[Presentation & Publication]

meta-meta is an expansive interdisciplinary project by DC/NYC-based artist Misha Ilin (he/him), comprising a new book of the artist’s instruction pieces (published by WPA) and an exhibition that will bring the book to life through an installation that functions as the mise-en-scène for a series of public programs and fresh experiments. The project, which was initiated at WPA through a research residency in 2021, engages the history and methodologies of artistic engagement with instruction-based practices (from Fluxus to Artificial Intelligence) to extend Ilin’s ongoing investigation of modes of resistance to authority and control.

WPA’s Project Space hours are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1–6 pm at 2124 8th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001


meta-meta: Exhibition & Public Programs

Over the course of five weeks, meta-meta will unfold in WPA’s Project Space, the same space where Ilin’s inquiry began as an Artist-Organizer-in-Residence in 2021. In this space, Ilin will present a reconstruction of his residency in the form of an installation that will serve as a site for re-activations of his instruction pieces and a laboratory for new experiments.

meta-meta is accompanied by a series of public events that will situate Ilin’s engagement with instruction-based practices within a broader context:

Thursday, October 26, 6-7:30pm: Some People Press/Harrell Fletcher and Ilin will host a workshop to develop new conceptual strategies for economizing social practice, mapping both tangible and intangible exchanges. (via Zoom)

Thursday, November 2, 7-8:00pm: Ilin and composer Joshua Coyne will present a musical performance derived from an original score that will be recomposed by the audience in real time. (WPA Project Space)

Friday, November 17, 7-8:00pm: Scholar and critic Colby Chamberlain will be in conversation with Ilin to discuss the organizing logic of the meta-meta publication and its design as a game manual for future activations. RSVP at this link. (WPA Project Space)

All programs are FREE with RSVP.


meta-meta: Publication

meta-meta: book of instructions by Misha Ilin (2023)
Published by Washington Project for the Arts
Softcover, smyth-sewn binding 9.25 x 6.5 in.
132 pages
$50.00 — ORDER HERE

Including correspondences with: Harrell Fletcher, Hannah Higgins, T. Jean Lax, Raphael Rubinstein, Alexandro Segade, and Constantina Zavitsanos.

The centerpiece of Misha Ilin's project residency at WPA is the publication of meta-meta: book of instructions (2023), which delves into the artist’s utilization of instructions as a medium, tracing its evolution from his initial explorations of strategies of care through his ongoing research into human responses to environments of excessive authority and control. The book, which functions as both documentation and a game manual for future activations, consists of a curated selection of 65 (out of more than 800) instructions, arranged variously by theme, affect, and project through a Table of Contents that mimics the design of a periodic table.

The arrangement of the book and its contents draw parallels to the tradition of artist instruction books such as Yoko Ono's Grapefruit (1964) and more contemporary endeavors like Hans Ulrich Obrist's and Boltansky Brothers' Do It project (1993 to present). The book traces the evolution of instruction-based artworks, from a simplistic means of audience engagement caught in the dichotomy of submission and control, to a potent form of personal resistance and reclamation of agency in response to the inherent tension within this duality. Furthermore, it explores the linguistic capacity of instructions to serve as forms of knowledge and experience, thus articulating the emerging relevance of this medium as a main means of communication with language models and machine interfaces.

meta-meta: book of instructions is annotated with edited transcripts from a series of correspondences and conversations between Ilin and experts in various fields, each exploring different topics relevant to the artist’s interests in instruction-based work. These experts include artists Harrell Fletcher, Alexandro Segade, Constantina Zavitsanos, poet and writer Raphael Rubinstein, curator T. Jean Lax, and critic and scholar Hannah Higgins. These exchanges cover a range of topics that explore the role of instructions as a tool for creativity, communication, and control—across performance, politics, bureaucracy, and pedagogy.


October 14, 2023 – December 9, 2023


WPA Project Space

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