ORTA Collective

First ever 3-D model of a real activated genion particle, rendered by Sabina Kuangaliyeva on October 29, 2022, with the use of data acquired during Spectacular Experiments at "LAI-PI-CHU-PLEE-LAPA Centre for the New Genius." © ORTA Collective / Courtesy of the Artist, 2022.

The New Genius

Based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the five-member ORTA Collective discovered the life and works of Sergey Kalmykov (1891-1967), a Kazakhstani and Soviet artist known as "the Genius of the Absolute Interplanetary Category." Kalmykov creatively resisted Soviet norms by pretending insanity, developing unique artistic concepts and scientific ideas. Despite experiencing two World Wars, the Communist civil war, and Stalin’s terror, he maintained that everyone could lead a genius life, regardless of circumstances. Dying poor and unacknowledged in a psychiatric hospital in 1967, his legacy later found recognition; his artworks were housed in the State Museum of Arts, and his writings in the State Archive of Kazakhstan, with Kazakhstan dedicating its first pavilion at the Venice Biennale to him 55 years after his death.

The ORTA Collective suggests that Kalmykov may have influenced reality with his practices, similar to how science fiction visionaries in the past shaped modernity with their imaginations. They developed a theory from Kalmykov’s principles, dubbed the "New Genius." This theory posits that all beings harbor internal genius, termed "Genions," which can be activated under special conditions. Contrary to traditional views that equate genius with natural talent, the New Genius theory asserts that genius is an actionable choice, empowering anyone to live creatively and impact reality.

Introduced at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, the New Genius concept was well-received, indicating its potential global relevance. The New Genius World Project aims to expand this philosophy, encouraging global participation in redefining genius beyond traditional artistic, scientific, and philosophical boundaries. Through this collective envisioning, the ORTA Collective invites everyone to contribute to this innovative school of thought, fostering a world shaped by shared creativity and future possibilities.


ORTA Collective is an interdisciplinary artistic group founded in 2015 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, by actress and performer Alexandra Morozova and director Rustem Begenov. Later, the collective was joined by contemporary artist Sabina Kuangaliyeva, artist Alexandr Bakanov, and photo and video designer Darya Jumelya. ORTA explores the possibilities of human creativity through the creation of Universal Projects that span theater, contemporary art, video and film, technology, philosophy, robotics, electronic engineering and crafts. Since 2016, ORTA's primary focus has been on the figure of Kazakhstani artist, writer, and inventor Sergey Kalmykov (1891-1967), from whose life and texts the collective has been developing the New Genius Theory. This approach to life and creativity views genius as a practice that anyone can learn, rather than a natural gift bestowed upon exceptional people. Selected projects: Pop-mechanical performance ‘Medea.Material’ (co-production with Goethe-Institute, NET-2016 festival participant, nomination to Kuryokhin Gran-prix award); large-scale techno-mystery Svetoprestavleniye Sergey Kalmykov (NEW DRAMA -2018 festival headliner, nomination to Kuryokhin Gran-prix award); LAI-PI-CHU-PLEE-LAPA Center for the New Genius (national pavilion of Kazakhstan at 59th Venice Biennale, 2022). ORTA is currently working on the Planetary Program on the creation of the first ever Great Atomic Bombreflector.

Selected publications: 

The Daily Telegraph
Cosmic Bulletin
The Art Newspaper
The Wallpaper
Art Asia Pacific
ArtNet News
Angime magazine
Astana Times

© ORTA Collective 2024

All rights reserved. No part of publications may be transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any storage or retrieval system, without prior permission from the copyright holders and publishers.  

Svetoprestavleniye Sergey Kalmykov
Almaty, Kazakhstan / Moscow, Russia

A large-scale performative installation/techno-mystery
Brief trailer of the performative installation

"Svetoprestavleniye" was inspired by the tragic but charismatic life of the mad avant-garde artist Sergey Kalmykov (1891-1967) – a Russian artist, a student of Petrov-Vodkin, and according to legend it was he who gave his teacher the idea – and even posed for – the famous "Bathing of the Red Horse”. In 1937 Kalmykov left for the "distant city of Alma-Ata", where he worked at the local opera and ballet theater until his death, and had been the first and only urban "freak", who dressed himself in self-made bright clothes "visible from space" and described his global-scale projects to strangers on the streets. Kalmykov called himself a Genius of the First Rank of the Absolute Interplanetary Category and developed ideas and theories about art, science, architecture, society, and the human genius. The artist died in 1967 in complete obscurity, but he inspired generations of contemporary local artists and he has left behind more than 10,000 pages of manuscripts stored in the State Archive of Kazakhstan, as well as over 1,500 paintings, drawings and lithographs, which are housed in the collections of the Kasteev State Museum of Fine Arts, the Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum and the Orenburg Museum of Fine Arts.
 "Svetoprestavleniye" is the central part of the "The Streak of Immortality" project https://sergeikalmykov.webflow.io/ –  an endless creation of installations, exhibition projects, photographs, video art, audio art, and books – as a result of working with the textual, visual, semantic and life-creating assets of 10,000 manuscript pages and 1,500 paintings of the genius, the stupid cretin, the science-fiction projector, and the grandmaster of linear arts, Sergey Kalmykov. “Svetoprestavleniye” premiered in Almaty on May 26, 2018. Svetoprestavleniye was the headliner of the "New Drama" international festival  (The Meyerhold Center, Moscow) and a nominee for the Grand Prix of the 2018 Sergey Kuryokhin Award.