Questions raised in Andrii Dostliev’s work “Genshtab” address the role of bureaucratic institutions in the condition of information wars. The artist compiled a written clarification inquiry regarding the fake version of the Ukrainian language origins found in pro-Kremlin propaganda media, which he then sent to a number of Austrian state institutions that possessed all the expertise necessary to validate and refute such fakes. However, a number institutions did not get back at all, while the majority of received rescripts consisted of… the withdrawal from the real answer.
From what positions does Dostliev’s “Genshtab” criticize the bureaucratic apparatus? Ministries and departments are not completely trouble-proof truth management machines, but, on the contrary, are weak, helpless and, apparently, useless when it comes to dealing with fakes. Dostliev is far from early 1960s conceptual art’s “aesthetics of bureaucracy” (term coined by Benjamin Buchloh). He is more interested in bureaucratic performance, its language, rituals, protocols and methods. In other words, “Genshtab” can be interpreted as the attempt to carry out an inspection of state institutions “from below”, the audit proceeding that those institutions seem to have failed.