A Statement from AWU (Autonomous Workers’ Union) on the Situation in Kiev

We just finished translating a statement from some our friends’ and comrades in Kiev, released by the Autonomous Workers’ Union.  The text in full:

Avtonomia_ACT_KievStatement about the situation in Ukraine from AWU (Autonomous Workers Union).

Civil war began in Ukraine yesterday.  A less than peaceful demonstration clashed with state defense forces and divisions formed by the adherents of the current government near the Vekhovna Rada (Parliament).  On February 18, police, together with the paramilitaries, arranged a bloodbath in the governmental quarters during which numerous demonstrators were killed.  Butchers from the special divisions finished off arrestees.  Deputies of the ruling Party of Regions and their bourgeois lackeys from the “Communist” Party of Ukraine fled from the Parliament through an underground tunnel.  The vote for constitutional amendments, intended to limit presidential power, did not take place after all.  After their defeat in the governmental quarters, demonstrators retreated to the Maidan.  At 6 P.M., the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internal Security Bureau (SBU) declared an ultimatum to the protesters, demanding their dispersal.  At 8:00 P.M., special police forces and paramilitaries, equipped with water cannons and armored vehicles, began their raid on the barricades.  Police, the special divisions of SBU, as well as pro-governmental troopers made use of their firearms.  However, the protesters managed to burn down one of the armored police vehicles, and it turned out that governmental forces were not the only ones in possession of guns.  According to the data released by the police (on February, 19, 4 p.m.), 24 people were killed: 14 protesters and 10 policemen.  Thirty-one policemen received gunshot wounds.  Even if their estimate of losses on the side of the police is accurate, the number of victims among the protesters was definitely diminished.  Maidan’s medics cite at least 30 killed.

One gets an impression that President Yanukovich was certain that by morning the resistance would be crushed, and so arranged for the Opposition leaders to meet with him at 11 A.M. on February, 19.  As the negotiations did not take place, we can conclude that the government’s plan had failed.  During the unsuccessful operation to clear off the Maidan, the citizens of several western regions occupied administrative buildings and chased away the police.  At the moment the police, as an institution, do not exist in L’viv.  According to the SBU, protesters have captured 1500 firearms.  In less than 24 hours, the central government lost control over a section of the country.  Right now, the only solution may be the stepping down of the President, however, that would mean that he, his family, and their multiple acolytes and dependents, which form a rather large group in the ruling government, would lose their source of profit.  It is likely that they will not accept this.

In the event of Yanukovich’s victory, he will become a ruler for life, and the rest will be doomed to a life in which they face poverty, corruption, and the abolition of their rights and freedoms.  Rebellious regions are now experiencing massive restorations of “the constitutional order.”  It is not improbable that the suppression of such “terroristic groups” in Galicia will have the character of ethnic cleansing.  Mad Orthodox radicals from the Party of Regions have, for a long time, seen the conservative Greco-Catholics as the aids of “Eurosodom.”  Such an “antiterrorist” operation would be carried out with the assistance of the army, as the Minister of Defense, Lebedev, has already announced.

Today, Ukraine experiences a tragedy, but the real horror will start when the government breaks down the opposition and “stabilizes” the situation.  Signs of the preparation of a mass-cleansing operation became noticeable as far back as early February, when criminal cases were opened against the Maidan self-defense divisions as illegal military formations.  According to Article 260 of the Criminal Codex, members of such divisions may face imprisonment for 2 to 15 years.  This means that the government was planning to put more than 10 thousand citizens behind bars.  In the regions, as well as in the capital, special “death divisions” are acting as a supplement to the usual police forces.  For example, responsibility for burning alive a Maidan activist from Zaporozhye was claimed by such a “death division,” calling itself “Sebastopol Ghosts.”  They announced that they are ready to subject Maidan participants in the East to similar treatment.

In the event of the Opposition’s victory life would be far from perfect as well.  Although fascists form the minority of the protesters, they are quite active and are not the sharpest tools in the shed.  A few days of truce in mid-February lead to conflicts between the rightist groups, resulting in several pointless and violent confrontations, as well as attacks on ideological ‘heretics.’  Besides the fascists, old and experienced Oppositionists will also attempt to seize power.  Many of them already have some experience with working in government and they are no strangers to corruption, favoritism, and the use of budget funds for personal purposes.

The “concessions” that the Opposition is demanding in Parliament right now are pitiful.  Even the Constitution of 2004, that they are trying to restore, gives too much power to the President (control over the riot police and special forces is one example), and the proportional electoral system, with closed listings, hands parliament over to the control of a group of dictator-like leaders, who can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  Together with the President they will rule without obstructions.

Their second demand – the appointment of a Cabinet of Ministers composed of Opposition leaders – is altogether shameful.  Are people risking their health, freedom, and life for the sake of someone becoming a prime-minister, and someone-else getting an opportunity to control the flow of corrupt-money?  This is the logical outcome of preferring pathos-ridden conversations on “the nation,” and focusing on vertical structures tied to the same hated politicians, instead of developing ground-up organizations around financial and material interests.  This is the main lesson that Maidan is yet to learn.

However, we will be able to apply this lesson in practice only if the current government loses the battle.

The Opposition inside and outside of the Parliament is broken into multiple hostile and competing factions. If it wins, the ensuing regime will be unstable and lacking in coherency.  It will be as bourgeois and repressive as was the Party of Regions before their first show of force against the protesters in November.

The guilt for the spilled blood is partially on the EU which gladly receives money from the corrupt scumbags in Ukraine, Russia, and several African countries, while diligently neglecting to check the source of such “investments.”  It is only after seeing the dead bodies of the victims of such “investors,” that it gets so very sentimental and full of humanitarian pathos.

This is not our war, but the victory of the government will mean the defeat of the workers.  The victory of the Opposition also does not promise anything good.  We cannot call the proletariat to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Opposition and its interests.   We think that the extent of participation in this conflict is a matter of personal choice.  However, we encourage all to avoid being drafted to serve in the internal military forces controlled by Yanukovich, and to sabotage by all means available the actions of the government.

No gods, no masters, no nations, no borders!

Kiev organization AWU (Autonomous Workers Union)


Volodymyr “Vova” Kuznetsov: Marsiale 2012

An interview video piece with Vova, dedicated to the First Kyiv international biennale ARSENALE 2012


Bradley Eros VHS Archive

Cicada Press authors Bradley Eros et al. Sunview Luncheonette Video ArchiveThe Bradley Eros archive opened last night at the Sunview Luncheonette, a collaboration of our authors & friends et al. & Bradley Eros.  Check out the Eros Library here: Eros Library.

VHS, abbreviation for the Video Home System, becomes, by transmigration, the Velvet Hermetic System. Bradley Eros’ video corpus is currently housed at the Sunview Luncheonette ( as a watchable archive.

Primarily a stash of bootlegs and obsessive hoardings these videos totter on the brink of obsolescence. The archive contains a holy grail[1] of weirdness and subversive art collected while Eros lived in Chinatown and the East Village in the 80s and Williamsburg during the 90s.

The works in the VHS archive were traded, duped, dubbed, mixed, stolen or bartered one by one from friends, collectors, roommates, fellow artists, film departments, public libraries, microcinemas, fans, connoisseurs, snobs & fanatics, perverts & subverts, as well as associates, thieves & spies from Kim’s, Bard, NYU, Kino, re:voir, EAI, Facets, VDB, ETC (Experimental Television Center) or the late great Mystic Fire.

This Velvet Hermetic System, this erasable & decaying encasement of encoded signals, typically modeled on the junk shop or used book store is here more fancifully structured as analogous to the table of the elements in a science laboratory or the entomology cases or butterfly collection in the Natural History Museum. Among the rare specimens, re-enchanted through collective display and access, are essential and unessential film and video works[2], obscure and familiar movies, unique and forgotten art works, documents and experiments, some with hand-made covers and sleeves (all scanned for perusal and preview), all vying for shelf-space on this free-standing mobile magnetic field.


SFAQ Review: The Gallows & Pinocchio

Some kind words from artist and writer Jarrett Earnest on Cicada, the release of The Gallows Are Busy, and Matthew Whitley’s poetry up on SFAQ.

“Last saturday I went to a book launch for the new press Cicada, a collaborative project between Anastasiya Osipova and Matthew Whitley. Their politics is lived poetics; inhabiting a romanticized insurgence in our “contemporary” Post-68, Post-Occupy moment—a poetry of “distraction” as a tactic. Their collection “The Gallows are Busy” brings together interviews with the artist’s collectives “et. al.” and The Anti-Banality Union, translated Russian text by Leonid Lipavsky, and a scholarly article on “la Movida” popular youth movement by Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia. Artists Bradly Eros, Steward Uoo, Chris Maggio contribute and images and poems. It is a beautiful publication that connects certain strands of the inchoate political aspirations of its milleu, giving it the kind of shape that will be invaluable for future artists and writers.

The only engagement with “aesthetics” comes from Whitley’s own poetry, a volume of which Cicada has also thankfully brought out. “Pinocchio Gone Limp” his first book, is separated into six sections each authored by a different pseudonymous persona complete with signature. Whether attributed to Henry Box, Peter Heard, Liam Happens or Raoul Patron, the poems continuously feel new, filled with fresh imagery, even as Whitley ridicules and undermines “authorship”. (At the front he includes a full set of his finger prints, signature, birth date and real social security number, signaling his interrogation of “identity” throughout the book is more than cheap ventriloquism.) There are no regular rhythms, and as soon as you begin to anticipate the next word, it changes, drops someplace you’d never expect. Whitley’s poet is a cat-burglar, stealing things from your bedroom you never missed until he shows it to you again, slightly transformed by Vaseline and theatre lighting.”

Read the entirety of the text here:



Upcoming Release: Armenian Translation of Artaud // Vigen Tadevosyan

Vigen Tadevosyan

We will, by some strange confluence of circumstance & associations, be releasing an Armenian translation of Artaud’s “Van Gogh: Man Suicided by Society” in early 2014. The translator, Vigen Tadevosyan, passed away before being able to publish the manuscript. His work spanned abstract painting, to performance & writing/translation.

Few English resources exist, but a few articles can be found online, as well as images of some of his work:

Vigen Tadevosyan Painting


Release Party at Macie Gransion!


We are hosting a release party for “The Gallows Are Busy” at artists’ club Macie Gransion Saturday, January 18th!  Come for an open bar, projections/films/artwork from Gallows’ contributors, & first edition copies available for purchase.  We will be holding the release from 6:30-9:30 PM.

Thank you to Macie Gransion for hosting us & all of the artists & writers who contributed.

Contributors joing us include Bradley Eros, et al., Stewart Uoo, Anastasiya Osipova, Matthew Whitley, Chris Maggio, the Anti-Banality Union, & Louie Dean Valencia-García.


Follow the event here.


The Gallows Are Busy is Released!

The full print run has arrived at last for “The Gallows Are Busy.”  We will be hosting a release party in Manhattan come mid-January, 2014, with a date to be announced in the next few days.  The hard copy is available now for order in the store.


Read the introduction here(PDF):

“The Gallows is simultaneously about, and is a product of, slippery “vacation vision.” We began and are now finishing it at a time of necessary travel, its accompanying disorientation, and the claustrophobia of weighty and unwanted leisure.  Mexico City and Kiev are the end-points of our itinerary, and in-between are several months of extorting materials from friends and comrades in New York, our actual living place.

In this publication we attempted to follow and describe the trajectory of a glazed and nervous eye, which takes in the textures of things, and all the associations that they give birth to, but fails to understand their function.  We gathered several accounts of such suspended, disassociative perception without celebrating, but also without condemning them.  Rather, our intention was to consider the broad spectrum of “checking out”: its poetry, its stupidity, its cunning, its rebellion.

We do not want to praise distraction for distraction’s sake.  Instead, we would like to remind about the necessity to historicize it.  To treat it as a tactic.

Contributions to the Gallows are clustered around several semi-clandestine, semi-subcultural groups and movements – the Spanish Movida of the 1980s, the OBERIU of the 1930s Soviet Union, the Anti Banality Union (working in the context of 2012’s movement of the squares) and et al. artists’ group of today.  Each shares a common method of invention, forcing attention to slip onto secondary things, to undo and reconstruct perceived reality by magnifying details and building from them a new whole.”

Thank you to all of our contributors, living and ethereal, for their patient zeal: Bradley Eros, et al., Stewart Uoo, Louie Dean Valencia-Garcia, Anastasiya Osipova, Matthew Whitley, Leonid Lipavsky (in original translation from the Russian), Chris Maggio, Eduardo Haro Ibars (in original translation from the Spanish), and Andrea Bellu.


blue movie hue

blue movie hue


In Ukraine

Had the pleasure of meeting Anna Zvyagintseva, Nikita Kadan, Sasha Burlaka, Vova Kuznetsov of REP/Hudrada & other projects yesterday. A welcome edge of aristocratic venom & sharp humor. Presented here in a pixellated veil.


Microscopic Cross Sections

Hard at work carving slides for the cover of “The Gallows Are Busy.”