A screening of videos by Sarmen Beglarian and Milica Tomić followed by a conversation with Vasyl Cherepanyn and Arna Mačkić on the resignification and destruction of monuments in Kyiv, Ukraine and Omarska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the third edition of Monument, a collaboration with e-flux Architecture, to discuss how monuments have—once again—come to play a pivotal role in mobilizing and rearticulating struggles for recognition.
Antagonisms of Memory in Post-Maidan Kyiv
After the Maidan revolution and Russian military occupation of Ukraine in 2014, the realm of memory has also been occupied by militarism and political reaction. In the context of war and nationalist discursive dominance as one of its outcomes, ‘patriotic’ populism has been trying to externalize the Soviet period and retroactively nationalize historical memory. The policies of decommunization took a harsh and violent form in the city space destroying the imagery and monuments inherited from the socialist past. The video explores several communist memorials in today's Kyiv that are still difficult to integrate into the nation-state framework as constantly disturbing sites of political discontent. The video was produced by Polish Modern Art Foundation in the frame of the project Forming Memory. Monuments in Central Europe financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the Multiannual Program INDEPENDENT 2017-2021 and the grant program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute Cultural Bridges. It is directed by Sarmen Beglarian and Sylwia Szymaniak, camera and editing by Michał Matejko, and drone operation by Oleh Veheria. Sarmen Beglarian is an art curator based in Warsaw, Poland. He is curating Biuro Wystaw and Keret House, units of the Polish Modern Art Foundation.
Vasyl Cherepanyn is the director of the award-winning Visual Culture Research Center in Kiev, a platform for collaboration between artists, activists and academics. Despite all risks, the cultural center addresses important political questions such as the position of former Soviet countries in the EU, the alarming situation with the rise of far-right in Europe, and the Russian-Ukrainian war conflict. He teaches at the Cultural Studies Department of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and is the editor of Political Critique magazine (Ukrainian edition).
Milica Tomić is a Professor at TU Graz’s Institute for Contemporary Art, and works as an independent artist, based in Belgrade, exploring interrelations between art, society and public space by researching, unearthing and bringing to public debate issues related to memory, trauma and social amnesia. Her projects often explore a multitude of unorthodox ways in which art can be created, performed, transformed and pondered.
Architect Arna Mačkić founded Studio L A together with Lorien Beijaert. In 2016, she published Mortal Cities and Forgotten Monuments, exploring the effects of war damage on a city’s inhabitants and the possibilities for rebuilding collective and inclusive identities through architecture. As of 2020, she is a member of the editorial board of the Architecture in the Netherlands Yearbook.
Monument is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and Het Nieuwe Instituut, featuring essays by Arna Mačkić, Wayne Modest, Philipp Oswalt, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Robert Jan van Pelt, Valentina Rozas-Krause, and Mabel O. Wilson, and videos by Vasyl Cherepanyn, Manuel Correa, Quinsy Gario, Dima Srouji, The Black Archives, Milica Tomić, and Sumayya Vally. From the toppling and removal of statues to ongoing debates on contested objects, buildings, and landscapes, the series reconsiders the design and construction of monuments in relation to wider processes and structures of memorialization that reify social configurations.
e-flux Architecture is a sister publishing platform of e-flux, archive, and editorial project founded in 2016. Edited by Nikolaus Hirsch, Anton Vidokle, and deputy editor Nick Axel, the news, events, exhibitions, programs, journals, books, and architecture projects disseminated by e-flux Architecture describe strains of critical discourse surrounding contemporary architecture, culture, and theory internationally. Since its inception, e-flux Architecture has maintained a dynamic international program of projects and events in collaboration with leading institutions and practitioners.
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