Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What Comes Next?
edition: 1/5 + 1 a.c.

In the video work Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt. What Comes Next? Ressler focuses on the political and economic situation in the Republic of Armenia, one of the successor states of the Soviet Union. The film was recorded in the summer of 2010, at the largest bazaar in Yerevan, called Bangladesh.

Every day, more than a thousand people try to survive by working as salesmen at the Bangladesh Bazaar in Yerevan, where they do not earn more than 100 to 250 Euro a month. In the video, they talk about how they survived the crisis in the post-socialist state, which closed most Soviet-era factories and destroyed social safety nets. Former factory workers describe the changes in living conditions that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union, talk about their hopes and expectations for social change. While they live in misery, a small but very influential class of corrupt politicians and extremely wealthy oligarchs is teaming up with international corporations to further enrich themselves with profits from the transfer of state property and mining licenses.

A former mathematics professor Levon Yeremyan, who now works at Bangladesh Bazaar, notes, “95 per cent of people work and get the minimum wage, which is ridiculously low by European standards, and 5 per cent live like Arab sheikhs. Most people would definitely agree with his description of the wide gap between the impoverished masses and the oligarchs in Armenia. This deep divide contradicts the official flattering data.

Concept, camera, sound recording, video editing and production: Oliver Ressler
Interviews, translation and editing assistance: Arpineh Galfayan
Audio mix and colour correction: Rudi Gottsberger
Research on factories: Nora Galfayan, Vahe Budumyan
The project was done during a residency in Yerevan in the framework of the project “Eat and Work”, directed by Anna Barseghian, supported by Utopiana and BM:UKK

© Cultural Centre of Belgrade, the October Salon Collection and the artist
Gift Contract: III-5-82/3.3.2020.
Inventory No.
Photo: still from the video work

Selected Bibliography:
Oliver Ressler: Cartographies of Protest, Juan Antonio Álvarez Reyes, Marius Babias, Emanuele Guidi, Stella Rollig (Eds.), Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Vienna, 2014


Oliver Ressler (1970, Knittelfeld, Austria) is an artist and filmmaker. His installations, interventions in the public space and films raise issues such as economics, democracy, global warming, forms of resistance and alternative lifestyle. He has had solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Conde Duque Cultural Centre in Madrid, Forum for Contemporary Art in Alexandria, the Cube Space in Taipei, the Wyspa Art Institute in Gdansk, Lentos Museum in Linz, Centre for Contemporary Art in Seville, Salad Galata in Istanbul, National Museum in Bucharest, etc. He has participated in over 350 group exhibitions around the world and his thirty films have been screened at numerous events, art institutions and festivals. A retrospective of his works was organized at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Geneva in 2013. Lives and works in Vienna. More information at