Phantom Office

A ghostly exhibition-performance
Vzletnaya, techno club. 07/27 – 07/29/2018
Krëlex zentre is an imaginary para-institution of arts. One of its goals concerns cultural exchange between people and the spectral, otherworldly and non-existent. Oscillating between real and unreal, krëlex zentre occupies ruptures and discontinuities between what is and what is not. Once in a while, usually for a short period of time, krëlex zentre’ office opens its doors into the so called reality. During these periods anyone can come and meet the two permanent employees of this ghostly institution – Maria Vilkovisky and Ruthie Jenrbekova.
Phantom Office is a total installation made of 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 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 Armenia in September. This event was also 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 of Sunday 09.09.2018.
For anything to be real in full sense, official and 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 that are creating phantoms.