Phantom Office

A ghostly exhibition-performance
Vzletnaya techno club,  July 27 — 29, 2018, Almaty.
Created by Kreolex zentre. Supported by Vzletnaya techno club.

‘Phantom Office’ is Kreolex zentre’s working place intended for cultural exchange with the spectral, otherworldly and non-existent. Oscillating between real and unreal, ‘Phantom Office’ connects ruptures between what is and what is not. The exhibition lasted for three days during which the two zentre’s employees (Maria Vilkovisky and Ruthie Jenrbekova) were present in their office.

‘Phantom Office’ is a total installation made of dim lights, art objects and improvised materials, inside which there are two desks where Maria and Ruthie are meeting visitors – in the framework of their continuous talking performances called ‘Information Desk’ and ‘Feminine Consulting’. In Almaty the Phantom Office appeared inside the dark space of the cult techno club called Vzletnaya, occupying its main dancefloor for the last July weekend from Friday 27.07 till Sunday 29.07.2018. The emerging Kazakhstani techno scene with its under-recognized underground nightlife is very similar to the obscure self-organized artistic practices that interest Krëlex zentre the most. This is why an interfering into a nightclub and occupying it’s dark dancing space was the best option for the Phantom Office to temporally come into life.

The second appearance of the Phantom Office took place in Yerevan, Armenia on September 9, 2018. It was also initially planned to be held in a nightclub, but eventually happened in the garden of the Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and lasted for only last five hours in Sunday evening. After that the Phantom Office made appearance online — in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.

Phantom Office Statement

For anything to be real in full sense a public recognition is required. In other words, reality is always institutionalized, while everything that lives beyond the boundaries of socially approved spheres is considered invalid: imaginary, fictitious, non-existent. The access to the real is not granted for everyone. The ghosts expelled from the world by the spotlights of Power-knowledge, Colonialism and Capital still continue to appear at dusk, reminding that the non-existent still somehow exists in its own strange ways, and sometimes it has the ability to act in a reality whose legitimacy is confirmed by social institutions. Everything marked as abnormal or undesirable, inferior or superfluous — all that is subject to abjection, denial or repression — continues, nevertheless, to seek opportunities for communication (“sometimes it returns”). As an imaginary institution, Krëlex zentre explores conditions of social exclusion that are producing ghostly creatures, and reflects on practices of silencing which produce phantoms.