This open letter below and the exchange that followed was a result of a conflict between the 5 people who were organizing 3AM. We keep it here for archive purposes.
Currently, as of 17 September 2017 we are working on resolving the conflict and we are committed to make the two remaining events in 2017 happen this year, despite this incident. A public statement from the organizers will be published on 3AM website soon.
Open letter from Dmitry Paranyushkin, one of the founders of 3AM and a member of 3AM project berlin e.V. Vorstand organizing 3AM events. Sent out on 10 September 2017.
Dear 3AM community!
This is Dmitry from 3AM project berlin e.V, the organizer of 3AM events.
I would like to inform you about a gross case of misconduct within our organization. In short, 3 persons within our group of 5 organizers attempted to appropriate the whole 3AM for their own gain, acting in a completely illegal, irresponsible and unethical way behind the backs of their partners.
They tried to push us out of the organization and not only that, but to also apply for a new round of funding, based on what we have all done together, but not as the 3AM project berlin e.V. Verein that we are, but as a new organization, adding a similar “parasite” concept with a different name “8PM” to feed off 3AM’s image and popularity. When asked to explain their behavior, they simply threatened us to stop 3AM whatsoever (it was a “take it or leave it” kind of offer) and I had no choice but to make this situation public in order to avoid putting the whole work that we’ve done to risk.
Normally something like this would stay undercover but I believe in transparency and I also think we can all learn something from this situation as it is quite symptomatic for this field in general and maybe it also exposes some deeply rooted problems in the way people tend to work together in this publicly-funded realm.
I also do not see how we can continue with this event beyond 2017 given the circumstances that I describe below. So, most likely, the 3AM on the 30th of December will be the last one under that name (if we are not prevented from completing even this year), but we will then come back and build something together under a new name, and as a new iteration.
For those who are interested, here is the story:
3AM is based on the concept that I’ve been doing together with Johannes Wengel and others between 2009 and 2011 (as TAMTAMTAM event – see http://playberlin.com/category/issue/9997-3/ ).
In 2013 Clement Layes approached me with a proposal to revive the event I’ve been doing under a new name at Flutgraben. I agreed and proposed to call it 3AM, as an homage to TAMTAMTAM. We were joined by his wife and collaborator (Public in Private) Jasna Virnovski, Clement then brought in Sandra Man, and we were also joined by Nina Kurtela to become 5 organizers. In 2016, after bootstrapping the event for 2 years, we got some funding for 2017 to do 5 events this year as 3AM project berlin e.V. Verein that consisted of those 5 people (including myself). The funding allowed us to finally pay something decent to the participating artists and to the helpers.
Recently Clement wrote to me that he wants to talk about the future of the event. At the meeting he told me that him, his wife, and Sandra would like to administer the event themselves. I refused because, after all, it was my concept from the beginning and also because I believe I can contribute positively on this level, and also, of course, because I like to have a degree of control in things I work on. I was also surprised about that offer… So I said no, thank you. Then a few days after Clement insisted that I accept their new frame, that they control the whole thing, I can “do” 1 3AM a year, and they do the rest, plus two more events that they would call “8PM” (funny, no imagination to come up with a new name even), which is essentially the same thing as 3AM but without the party at the end.
I got very suspicious why he wanted me to “accept” their offer so much. So I asked him if they applied for another funding. I also asked Jasna and Sandra.
Jasna said she didn’t know. Sandra didn’t reply. Clement said it’s not important.
I answered that it’s important and after several attempts on my side they finally admitted they applied for the new round of funding for 2018 to make 3 3AMs and 3 8PMs and that I now have to accept their offer and that I in fact should be thankful they are offering me anything, because – as it turned out – they applied as a different organization.
Their proposal was that for 2018 there would be 1 3AM organized by Clement Layes and Jasna Virnovski, 1 3AM organized by Sandra Man and Moritz Majce, they also would organize 3 more “8PMs” (“parasite” concept like 3AM but without the party) and I can “have” 1 3AM for myself (and if I also want to invite Nina). I thought this offer was ridiculous. Not only it was less 3AMs that we’ve planned, but also they did it behind our backs, without telling us anything, applied for funding with it, and threatened that no 3AMs would happen if I don’t accept their offer, also saying that’s either “take it or leave it” kind of thing in a rather ultimative way…
So, basically, what happened is that they stole the concept that was successful, applied for more funding and also added a “parasite” project to it just to benefit from even more funding. On top of that they did it outside of the legal framework we were in and in a completely unethical way, without telling 2 out of 5 members of the Verein about it and refusing my explicit requests to know more.
I was appalled at this betrayal and game of politics, kind of left speechless at first and how stupid and immoral they are… I tried a few times to fix the situation by asking them to see the application they did, so we could at least repair the damage and integrate it into the existing 3AM project berlin e.V. Verein structure and the existing arrangements… They refused to show it to me repeatedly. I told them I would inform everyone about it and they said they didn’t care because they decided so…
They also told me that if I don’t accept their offer they will just go ahead without 3AM completely, in fact ruining something that we have all built together and cancelling all further events.
Jasna also proposed that herself and Sandra Man will use their position as members of Vorstand at Flutgraben e.V. – where I have my studio – to support my other events and “protect” me, which to me seemed more like an episode of House of Cards… completely ridiculous and appalling at the same time…
So now I feel like I’m left with no choice but to inform the Senat (the funding body) about the whole thing, as well as the 3AM community and Flutgraben e.V. where we host 3AM events, which I am doing right now (you can see the letters to Senat and FLultgraben e.V. below).
Clement Layes, Jasna Virnovski and Sandra Man basically tried to appropriate the whole thing for their own financial gain… I also feel sad how they let the whole event down, because obviously it cannot continue like that anymore… On top of that it’s especially ridiculous because those people talk about “community” so much (i mean even their group is called “public in private”) and yet they act in such an unethical way…
I think you should know all that and I also want to assure you that we will do everything possible to continue with the event even if those people will try to prevent us from doing so, either by blocking the money or trying to make some arrangements with Flutgraben to prevent us from hosting the event there (which I would not be surprised about).
We still have it scheduled to do two last events this year, one 3AM that will be organized by Clement in November 2017 and another one that will be organized by myself and Diego on the 30th of December 2017.
All the best,
3AM project berlin e.V.
9 September 2017
Additional Open Letters
Here’s the open letter sent to Senat – http://3am.events/3am-letter-to-senat/
Here’s the open letter sent to Flutgraben e.V. that hosts 3AM – http://3am.events/3am-open-letter-to-flutgraben-e-v/
Open letter from Maria Mushtrieva, member of 3AM project berlin e.V. Vorstand, 11 September 2017
I would like to express my full support to my friend Dmitry Paranyushkin, a co-founder of 3AM event and 3AM Verein that I am only nominally a member of, but I have been co-organising things for it since the beginning. It sad to see that it ends up in taking sides, but sometimes there is no choice. 3AM was a glue that brought a lot of people together, gave the space for people to show their works in progress and opened an open dialogue among peers. Dmitry’s generosity and organising skills made this event something what was very much missed in Berlin dance-performance landscape. The philosophy behind the event was built not on the profit, but on the establishing a space for a dialogue. All the profit would be shared among the artists that trusted us with their work. It is sad to see that people who I believed started with the same impulse, when seeing the opportunity to get quick money and recognition, conspire behind the back and show their true faces. And sadly, this is not a single case, there are many examples of such conduct of affairs. And in these cases transparency and an honest declaration of state of things is the only way that is left. In the long run – and maybe it is a naive hope – everybody gets what they really are.
Response from Sandra Man, Jasna Vinorvski and Clement Layes, 12 September 2017
Hello everyone, we don’t have access to the facebook page neither the mail of the 3AM, that is removed from us from our ex colleague Dmitry Paranyushkin. This shows an other aspect of this conflict.
But love and hate comes and goes, and hopefully this dark cloud of anger will leave quickly for the blue sky to come back.
Everybody knows self-organized events are difficult to run, little time, little money, we do with what we can, we are not always perfect. So it’s indeed very sad this situation with Dmitry but we don’t feel responsible for what he describes, he created this through his own behavior. As always in life, there is more than just one perspective – our is, that we were not getting along with Dmitry at all anymore for more than a year now, we should have stopped working earlier with him but instead we looked and found ways to continue running the 3AM. As he describes we were now, again proposing him to facilitate a 3AM but we were not willing anymore to work on an administrate level together. Now we stand in this uncomfortable situation, we don’t want to enter a public fight, and we hope to find a way with Dmitry to finish elegantly.
All the best
Sandra, Jasna, Clément
Response from Jasna Vinovrski, Clement Layes, and Sandra Manhartseder, 13 September 2017
Dear dance and performance community,
as member of the Berlin dance scene I need to inform you about the public attacks that have been committed against myself, my partner Clément Layes and my colleague Sandra Man by our ex-colleague Dmitry Paranyushkin.
We have been together facilitating the 3AM events that regularly took place at the Flutgraben Kunstfabrik. Since this year we received for the first time city tax funding.
Since last Friday Mr. Paranyushkin blocked to us the access to our common 3AM Facebook account, to our email account and to our website. Then he published via the same communication platforms the letters, in which he compromises our names in public by severe accusations and defamations.
He sent 5000 emails from which a large part is the contemporary dance community. He sent the letters to Senat – City tax funding and to the board of the Atelierhouse Flutgraben.
Exposing our years long conflict in this way in the public, instead of trying to solve the conflict internally, brings into question the ethics of the whole event, and its credibility. 3 AM event started to be more and more important for the dance scene, not only for the artists to try out their artistic works, but also to strengthen the dance community. Platforms like 3AM is something that the dance/performance scene strongly needs at the moment, and that’s the main reason why this event could grow and develop in such a short time.
I think that by bringing in this offensive way our intern conflict into public Mr. Paranyushkin doesn’t only harm us but he is also endangering the event to the point of its cancelation, and in this way removing this necessary platform from the dance scene.
This is something that I find is the biggest damage that Mr. Paranyushkin created in his recent actions and as a member of the contemporary dance scene of Berlin I would like to ask you to help us by sharing our statement. This is particularly important now for us as we don’t have any access to the 3AM channels any more, but need to get our perspective heard and seen.
Jasna L. Vinovrski
Our stand to the accusations and defamations:
1. We did not apply “on behalf of 3AM” but with a concept that next to a new series of events also includes 3AM-events. They could have been organised just as it was the case this year one by each of us, including Dmitry.
2. We did not steal anything but continued our work and developed a concept based on our interests, backgrounds and experiences which we also made in the years of organizing 3AM events.
3. We did not betray, but the trust and the team work were lost long before we decided to write a new application. After repeated conflicts of all the 3 AM core team members with Mr. Parnyushkin, that reached absolute peak during founding of the Verein, working with him in organizational or administrational level was out of the question. To be able to develop and secure our work and the events we need a stable team consisting of people who get along with and don’t fight against each other. As is the case now the fighting puts all the work done in danger.
4. The verein 3AM did not apply for any funding, neither the one we got in 2017 nor the one we asked for now. It was founded after we got the funding in 2017 for practical reasons and was never used for meetings and decision making.
5. We never offered any deals in relation to our membership and work at Flutgraben e.V. or threatened Dmitry with losing his events or studio there.
6. Dmitry was never the creator of 3AM, neither of its concept, it was developed over years by many organizers, artists, art interested people etc. The very first event was the result of an invitation of Clement to Dmitry.. The title 3AM, was said to be first “3 AM Flutgraben” (for 3 spaces) and later it took the title of the time when the event finishes, at 3 AM in the morning.
To sum up:
We were not working together with Mr. Paranyushkin anymore, but had found a way a year ago to continue the 3AM in the separate manner, and that’s the reason that conducted our choice to make an application and deal with the situation in such a way. Hoping to continue with the 3AM, we thought Dmitry would agree to our proposal as he had already agreed before and he knew we were not willing to continue sharing the administration. We also proposed him that we redraw the application in case of his disapproval. We now realize there was no way to continue. We hope you will support us in this difficult moment.
Open letter from Nina Kurtela, co-founder and co-organizer of 3AM. 13 September 2017
Dear 3AM community,
(Its Nina from 3AM. As I was traveling to Japan I didn’t have the time to react on this issue sooner):
As a fifth member of 3AM core team (former) I would like to confirm Dmitry’s claims about current situation.
After Clément Layes, Jasna Layes Vinovrski and Sandra Man applied for further fundings without our knowledge and our names on the application they kindly asked Dmitry to leave the organisation. In my case, few days after, I received Clements e-mail explaining they didn’t wanted to bother me with administration as I moved my base to Zagreb and therefor they send the application without communicating this with me. But, he states, I would be involve in some events in 2018…
Despite all disagreements, conflicts and hard times that we had in our team I believe it is immoral and unfair to act upon like that behind our back by appropriating this project that we all built together to ones own personal interests.
As all of us, I invested a lot of time, energy, labor, thoughts, words and love in it and it makes me sad to see that it was devaluated and disrespected in such a hideous way.
3AM was unique creation built not only by five of us, but many people around – participating artists, audience, colleagues and friends who all contributed in various ways. Nevertheless, Dmitry’s role and engagement in building this extraordinary community was crucial. As much as I am trying to avoid taking sides and pointing fingers I feel it is my obligation to say this publicly and give my full support to Dmitry’s actions on going public with this matter. It was a brave and right thing to do. He definitely does not deserve this kind of treatment, after all. None of us do. Just because the things were done differently does not mean they were done wrong.
Finally, I hope we can all find ways to pass over this misfortunate and uncomfortable situation, let go of the past, be more flexible in future and find ways to continue building communities with the knowledge and experience we gathered so far for some even more inspiring new beginnings…
Love to all,