Interdisciplinary art programme Docudays UA

DOCU/SYNTHESIS Interdisciplinary Art Programme explores the medium of cinema at the intersection of various disciplines, creates space for critical reflection and interaction between documentary film, contemporary art, science, and technology, with a special focus on the local context. Founded by NGO Docudays in 2021, the programme has a new edition every year during the Docudays UA film festival.


DOCU/SYNTHESIS is made of artworks and exhibitions, media/video art selections, film screenings, and the discussion section: thematic talks, lectures, moderated conversations with the participants.

The programme features both completed curated artworks and artworks created as part of the programme, related to the main festival theme and based on the original curatorial concept. In 2021–2023, the programmes included modern, archival, and non-linear films; analogue, digital, interactive, algorithmic, and immersive media; installations and performative forms.



Well-trodden Connections, multimedia exhibition

A dialogue of contemporary Ukrainian media artists Photinus Studio, the SVITER Art Group, and Ivan Svitlychnyi with popular science films by the Kyivnaukfilm Film Studio — Eternal Search (1967), Mykola Amosov (1971), Captivate with an unprecedented task (1982) — and cybernetic theories.

Curator: Oleksandra Nabieva.

Heart, brain and other devices. How are popular science films, cybernetics and digital media related?, discussion

The discussion is dedicated to the multimedia exhibition Well-trodden Connections. Its name is a phrase from Mykola Amosov’s popular science work, in which he analyses how the human brain works and describes the mechanisms of thinking and cognition, trying to predict what artificial intelligence will be like.

How do art, science, and technology interact? What are the media of expressiveness in contemporary art, and why is cinema also a medium? What digital media do contemporary artists work in? Why should a work of art comprehend both itself and its own means of expression? Is there cybernetic-art, and how is it related to popular science cinema?

Speakers: Lera Polianskova, Tetyana Kochubynska. Moderator: Oleksandra Nabieva.


Welcome, No Entry

The exhibition of photography by Oleksandr Chekmeniov included two photography series made in the closed mental hospital in Ovruch in the late nineties: a coloured reportage series and a black-and-white series of staged portraits.

Location: IZONE Creative Space; online in the ЗD format on DOCUSPACE. The event had audio descriptions and was accessible to blind people and people with vision impairments.

Curator: Oleksandra Nabieva.

Lifespan of the Subject in Frame Artist talk: Oleksandr Chekmenyov and Vira Baldyniuk
The origins of documentary photography are strongly tied to the manifestation of events, places, and phenomena hidden from the public eye. Why are mental conditions so closely tied to othering in culture and art, and why does their perception range from sacralisation to stigmatisation?

How do publications and photographers deal with such complex topics? Is there such a genre as a social portrait? Why are photographers still working with an analogue medium – photographic film – in the digital age?

Cartoon. Author: Anatolii Surma

As part of the retrospective we present a selection of contemporary amateur 3D animation. Images by Anatolii Surma became the basis of the festival’s visual concept of 2021.

Genius loci, or an expedition to ‘real’ art
The search for the ‘new’ is a definite symptom of art. Significant artistic trends included in textbooks and encyclopaedias were often fueled by the ‘non-professional’, ‘peripheral’ discoveries of artists, and then appropriated, leaving no names or traces. Art still does not stop searching for a convincing form of expression. Is there a historically and culturally sensitive way of dealing with the experiments of non-professional artists?

The conversation between Roman Bondarchuk and Evheniya Molyar that was dedicated to the animation by the self-taught artist Anatolii Surma and the visual style of his cartoons which became the basis for the festival’s identity in 2021.

Sheffield DocFest x DOCU/SYNTHESIS

A collaboration with the Sheffield DocFest as part of Alternate Realities, the festival programme that pushes the boundaries of traditional documentary film using new media. Part of the DOCU/SYNTHESIS 2021 programme (the exhibition Well-trodden Connections) was included in the main Alternate Realities exhibition: Out-of-body Experience, a work by the Photinus Studio group of young Ukrainian media artists, as well as the popular science film Captivate with an unprecedented task (1982, dir. Lev Udovenko) by the Kyivnaukfilm Film Studio.

Within the framework of the UK/Ukraine Cultural Season, the programme "Password: Palianytsia."


Invasions 1.2.3 is a VR film by Alevtina Kakhidze and Piotr Armianovski made after the liberation of Kyiv region from the Russian occupiers in 2022. In it, Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze meets with friends in Irpin, Muzychi, Mostyshche. Thanks to the 360° format, the reality of the Russia–Ukraine War is manifested in every inch. The film was commissioned by Manifesta 14 (Kosovo, 2022).

Invasion: From a scientific term to an artistic metaphor

A discussion about the form of artistic expression at the intersection of performance and film; about the characteristics of working with VR in the context of the relevant landscape of today; about the interaction between science disciplines and contemporary art; and about how the agency of plants is linked to war and colonialism.

Guests: Alevtyna Kakhidze, Piotr Armianovsky and Oleksiy Kovalenko.

Moderator: Oleksandra Nabieva.


Outside the Window

Video installation by Yevhen Arlov, media materials from the Ukraine War Archive project, 2023

Modern technology allows us to work with large volumes of metadata and to archive them. Media testimonies of the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which we all generate together, allow us to think about ourselves as a community connected by invisible digital and empathic ties.

Dream No.

Audio installation based on the archive of the Lviv Center for Urban History, 2022–2023

An artwork based on materials from a project by the Lviv Center for Urban History, an archive that contains about 20 dreams recorded in various forms, and it continues to be updated.

War, art, imagination and dreams

What do we feel when we listen to other people’s accounts of their dreams? How do dreams reflect the world and time? How do they process reality and help us identify emotions? This was a lecture by Bohdan Shumylovych and a presentation of the project by the Lviv Center for Urban History, Documenting Experiences of War. Diaries and Dreams of the War.

Art practices and oral history in overcoming trauma

The discussion is about approaches to working with trauma and its communication in humanities and artistic practices, and look at the museum exhibition as a space of possibilities. It focuses on how to use international experience while adjusting the postcolonial optics, how to avoid re-traumatisation when working with memories, and on the significance of trauma processing for the future.


Speaker: Iuliia Skubytska, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), historian.

Moderator: Oleksandra Nabieva, cultural researcher, and curator of the interdisciplinary art programme DOCU/SYNTHESIS.

 31 — 9 
June 2024