East and the West during escalating Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Since then the project has been materialized in exhibitionsresidencies, series of public events, kitchen talks, commissioned play scripts and performances. Since then it has been landed on different geopolitical and urban contexts in New York CityHelsinki and Minneapolis.  

Thе event is organized and produced by the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota. It is a part of the Election Day Program of the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration.