Reclaim, Recode, Reinvent

Reclaim, Recode, Reinvent
Urban Art and Activism in Eastern Europe

The book focuses on artistic practices in the urban public spaces of Eastern Europe, particularly in the so-called post-Soviet bloc. Public spaces are seen as indicators of society’s democratization, as well as places where the interests of business, government and grassroots initiatives intersect, often in tension with one another.

This collection contains illustrations inspirations and descriptions of urban art projects that were presented in 2017 in exhibitions, conferences and laboratories of the Coordinate System platform. The book is giving a colorful insight in public artistic practices in post-Soviet urban environments.

Edited by Igor Ponosov and Alexandra Goloborodko in collaboration with Hannah Cornell, Aleksandra Yurieva-Civjane, Alexander Formozov

MitOst editions 2017

12,00 €

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Kontakt: zimmermann(at)

Coordinate System

Coordinate system is an international platform aimed to enhance the dialogue and opportunities to exchange experiences in the areas of public space research and public space transformation by means of artistic practice.

The project Coordinate System began in 2015 with the exhibition and conference Russland vs. Russland. Kulturkonflikte, where we presented various Russian artistic and activist practices of a political and social nature. However, we aimed not only to represent the whole range of these practices, but also to identify cultural conflicts in the context of the country where ideologies clash – not just between the state and activist community, but also within the community itself.

The final discussion of our conference revealed sharp contradictions, which in turn made us think about continuing work into the context of cultural conflicts while significantly expanding our geography.
For the next two years we were engaged in the study of various artistic practices in Central, Eastern
and South-Eastern Europe, in particular the so-called post-Soviet countries. Continuing on from our work in 2015, we focused on cultural conflicts expressed by a socially engaged art projects of a non-commercial and non-institutional nature. We view public spaces as a marker of society’s democratization and a place where many interests meet – be it business, power or grass-roots initiatives.

Over the next two years, we worked on analyzing how the concept of “common” works in the context
of Eastern European cities, united mostly by the single historical experience of building socialism, the ideal utopian “City of the Sun”. Our research intentions lie in the field of control mechanisms of such utopia and its modern interpretation through art, activism and grassroots initiatives.

Drawing insights from cultural practice

This publication is the first step in systematizing knowledge that we have formed through interviews,
remote data collection, visits to cultural institutions, activist events and artistic communities.

In 2017, as part of the Coordinate System project, we presented the results of our work in Berlin
at exhibitions and conferences, our established formats. The exposition was focused on Russian interdisciplinary art practices, including art study, community, participatory art, performance, and street art and graffiti. The theoretical part of the conference was supplemented by practical workshops with participants selected through an open call. We chose 20 out of more than 200 applications, which allowed us to show a truly high-level selection of the projects, both at the conference and in practical work. We invited representatives of different disciplines to participate in the project. It was important for us to show how art interacts with various fields of knowledge, as well as to discuss and search for
interdisciplinary approaches.

This book is comprised of our research material; you will mainly find texts describing projects that were presented at the Exhibition, Conference and Labs last year. A small portion of the artistic and curatorial practices are told in the first person, by immediate participants and instigators of the process. In turn, this publication is only the first step in theorizing and understanding how the democratization of Eastern European public spaces occurs through art, communication and activism.

More Information


Laura Werling
+49 30 315174-83

Alexandra Goloborodko



Igor Ponosov
Alexandra Goloborodko
in collaboration with
Hannah Connell
Aleksandra Yurieva-Civjane
Alexander Formozov


Kristina Semenova
Igor Ponosov
Artur Wabik
Artem Filatov
Jovanka Popova
Alexandra Nenko
Anton Valkovsky
Annamária Nagy
Gohar Smoyan
META SITU collective
Sasha Portyannikova
Dasha Plokhova

From the Table of Content:

‘Trojan Horses’ in the streets: Public art in post-socialist spaces Kristina Semenova
The New Urban Reality of Russia: Art and Agenda Igor Ponosov
From street art to murals and back. A glimpse into Polish art in public space Artur Wabik
Street Art as a Means of Preserving Historical Nizhny Novgorod Artem Filatov
Where (not) to go?: the Aesthetic of Protest as Colorful Revolution Jovanka Popova
Soft Technologies of Urban Space Animation ARTS4CITY Experience Aleksandra Nenko
Strategies of Artistic Intervention: Volgograd’s Experience Anton Valkovsky
From Temporary to Constant: Steel Sculpture Workshop within the Frame of Sculptural Exhibition in the Public Spaces of Dunaujvaros, Hungary Annamária Nagy
The preconditions of art popularization in Gyumri Gohar Smoyan
14th District META SITU Collective
Laminar Flows Sasha Portyannikova & Dasha Plokhova (ISADORINO GORE DANCE COOPERATIVE)