A radical experiment at the intersection of art, politics, and life, Omsk Social Club has been described as an “empathy training camp”. The collective facilitates role-playing environments within contemporary art contexts. Utilizing traditional methods of Live Action Role Play (LARP) and Real Game Play (RGP), Omsk crafts speculative worlds in which more than 4,000 people have participated across Europe to date. While the collective works closely with a network of core and public players, Omsk’s game designs and installations are unique and unrehearsed, giving them a unique power to collapse the distinction between artist and audience, art and life. Omsk’s installations have revolved around rave culture, survivalism, catfishing, positive trolling, and decentralized cryptocurrency. Recently, they presented their largest continuous Live Action Role Play at Kunstraum Bethainien, lasting 58 days and reflecting on the idea of life online as “Cosmic depression—Paradise without ecology.”
The name “Omsk” refers to the Siberian city in which Dostoevsky was exiled for discussing banned literature in Tsarist Russia, an indication of the collective’s belief in the radical and divisive potential of art. Omsk Social Club’s interactive and durational installations push participants beyond immediate, visceral reactions. Responding to digital culture with purpose and depth, it is fitting that Omsk often refer to their events as ceremonies.
During their residency at Callie’s in fall 2020, Omsk opened up the studio space to local practitioners to experiment with alternative working methods, while working on a large-scale interactive installation aiming to guide participants into an ecology of the mind.