• White Facebook Icon

Updated: 2 days ago


Birkbeck, University of London/PPV; via Microsoft Teams

Book your place now


The "Ars Homo Erotica" exhibition opened at The National Museum in Warsaw on 10 June 2010. It examined the significance of homoerotic aesthetics and the homoerotic imagination in the history of art from ancient times until the present. This large-scale show had been devised as the museum’s contribution to the debate on the rights of the LGBTQ communities in Poland, in Eastern Europe, and in the larger world. The idea was proposed by the late Piotr Piotrowski, then the Director of the Warsaw Museum, as a major step of the Critical Museum project, which advocates the use of museum collections and resources to provide a forum for debates on burning social and political issues at the time of conflict.

The exhibition was hotly discussed by the media from Poland to Canada, and was vehemently opposed by right-wing politicians in Poland.

This online debate will focus on the impact of the exhibition, which has been listed recently by Maura Reilly as one of the major events of curatorial activism. But, did it help to realign the field?

The event is organised jointly by Birkbeck's Centre for Museum Cultures; PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical), a research and art platforms based at the FRINGE Centre (UCL SSEES/Institute for Advanced Studies) and The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Itinerary for the evening:

  • Introduction by Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Birkbeck; Michał Murawski, UCL, Maria Mileeva, Courtauld Institute of Art and Denis Maximov (PPV/Avenir Institute)

  • Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Ars Homo Erotica - Ten Years Later

  • Maura Reilly, Ars Homo Erotica and Curatorial Activism

  • Paweł Leszkowicz, The Biggest Curatorial Challenge: Queering the National Museums 

  • Tomasz Kitliński, Art versus Homophobia - the Polish Case

  • Anastasiia Fedorova, Curating Queer Russian Power

  • Katarzyna Perlak, presentation of her film Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke (I once had a lover) 2016, and Happy Ever After

  • Q&A


Dr Kasia Murawska-Muthesius is a former Deputy Director of the National Museum in Warsaw and an Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, Department of History of Art. Among her publications are Borders in Art: Revisiting Kunstgeographie (2000); National Museum in Warsaw Guide: Galleries and Study Collections (2001); Kantor was Here: Tadeusz Kantor in Great Britain (Black Dog 2011), From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum (Ashgate 2015, with Piotr Piotrowski), and Maps and Images of Eastern Europe: Sarmatia Europea to Post-Communist Europe (forthcoming with Routledge).

Dr. Maura Reilly is a curator who has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally with a specific focus on marginalized artists. She has written extensively on global contemporary art and curatorial practice, including, most recently Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating (Thames & Hudson, 2018), which was named a “Top 10 Best Art Book of 2018” by the New York Times. Reilly is the Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she developed and launched the first exhibition and public programming space in the USA devoted entirely to feminist art. While there, she organized several landmark exhibitions, including the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, the blockbuster Global Feminisms (co-curated with Linda Nochlin), among many others. She is a founding member of two initiatives dedicated to fighting discrimination against women in the art world – The Feminist Art Project (TFAP) and Feminist Curators United (FcU). In 2015, Reilly was named one of the Top 50 most influential people in the art world by Art & Auction, in recognition of her advocacy for women artists. She received her M.A. and PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and is an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. Reilly is Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Arizona State University.

Tomasz Kitliński and Paweł Leszkowicz are LGBTQ-feminist activists. Tomasz is Professor of cultural studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Paweł – Professor of Art History at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. They married in Brighton, England. Tomasz studied with Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva, Paweł at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Tomasz held a post of Fulbright scholar at the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, New School for Social Research in New York, Pawel was a Fulbright scholar at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries in Los Angeles.  Both of them participated in Eastern Europe’s pioneering lesbian and gay visibility campaign Let Them See Us and, drawing on this experience, authored a Polish-language book Love and Democracy with an extensive English summary. Their other books include: Helen Chadwick: The Iconography of Subjectivity; Naked Man: The Male Nude in post-1945 Polish Art; The Stranger within Ourselves; and Art Pride. They published with Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, New York University Press, and AICA-Centre Georges Pompidou.

Katarzyna Perlak is a Polish born artist, based in London whose practice employs video, performance, sound and installation. Perlak’s work is driven by politics and feelings; examines queer subjectivities, migration and potentiality of affect as a tool for registering and archiving both present continuous and past historical moments. She currently explores ‘tender crafts’ methodologies and the relationships between notions of utopia, hope, horizon and the concept of the ‘wish landscape’.

Anastasiia Fedorova is a writer and curator based in London. She is a regular contributor to Dazed, i-D, GARAGE, Kaleidoscope Magazine, 032c, The Guardian and Highsnobiety among other titles. In her writing and research, she specialises in photography and visual culture, political and social aspects of fashion and LGBTQ+ issues. In 2020, she curated "The Real Thing", an exhibition at London's Fashion Space Gallery which looked at fashion bootleg as a social issue and creative language. She is also a founder of "Russian Queer Revolution", a platform for LGBTQ+ creatives from Russia.


Tbilisi Biennale of Architecture (TAB)


Birzhastation is PiraMMMida’s Georgian operation, realised within the framework of Tab 2020: The Tbilisi Biennale of Architecture. The project is curated by the PPV team together with Tbilisi-based collaborators Ana Chorgolashvili and David Brodsky.


Please find the full Birzhastation programme here; and more information here.

19 October


21 October

Lecture: Evgenia Zakharova

Male Friendship and Honor on the Birzhas of Tbilisi

24 October

Open Discussion: Giorgi Kevlishvili

25 October

Open Discussion: Misha Svanidze

29 October

Lecture: Costanza Curro

From Collective to Cellular? Common Space Between the Street and the Prison

4 November

Presentation of a new issue of Danarti: Ana Chorgolashvili


Birzhastation is a place of gathering, commonness, and belonging; a place for the acceptance and sharing of information. This temporary installation is located on the former Academe-city territory and merges with the contextual importance of the place. The project is intended to encourage the rest of the world to learn about Tbilisi’s political-aesthetic experience.

The shape and the features of Birzhastation – symmetrical, horizontal, neutral, rectangular laboratory, semi-transparent dramatically-lit – echo the typology of the Besedka (the word comes from Russian беседа, which means conversing), one of the simple architectural elements of numerous Soviet cities, villages, micro-districts, parks, and courtyards. Besedka is a place for gathering, communicating, playing, social condensation and represents one of many types of Birzha. Birzha itself is a Georgian word designating a place for social get-togethers that condenses together many different forms, characteristics, and ideas and is usually located in altered public spaces. Birzhas are typically self-organized by people themselves.

The former Academe-city, in turn, is a place that well reflects the failures as well as success and afterlives of both Soviet (socialist) and post-Soviet (neoliberal) systems. This is a place of the collapse of vertical ideologies. Since the 1990s, under the extreme

conditions of Wild Capitalism, this chaotically developed area in itself combines the elements of 1930s Stalinist Soviet architecture, the partially realized idea of the Academe-city itself (1960s and 1970s architecture), and the remains of some slums and barracks.

In the framework of TAB, Birzhastation will host an active program of discussions, debates, and libations (physically and online) to create a zone of openness, publicness, intimacy, perversion, wildness, commonality, and collective social condensation, inspired by the Georgian practice of Birzha. Birzhastation aspires to function as a zone of “real” commonness, standing in opposition to the pseudo-transparency of neoliberal architecture in the post–socialist world. The online and physical space of Birzhastation will also be open for local interventions.

Birzhastation - ეს არის თავშეყრის, გაერთიანების, მიკუთვნებისა და ინფორმაციის გაცვლის ადგილი. დროებითი ინსტალაცია განთავსებულია ყოფილი აკადემქალაქის ტერიტორიაზე, შედის კონტექსტუალურ კავშირში ადგილთან და იძლევა თბილისის პოლიტიკურ - ესთეტიკურ გამოცდილებაზე დაკვირვების შესაძლებლობას.

ინსტალაციის ფორმა და ხასიათი - დროებითი, მართკუთხა, ნახევრად გამჭირვალე, ნეიტრალური, ჰორიზონტალური, მშენებლობის და კონსტრუირებისთვის განკუთვნილი მასალებით შექმნილი ობიექტი, ეხმიანება ბესედკის ტიპოლოგიას. ბესედკა (Бесе́да რუსულად ლაპარაკს აღნიშნავს) საბჭოთა ქალაქების, სოფლების, მიკრორაიონების, პარკების და ეზოების ერთ-ერთი შემადგენელი არქიტექტურული ელემენტია, რომელიც არის თავშეყრის, გაერთიანების, კომუნიკაციის, თამაშის, სოციალური კონდესაციის ადგილი და ბირჟის ერთ-ერთი ფორმა. ბირჟა საჯარო სივრცეში მოსახლეობის მიერ თვითნებურად ორგანიზებული განსხვავებული ფორმის, ხასიათის და იდეის მატარებელი საზოგადოებრივი შეკრების ადგილია.

ყოფილი აკადემქალაქი, თავისმხრივ ეს არის ადგილი, სადაც თვალსაჩინოდ იკითხება როგორც საბჭოთა (სოციალისტური), ისე პოსტ-საბჭოთა (ნეო-ლიბერალური) სისტემათა წარმატება და კრახი. ეს არის ვერტიკალური იდეოლოგიების კოლაფსის ადგილი. 90-იანი წლებიდან მოყოლებული, ველური კაპიტალიზმის პირობებში, ქაოტურად განაშენიანებული ტერიტორია აერთიანებს საბჭოთა / სტალინისტური 30-იანი წლების, აკადემქალაქის სანახევროდ განხორციელებული პროექტის (60,70 - იანი წლების არქიტექტურა) და ბარაკების ნარჩენებს.

თბილისის არქიტექტურული ბიენალეს ფარგლებში Birzhastation უმასპინძლებს დისკუსიების, დებატების, ლექციებიის აქტიურ პროგრამას (ფიზიკურად და ონლიან), რათა შეიქმნას გახსნილობის, საჯაროობის, ინტიმურობის, პერვერსიის, ველურობის, საერთოობისა და კოლექტიურობის სოციალური კონდენსაციის ზონა, რომელიც ინსპირირებულია ქართული ბირჟის (ადგილობრივი) პრაქტიკებით - რაც, თავისმხრივ წარმოადგენს პოსტ-სოციალისტურ სამყაროში, ნეოლიბერალური იდეოლოგიის გამჭირვალე არქიტექტურის, ფსევდო-გამჭირვალობის იდეის ოპოზიციას. Birzhastation გახსნილია სპონტანური ინტერვენციებისთვის.

Launched on 1 July 2020


PiraMMMida.life is the online version of the PiraMMMida show at the cancelled 2020 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

PiraMMMida.life is a transdisciplinary, transmedia project devoted to ridiculing, tricking, twisting, queering, resisting – and perverting – the pyramidal spectres and structures which haunt the worlds of architecture, art, academia and the everyday. In particular, Cyber-PiraMMMida is fascinated by "fake horizontals": pharaonic edifices of exploitation masquerading as paragons of grassrootist virtue. PiraMMMida is named in anti-homage to MMM Bank, an infamous pyramid scheme established by convicted fraudster Sergei Mavrodi (1932-2018) in 1991 in Russia. MMM Bank spread to much of the Global South and Global East in the 2000s and 2010s, in the process defrauding thousands of vulnerable people of their livelihoods – some of whom joined the scheme perfectly knowing its fraudulent nature but still desiring to cash out before others as it collapses.

🥒 🥒 🥒


Denis Maksimov Masha Mileeva Michał Murawski David Roberts

Cornerstone piraMMMidalists

Marco Baravalle / David Bernstein / David Brodsky / Victor Buchli and Ethno-ISS / Keti Chukhrov / Alberto Duman / Liva Dudareva / Philippa Hetherington / Jeeva_D and Georgia Martin (8 years old) / Rita Kuleva / Agnieszka Kurant / Alena Ledeneva / Thandi Loewenson / Barbara Penner / Georgios Papadopoulos / Peg Rawes / Jane Rendell / Tabita Rezaire / Natalia Romik / Rafael Schacter / Uta Staiger / Centre for Plausible Economies (Kathrin Böhm + Kuba Szreder) / Peter Zusi


Supported by the Bartlett Architectural Research Fund, UCL European Institute (Jean Monnet Centre for Excellence), Strelka Mag and the FRINGE Centre for the Study of Social and Cultural Complexity.

Realised in partnership with S.a.L.E. Docks and Avenir Institute. 

🥒 🥒 🥒



Politics + Aesthetics in the Global East


  • White Facebook Icon