Programme Review

DOCU/SYNTHESIS interdisciplinary art programme: fragmented exhibition

01 June 2023

This year’s interdisciplinary art programme emphasises the main precondition of the future: working on our trauma and on the unspeakable. Focusing on fragments of personal perception of the shared experience: archives, memories, diaries, testimonies, and dreams. The programme includes two installations and two events which share a theme.

 

Outside the Window, a multi-screen installation by Ukrainian media artist Yevhen Arlov, is a paradoxical combination of a mundane view from someone’s home and recordings of the routines of war. The work is based on video materials from the Ukraine War Archive project and visualises the community of witnesses, whom we have involuntarily become since the moment of the full-scale invasion.

 

During this time, our smartphones have left thousands of testimonies and gigabytes of data in digital clouds, working for different purposes. Like a neural network, we have generalised an enormous data array and formed a community connected by invisible digital and empathic ties.

 

“It is extremely important to employ the potential of art to process our experience. Artists’ work with the database of media evidence is one of the lines we plan to develop in the future. The fact that media materials from the Ukraine War Archive served as the basis for an artwork is the first and important step in this direction,” comments Roman Bondarchuk, the Docudays UA Art Director.

 

Audio installation Dream No. is an archive of recordings with accounts of memorable dreams from childhood and from the period of Russia’s full-scale war in Ukraine. The audio archive is part of the research project by the Urban History Centre in Lviv Documenting the experiences of war. Diaries and dreams of war, which unfolds on the intersection of psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy, and art. Dream No. undermines both the figure of the artist and the concept of an artwork itself. It proposes to treat dreams as artworks in themselves, and the dreamer as a creator processing reality.

 

Oleksandra Nabieva, the curator of the DOCU/SYNTHESIS programme, emphasises:

“The two installations are interventions in the public space of the cinema, one is more intense and the other, in contrast, merges into the building interior. In this year’s interdisciplinary art programme, fragmentation is a method. There is a willingness not to create artificial coherence where there are shards and fragments. At the same time, it is important for me to employ the whole range of possible and impossible interdisciplinary instruments: from discussions of our dreams and macabre views outside our windows, to non-verbal artistic imagery representations and oral history heritage through the lens of decolinisation.”

 

On 4 June, at 6:00 p.m., we invite you to the lecture War, Art, Imagination, and Dreams (Classic Hall, Zhovten Cinema). Bohdan Shumylovych, who works at the Urban History Centre in Lviv and teaches at the Ukrainian Catholic University, will speak about the theory of dreams, diaries and dreams as ego documents, subjective testimonies which also form collective heritage at the same time. He will talk about the Urban History Centre’s project Documenting the experiences of war. Diaries and dreams of war, and discuss how dreams reflect the world and the times and why the trope of a dream is important in culture and art.

 

The public conversation Art practices and oral history in the work of dealing with trauma is open to everyone who wants to participate offline on 7 June at 4:00 p.m. (Classic Hall, Zhovten Cinema). Yulia Skubytska, PhD, who teaches the Trauma and Oral History: Giving Voice to the Unspeakable course at Princeton, will speak about the approaches to dealing with trauma and its communication in humanities and art. About using international experience in setting up our postcolonial optics. And most importantly, about the significance of processing trauma for the future. The conversation will be moderated by Oleksandra Nabieva, cultural researcher and curator of the DOCU/SYNTHESIS programme.

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The 20th anniversary of Docudays UA is held with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, US Embassy in Ukraine, the Embassy of Ireland in Ukraine, the Embassy of Denmark in Ukraine, the Embassy of Brazil in Ukraine, the Polish Institute in Kyiv and the Czech centre Kyiv. The opinions, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments or organisations of these countries. Responsibility for the content of the publication lies exclusively on the authors and editors of the publication.


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