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We're a team of eight artists, curators and critics with a broader network of art professionals on the post-soviet, post-communist and diasporic spaces. With our ability to grasp, to describe and to invert the sensable, we might be your best collaborator.
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Mission

 

TransitoryWhite is a journal of overlapping, multi-voiced accounts documenting peripheral artistic productions.

The project was launched in 2017 by a group of curators, art specialists and artists from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia living in Berlin/Vienna. 

We aimed to create an intersectional platform for discussing decolonization, post-neoliberalism trauma and the possibility of dispersive views on the so-called post-communist territories.

Since 2019, the platform has also operated in the trajectories of migrant and post-displacement discourse, expanding its activities from the geographical pole "East" to the global. In response to the growing nationalistic discourse, it is crucial for our investigation to represent artists and theorists with different identities and ideas for the future. In this way, TransitoryWhite emphasizes the productive interaction between different multitudes rather than dualities. 

TransitoryWhite understands whiteness as a metaphor for colonialism, or as a white, self-contained exhibition space where the hierarchy of discourses and images is prejudiced. Instead, we turn to the idea of White Noise; a signal or constant disturbance, something cacophonic, turbulent and restless which fluctuates and transforms our perspectives.

Contributors

Laura Arena

Laura Arena is a Level 3 Reiki practitioner certified and licensed in the state of New York. She's a graduate of the Art of Energetic Healing School located in Manhattan with spiritual teacher and master healer Suzy Meszoly. Next to being a Level 3 Reiki practitioner, Laura is a multidisciplinary artist, activist, designer, and curator based in Brooklyn, New York. Arena’s work encompasses photography, video, installation, writing, and social interventions with a focus on storytelling, human rights causes, gameplay, race, and identity. She has exhibited in galleries and festivals worldwide and has participated in events in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Arena has attended residencies and workshops in Greenland, Iceland, Romania, Hungary, Palestine, Turkey, and the United States. 

In 2021 she will be mapping the Chakras of Berlin as an artist in resident at Z/KU (Center for Art and Urbanistics).

Read her article: CHAKRAS OF TBILISI

Mariya Dmitrieva

Mariya Dmitrieva is an artist, independent curator, and cyberfeminist. She is a co-organiser of Studiya 4413 in St. Petersburg, Russia, a self-regulated, artist/activist-run platform functioning as an intersection of diverse social strata, queer-crip optics, artistic mediums, contemporary critical thinking, and adequate political action; Maria is a member of N i i c h e g o d e l a t ‘ (Donoothing), a network of flickering, horizontal laboratories of political imagination researching and redescribing ideas around work ethic, machine vs human relations, and connectivity between utopian and real, and initiator of Free mapping project, a digital platform calibrating alternative culture-political landscape of self-organised liberal associations/projects, and coordinator of p2p&hackercare, a translocal agency.

Read her articles: TRANSBOUNDRY MIGRATION OF CARE: PANDEMIA AFTER 8TH OF MARCH (EN), ТРАНСГРАНИЧНАЯ МИГРАЦИЯ ЗАБОТЫ: ПАНДЕМИЯ ПОСЛЕ 8 МАРТА (RU)

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist.

Read her articles and interviews: ON THE LOOP

Ivan Isaev

Ivan Isaev is an independent curator, based in Moscow. He curated platform Start, Winzavod, season 2014-15, and “Leaving Tomorrow” exhibition (2015, Moscow), participated at Infra-Curatorial Platform at 11th Shanghai Biennale (2016). He is a co-founder of «Triangle» curatorial studio (Moscow, 2014-2016) and later initiated platform blind_spot. Ivan Isaev is now a curator of Garage Studios program at Garage MCA, Moscow.

Read his article: THE LAST SPARKS

Anna Kamay

Anna Kamay is an independent curator and cultural manager hailing from Yerevan, Armenia. Anna organizes community-based art projects with the goal of using public space and art to meet local needs and manages Nest Artist Residency and Community Center at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Yerevan.

Read her article: JUGGLING DINOSAURS, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE, (IT WOULD BE) NICE TO MEET YOU, TOO

Victoria Kravtsova

Victoria Kravtsova has studied International Relations in St. Petersburg and Berlin. In Berlin she is active in NGO projects in Eastern Europe, co-organizing seminars and exchange programs in the fields of environment, human rights, gender equality and civic education. Victoria receives a scholarship from Heinrich Böll Foundation and is engaged in writing her thesis “Between the ‘posts’, out of the void” where she traces the travels of the contemporary feminist discourses to and from Central Asia.

Read her articles and interviews: EMBRACE YOUR ANTITHESIS, WANDERING POETICS OF CENTRAL ASIAN MESTIZAS, WHERE THE ROSES GROW, Interview with Madina Tlostanova Part I and Part II, БУМЕРАНГ КОЛОНИЗАЦИИ

Melikset Panosian

Melikset Panosian is a writer and translator from Gyumri, Armenia. He participated in artistic projects focusing on the troubled past of Gyumri, borders, conflicts and consequent traumas since 2012. Panosian contributed to a number of literary magazines in Armenia such as Queering Yerevan, Gretert and Yeghegan Pogh. He also participated in the translation of Hannah Arendt’s “We refugees” into the Armenian language. Melikset Panosian’s published works include art book “Out In Head” (2012), “Silent Stroll”, a novella he authored in 2014, and the Armenian translation of Kardash Onnig’s “Savage Chic: A Fool's Chronicle of the Caucasus” published in 2017.

Read his article: (IT WOULD BE) NICE TO MEET YOU, TOO

Leah Peirce

Leah Peirce (b. 2002 in Berlin, Germany) is a Berlin-based poet, with Georgian and English background.  She works with words, sound, images and performative art. Her multilingual poems explore the fluidity of languages, the barriers they bear, how language holds culture and visa versa.

Read her poetry: LEAH PEIRCE

Daria Prydybailo

Daria Prydybailo is a curator, researcher, founder of the TRSHCHN platform and co-founder of the NGO Art Matters Ukraine.

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE, ВАГІТНІ РЕВОЛЮЦІЄЮ, ВЗАЄМОПОВ'ЯЗАНІ ТА ВЗАЄМОЗАЛЕЖНІ

Thibaut de Ruyter

Saltanat Shoshanova

Saltanat Shoshanova is currently pursuing her Master's degree in History of Arts at the Free University Berlin. Her research interests include art in connection to queer and feminist theory, queer migration, decoloniality and post-Soviet space. She is an activist and co-organized several queer feminist conferences in Vienna and Berlin.

Read her article: ON LANGUAGE OF SUPREMACY: MEDINA BAZARGALI IN CONVERSATION, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE, ÜBER SPRACHE DER VORHERRSCHAFT: GESPRÄCH MIT MEDINA BAZARGALI (DE)

Julia Sorokina

Yuliya Sorokina is freelance curator of contemporary art, lecturer, tutor, author of texts, lives and works in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Antonina Stebur

Antonina Stebur is a curator and researcher. She studied visual and cultural sciences at the European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) and at the School of Engaged Art of the art group "Chto Delat? (Saint Petersburg, Russia). She is a member of the artist group #damaudobnayavbytu ("Woman comfortable in everyday life"), which examines the feminist agenda in the Russian and Belarusian context. She has curated a number of exhibitions in Belarus, Russia, Poland, France and China. Her research areas and curatorial interests are: community, re-composition of everyday practices, feminist critique, new sensibility, grassroots initiatives.

Read her articles: ICH LIEBE DICH!, ANOTHER PRODUCTION DRAMA, МЫ СЁННЯ ЗНАХОДЗІМСЯ Ў ІНШАЙ ВЫТВОРЧАЙ ДРАМЕ, 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE

Annika Terwey

Annika Terwey is a German-Italian new media designer & artist. She studied visual communication at the Berlin University of the Arts and graduated from the new media class. In her work, she is exploring new forms of communication through interaction design, video installation and exhibitions. Her interest range from environmental science, new technologies and human perception.

Read her article: ON LANGUAGE OF SUPREMACY: MEDINA BAZARGALI IN CONVERSATION, ÜBER SPRACHE DER VORHERRSCHAFT: GESPRÄCH MIT MEDINA BAZARGALI (DE)

Alex Ulko

Alexey Ulko was born in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in 1969. After graduating form Samarkand University with a diploma in English he obtained an MEd TTELT degree from the University of St Mark and St John (UK). Since 2003 he has been working as a freelance consultant in English, Culture Studies and Art for various cultural organisations. Has been making experimental films since 2007 and is an active writer about Central Asian contemporary art. His current artistic interests: experimental cinema, photography, visual poetry. Member of the European Society for Central Asian Studies, the Association of Art Historians (UK) and the Central Eurasian Studies Society (USA).

Read his article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE, THE SHIFT OF THE PARADIGM IN MODERN CENTRAL ASIAN ART, THE OTHER EAST

Lolisanam Ulug

Lola Ulugova (Lolisanam) has been an activist in Tajikistan since 2000.  She was the founding director of Tajik Bio-Cultural Initiatives a non-governmental organization dedicated to Tajik arts and environmental issues. In 2013, she wrote and produced the nation's first 3-D animation film, a short designed to promote awareness of environmental issues among children. Previously, she has produced several cultural DVDs archiving Tajik dance and biocultural diversity; was a Field Production Manager on the documentary Buzkashi! By Najeeb Mirza (Canada); from 1999-2005 was the manager of Gurminj Museum. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Turin, Italy and an undergraduate degree in Russian Language and Literature. She was a Global Cultural Fellow at the Institute for International Cultural Relations of the University of Edinburgh in 2017-18 and participated in Central Asian-Azerbaijan (CAAFP) fellowship program at the George Washington University at Elliott School of International affairs in 2019.

Read her article: 2019 CURATOR'S CHOICE, NUDE ART AS A MIRROR OF SOCIETY

Katharina Wiedlack

Katharina Wiedlack is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of English and American Studies, Humboldt University Berlin. Her research fields are primarily queer and feminist theory, popular culture, postsocialist, decolonial and disability studies. Currently, she is working on a research project focused on the construction of Russia, LGBTIQ+ issues and dis/ability within Western media. http://katharinawiedlack.com

Read her article: IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO MAKE FILMS QUEERLY THAN TO MAKE QUEER FILMS

Олексій Кучанський

Олексій Кучанський - дослідник і критик експериментального кіно та відео-мистецтва, есеїст. Живе і працює у Києві. Цікавиться політиками комунікативного експериментування, екософією Ф. Ґваттарі, не-есенціалістською екологічною теорією, постгуманістичним фемінізмом, процесуально-орієнтованою філософією. Колишній учасник активістської ініціативи Occupy Kyiv Cinemas - руху проти комерціалізації і знищення комунальних кінотеатрів Києва. Співавтор художнього проекту komaxa. щоденник резистентності - лабораторії молекулярного страйку в умовах цифрової праці.

Читайте його статтю: КАМУФЛЯЖ. ПЕДАГОГІКА КСЕНОФІЛІЇ

 

Kundry Reif

Kundry Reif is an aspiring curator, artist and cultural sciences academic.

Read her articles: I am not toilet paper, ARTISTS FROM CENTRAL ASIA (EDITORS PICK)

People

Ira Konyukhova

Ira Konyukhova is an artist, writer and instagram feminist activist. She studied Physics in Moscow and fine art in Mainz, Reykjavik and Media Art and Media Theory at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HFG), which she finished with diploma in 2017. In her practice, she explores the connection between female sexuality, pop-resilience and colonial technological practices which are embodied mainly but not only in video, sculpture and installation. Her works have been presented on various international festivals and exhibitions, including DocLisboa, Athens Biennale, Teneriffa Espacio del Arte, Exground Film Festival e.t. Konyukhova was a grantee of Rhineland-Palatinate Media and Film Promotion Prize, BS Projects Residence Program as well ifa travel grant.

Ina Hildebrandt

Ina Hildebrandt is an art historian and cultural journalist. Born in Kazakhstan, she grew up as a so-called Russian-German in the south of Germany. After spending years of total assimilation she developed a strong interest in her cultural roots. Several long travels and stays took her to Easter-Europe over Russia to Central-Asia. Thereby she started to focus more on those regions also as art historian and journalist. She lives and works in Berlin. 

Tamara Khasanova

Tamara Khasanova is an emerging art professional and aspiring young curator. Born in Ukraine into a Ukrainian-Uzbek family, and later moving to the UK and the US early in life, she was exposed to various social dynamics while perceiving everything through the lens of her cultural legacy. This experience led her to question ideas surrounding cultural hegemony, national identity, and globalisation in the context of Post-Socialist states. In her professional and academic practice, she is concerned with a lack of representation of Eastern European and Central Asian regions on a large scale and committed to developing a sustainable dialogue between parts of the world so dear to her heart. Currently, she is doing a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Studio Art in San Francisco, CA. She starts her M.A. program in Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts, New York this Fall.

Pavel Metelitsyn

Pavel Metelitsyn is a software engineer and developer focusing on interactive data presentation, user interfaces and web technologies. He is driven by the idea of making the information more accessible through interactivity and gamification. Working together with creative agencies he implemented interactive multimedia stations for Neues Historisches Museum, Frankfurt/Main, made a kiosk app for a permanent exhibition at Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Frankfurt/Main. Besides that, he works with a wide range of clients from FinTech Startups to national research institutions, helping them to collect, process and present the business information. Pavel holds an M.Sc. in Mathematics.

Sascia Reibel

Sascia Reibel is a graphic and product designer. Her focus lays on printed matter, especially books and posters, with a strong dedication for typography. She engages in projects within the field of culture, art, and education. She studies communication design at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe and has also studied in the design master program of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China. Her work has been honoured with several awards, including «Most Beautiful Swiss Books», «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world», «Bronze Nail, ADC», as well as the «Badge of Typographic Excellence, TDC New York.

Thibaut de Ruyter

Thibaut de Ruyter is a French architect, curator and critic who lives and works in Berlin since 2001. In the last ten years, he has organized exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bochum, Museum Kunstpalais Düsseldorf, Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt, HMKV in Dortmund, EIGEN + ART Lab and CTM in Berlin, Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź and CRP/ in Douchy-les -Mines. One of his latest projects is a travelling exhibition co-curated with Inke Arns for the Goethe-Institut: « The Border », that calls into question the dividing line between Asia and Europe in the former Soviet states. Since 2017 this exhibition was exhibited in St Petersburg, Moscow, Tashkent, Almaty, Krasnoyarsk (u.A.) and ended its trip in Erevan in 2019. His areas of interest range from new media to spiritism via "exhibitions that are not exhibitions". Most of his projects are related to everyday, pop or underground culture. He has been the German correspondent for the French magazine artpress since 2003.

Iryna Dzhava

Iryna Dzhava is a teacher, translator, cultural project manager and marketing specialist. Her vision is better and accessible education to everyone. She is emphasizing the importance of the Humanities in our education. Iryna is interested in art and literature. She is the one to show you, how to create your very first etching picture and to inspire you to look deeper into the biographies of some famous people of the last century. Iryna was collaborating with TransitoryWhite as a UX- and marketing adviser between January and October 2020.

 

Chinara Majidova

Chinara Majidova graduated from the International Law Department of Baku State University in 2010 and has since worked as a writer, painter and video artist. She has been a contributing photojournalist and writer for the Ajam Media Collective, working on projects such as Mehelle charting the disappearance of the historic Baku district called Sovetski, and for Chai Khana, a multimedia platform covering diverse events and issues in the South Caucasus. She has also participated in a number of local and international group exhibitions spanning art and journalism and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Cultural Heritage Policy and Management at the Central European University in Vienna. Chinara was doing an internship at TransitoryWhite in July 2020.

Daria Prydybailo

Daria Prydybailo is a curator, researcher, founder of the TRSHCHN platform and co-founder of the NGO Art Matters Ukraine. Her background includes +7 years in leading cultural institutions of Ukraine such as National museum complex Art Arsenal and CCA PinchukArtCentre, as well as independent curatorial practice with a strong focus on the body in contemporary art, sensual turn, sound art, and in-situ projects. She worked on large-scale international projects such as International forum Art Kyiv, the First Kyiv Biennale of contemporary art ARSENALE 2012, and Ukrainian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Daria was working with TransitoryWhite as an editor and advisor on Ukrainian art scene since December 2019 till October 2020.

Willi Reinecke

Willi Reinecke is a film director, writer, and researcher on Lev Vygotsky's Psychology of Art at the Institute for East European Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). He is teaching at Szondi-Institute for Comparative Literature and Institute for East European Studies. He worked as assistant director of the documentary film "Familienleben" which premiered at Berlinale 2018. The film was nominated for German Documentary Film Award and was awarded prizes at Saratov Sufferings Festival (RU) and Neisse Filmfestival (GER). He's currently working on documentary films for Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V. Willi was collaborating with TransitoryWhite as editor and adviser since March 2019 till July 2020.

Sholpan Zhanuzakova

After a 20 year career in the global corporate sector, Sholpan gained an MA Degree in Contemporary Art in 2017. She is based in London and is currently an independent researcher. Her trans-disciplinary research interests include Industrial Colonization of Kazakhstan and The Effects of Colonialism on Language. Sholpan holds an MBA Degree and consults in Art & Business Strategy & Communications. She worked at the Education Department of documenta 14 in 2017. Sholpan holds a university degree in Language Studies as well. Sholpan was helping with sales strategy in November 2020.

You are looking for: central asia  

23rd July 2020

Adieu, Utopia

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18th June 2020

The Other East

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Interview with Krëlex Zentre
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"Untitled", from the series "Chronicle", series of drawings, 15X20 cm each, ink on paper, 2016
Nikita Kadan
Unveiling Lenin, video on IG-account
Vova Vorotniov
Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych
Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych
Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych

***This text is part of the TransitoryWhite Nr. 2 Not The East, which can be ordered via this e-mail. The issue contains several texts and poetry in five languages as well as photographic works by Sasha Kurmaz. And now - have fun reading!***

 

An old bus appears amid a deserted, sunburned landscape. It carries several people who emerge for a brief second only to reboard the vehicle, soon disappearing on the horizon and leaving no traces of their passing. This description is a fragment from a video work by the Ukrainian artist Nikolay Karabinovych. By addressing the depths of his family history and multinational identity, he creates stories that resonate with today's issues of multiculturalism and national politics. In this video, he references the experience of resettlement—something his own family of Greek Jewish descent had to endure. Today, thousands of residents from Ukraine have found themselves in a similar situation concerning the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas. Karabinovych’s work raises questions about the place of a person and whether the landscape in which a person previously lived has a memory. 

The border is also the horizon.

Ukraine has always been known for its black soil and natural resources, even though exactly those endowments historically have been at the root of many conflicts and tragedies. Ukraine’s painful past and the nation’s history shape current intellectual debates. Attempt to distinguish Ukrainian identities—layered and crisscrossed, bisected by external adventurism and internal division—quickly leads to broader questions of agency. However, it is worth noting that Ukraine has always been a borderland between so-called Europe and Asia, the Scandinavian countries and the southern frontiers (the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks passed through the territory of Ukraine). I say so-called Europe only because Ukraine is - geographically - situated in its very centre and occupies a significant part of it, but stereotypically it is presented as an exclusively peripheral part of it. Here geography played a crucial role in the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural formation.

"Untitled", from the series "Chronicle", series of drawings, 15X20 cm each, ink on paper, 2016
Nikita Kadan

 

The trope of landscape occupies a prominent place in contemporary Ukrainian culture, weaving together issues of identity, memory, culture, and ideology. Nikita Kadan, one of this year's nominees for the National Shevchenko Prize, examines the landscape from these points of view in the cycle “(Un)Named”. He highlights the stories of people who found themselves on the margins of life—in particular, people who died from various forms of violence and xenophobia aroused by conflicting identities. Working with archival photographs, Kadan transfers portraits of people from the journalistic record to canvas and paper, while eliminating everything unnecessary to his subject. The focus is exclusively on people and the injuries they received. In one of his works, "Untitled" (from “The Chronicle” series), a man bare from the waist up lies face down; scars and abrasions are visible on his back. In this pen-and-ink drawing, the man’s mutilated back and torn muscles reminiscent of a field, his gashes resemble agricultural harrowing. Kadan foregrounds the subject of human casualties that have occurred due to such resource-related conflicts. He reveals to us human abjection in place of national pride and patriotism. Using his art to spotlight deep currents of xenophobia, inequality, and violence, he interrogates the way Ukrainian identity should be construed today. It is a fraught question.

 

When I look at Kadan’s works depicting violence, I see today's people—ordinary citizens and soldiers, their disrupted families, their relatives’ grief. When I look at Karabinovych's bus moving into an empty space, I think about internally displaced people (IDPs) who dream of returning to their homes. With time, history tends to repeat itself, and with it, violence and the thirst for profit and domination reinstate.

 

When we turn to the sun rising on the horizon, do we only see nature or the war’s demarcation line, people who flee or equip their lives to withstand shelling? The horizon line is indissoluble from the demarcation line now. But who and when will sew it? 

Unveiling Lenin, video on IG-account
Vova Vorotniov

 

The physical line of demarcation runs precisely in the east of Ukraine (part of Donbas area - coal-mining district), where the war has been going on for the sixth year, since spring 2014. Many families were forced to find themselves on opposite sides of the demarcation line and have difficulties, each time coming together. Over the years, Donbas has always been perceived as a marginal region - violent and problematic. During the Soviet era, the region was marginalized due to hard work and social conditions. A similar marginalization remained in the 1990s when all these problems intensified due to the increase in economic problems and the criminalization of the region. This attitude to the place was beneficial to the political elites, so this stereotype developed every time from election to election. 

 

Once again, people perceive the region as turbulent, problematic, and complex because of the war. During the past six years, the natural landscape of the region has drastically changed—politically, socially, and culturally. The landscape of cities and villages has changed due to frequent shelling and continuous military operations. Today ‘Donbas’ is rather a metaphor for social backwardness and economic decline, labour strikes, and the oligarchs’ unlimited power. Donbas is a place for gold diggers. Although many activists and artists visit the region with a humanitarian mission and lofty goals in mind, some of these organizations treat it as a place of enrichment. The majority of the international media represent the region as something distant, like "far-East," and portray the region as something gigantic, comparing it to a big wild beast with a belligerent mood towards the Other.  

Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych

 

When, in reality, its location depends only on perception. For example, for me, it is a native region, which, wherever I am, will be close and understandable to me. The area itself it's now so huge, we just need to compare it with other regions and districts with similar regions and districts which can be found in other countries like “sister” coal-mining district Ruhr in Germany. 

 

In 2017 Ukrainian artist Vova Vorotniov crossed Ukraine on foot—from his native town of Chervonograd in the Lviv region to Lysychansk in the Luhansk region. He carried a lump of coal to exchange it. Initially, he wanted to bring coal to the capital of coal mining - Donetsk, which is very hard for many people in Ukraine, especially for those who were born in Western Ukraine or Kyiv. The war determined the artist's choreography: in Vorotniov's work, the Ukrainian East symbolically ends in the city of Lysychansk, but this city is not the extreme point of geography. 

Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych

 

In his documentation, we can observe that the landscape changed, but people's dreams and needs did not. Vorotniov's Instagram photos of the landscape and the skyline turned into a strong argument against symbolic violence, where people are divided according to the West-East principle. During the past years of political crisis, the populist politicians have appropriated the catchy statements about the need to "stitch Ukraine" as if it was demarcated.  However, these statements are inaccurate. Such disparity existed only within the information field. Vorotniov proved this point in his work. His performance became a gesture that reshaped our geography and showed us that “east” is an improper comparison to poverty. After all, our cultural and social ideals are crumbling against a reality that is no different from other places with equally severe social problems. Despite all our differences, we share the same desires and needs. All people in Ukraine want to live in a prosperous country with good social and cultural infrastructure, absent of populism and hatred. 

Still from Even Further installation. 2020. Video on loop, custom music box, text. Co-produced by PinchukArtCentre
Nikolay Karabinovych

 

Our ideas about the East are often erroneous. Often, we delve into stereotypes, simplifying the geographies to wild and exotic.  Nowadays, we look at geography and landscape from a sociopolitical perspective, establishing a social and cultural memory. Therefore, issues of identity are inextricably linked to issues of human rights. Perhaps, contemporary art does not offer solutions on how to deal with important dilemmas.  However, it tells the stories in which human life is of the highest value. 

 

Today geography is conditioned to the political imagination in which borders are formed in virtue of information battles, economic and political restrictions, and access to quality education. Ukrainian contemporary art is often a political act that opens and defines the space of critical thinking and civil rationality. When recalling the past and analyzing the present, artists ask themselves: who we are, where is our place, and what future do we want for us? — In many ways, we are all passengers on the bus that goes to the horizon.

 

 

Kateryna Iakovlenko is a contemporary art researcher, art critic, and journalist. She received an MA in journalism and social communication from the Donetsk National University. For six years she has been researching the transformation of the heroic narrative of Donbas through new media as a postgraduate thesis at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. For more than seven years she has been writing about art and culture for various Ukrainian and European media outlets. Iakovlenko worked as a deputy web editor in The Day newspaper (2013-2014), and curator and program manager in Donbas Studies Research Project at the IZOLYATSIA, platform for cultural initiatives (2014-2015). Her current research interest touches on the subject of art during political transformations and war and explores women's and gender optics in visual culture. She was the editor of the books Gender Studies by Donbas Studies Research Project (2015) and Why There Are Great Women Artists in Ukrainian Art (2019). She currently works as a researcher and public programme curator at the PinchukArtCentre.

 

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