An itinerant project exploring urban errors, discrepancies, and territories in Walter Benjamin's Moscow Diary (1926)


Straying: A Book of Instructions

A symposium at Central Exhibition Hall Manege, part of a parallel program of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Curatorial practice
  • Philosophy / Theory

Organizing Institutions


Contributing Institutions

Moscow Manege Research Department, Triumph Gallery Research Center, and the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art


Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts


Curated by Xenia Vytuleva, Aaron Levy, and Eduardo Cadava

Process initiated


Opens to public





Central Exhibition Hall Manege
Moscow, Russia


100% Formal - 0% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce "Straying: A Book of Instructions," a symposium at Central Exhibition Hall Manege in Moscow, Russia, part of a parallel program of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.

The symposium both builds upon and stray from Walter Benjamin's own experiences in Moscow in December 1926, as recorded in Moscow Diary, his personal diary. The urban landscape of Moscow becomes for Benjamin a prism that enables continuously shifting interpretations about a matrix of issues ranging from the interpersonal to the spatial and the political. Our project seeks to retrace his winter movements through an unfamiliar language, culture, community and territory. In so doing, we seek to turn Benjamin's diary into a manual or toolbox, in effect, one that decodes the concept of "straying" in relation to both local and global considerations.

A diverse array of participants, including architects, scholars and curators, will contribute to a collective understanding of straying, together exploring the mechanisms that enable one to stray through art, philosophy, geography, and politics. Participants in this symposium will then travel from Moscow to Philadelphia in early December 2015, extending the conversations begun in Moscow and situating them within a cross-cultural context. Throughout, we seek to explore straying not just as an intellectual pursuit but as a life practice, building upon Benjamin's commitment to developing a capacity for losing oneself in urban environments.

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Как бродить по пространствам. Инструкции

Вальтер Беньямин – автор, работы которого во многом задают сегодняшнюю науку описания человеческой повседневности, городов – оставил для нас одно из важных свидетельств о жизни и пространстве Москвы. Трасы его дневников создают город как место, столицу блужданий, брождений. Это радикальное блуждание, бродяжничество, ставшее экстремально новым опытом освоения пространства, оказывается в случае Беньямина, невероятно плодотворным. В Беньямине оно рождает опыт какого-то неотменимо нового типа, иной тип мысли, скольжений, задержек, детализаций, и наоборот гигантских пробелов, характерных именно для блуждающего, бродящего, бродячего, мигрирующего состояния, которые потом возвратятся с ним вместе в Европу, словно увезенный в чемодане город, ставший впоследствии целым мыслительным ландшафтом нового времени, его «Москвой».

Проект исследует урбанистические расколы, расщелины, расщелины, оперируя Московским Дневником как иннструкцией по применени, коробкой для инструментов.

Straying: A Book of Instructions

Saturday, September 26, 2015, 5-6pm

Central Exhibition Hall
Moscow Manege Research Department

This event, organized on the occasion of the exhibition Our Land / Alien Territory, will take place in front of the Kremlin Wall, and will unpack the concept of straying as a diagram, code and formula for negotiating contemporary visual cultures and politics.

Participants include:

Sergei Sitar
MARCH – Moscow Architectural School

Ksenia Golubovich
Logos publishers

Oleg Nikiforov
Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Xenia Vytuleva
Columbia University, New York

Aaron Levy
Slought / University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia