The third year of the war formed certain types of narratives in media - about new heroes and those who suffered from the military operations the most. Once the images of these people disappear from the news feeds and TV screens, the human dimension of history vanishes, and state interests and ritual figures of speech of political discourse step forward and take its place. Stories of pain and onerous personal experience remain a burden for the people who became heroes only for one media day, or have never come in the spotlight because they don't correspond to the idea of "success story".
Apart from media dimension, these everyday experiences of the war and those who have returned from it (or live not far from it) exist in oral stories, private space within families, sometimes - in group discussions, social projects, where different feelings, memories, and positions of participants could be voiced. But private space is not enough so that important issues haven't disappeared and haven't been superseded by the dominant narrative about the war. This could be prevented by collecting and comprehension of "ordinary" experiences of different communities and individuals, in particular - using artistic practices that are able to absorb all the different (even contradictory) positions. Thus, the "Points of approaching" project is dedicated to overcoming the distance between those who hear and those who talk.
Combining different points of view, based on "different approaches" of artists, journalists, cultural managers, participants from different Ukrainian regions and from abroad, the project aims to become closer to the understanding of vulnerable communities' experience, and using art as a medium, make it a part of wider audience's experience. The project focuses on Dnipro and Kharkiv, the cities, where the largest volunteer initiatives, military treatment centers, and organizations helping internally displaced people are situated, moreover, they are two regional centers that are closest to the front line.
The purpose of the project - to actualize and open to a wider audience the experience of communities that are the most vulnerable because of the war, among them - internally displaced people for whom Dnieper and Kharkiv became places of permanent or temporary residence; ATO participants and veterans, often left without proper psychological care and social support; volunteers, whose need for psychological and even physical rehabilitation may be no less than veterans' need; both cities' residents, being the least institutionalized group, usually also find themselves out of public dialogue.
During the first phase, the participants spend 5 days in one of the cities, delving into the local context, meeting with potential partners, experts, activists, and target communities. They conduct their own research, which is going to result in their future art projects in spring when participants will come to the city again for presenting them.
Besides art projects, the participants (journalists) are expected to produce articles devoted to the analysis of the situation in Kharkiv and Dnipro, methods of working with traumatic memories, ways of overcoming alienation between different social groups, and reflection on the experience of "Other" and future history of Ukraine.
Artists from Georgia and Moldova will also join the project, taking into account the fact that these countries have much in common with Ukraine in terms of appearance and the nature of the military conflict. However, the rapid deterioration of the situation in South Ossetia in 2008 or frozen conflict in Transnistria, which runs from 1992 show that war can change society in many different ways, people in different postwar countries transform their memories in their own way. This experience is very important and valuable, that is why we invite partners from these two countries who can share their experiences and work with the target audience of our project.
The first one, Lucia Macari was born in Chişinǎu (Moldova) and moved to Amsterdam in the mid-2000s where she was confronted with feelings of isolation and culture shock. This led her to explore themes relating to nostalgia, survival and disconnectedness in several interdisciplinary performance pieces, though her work also deals with heavier political themes. Lucia Macari uses dark humour to engage in a discourse of trauma in her artistic practice. Through live audio-visual performance and art objects Lucia plays with themes of private versus public, conscious versus unconscious and sacred versus profane. Her sharp and wit points of view show the absurdity and comedy in the bleakest subjects and situations. At present Lucia’s primary artistic concern involves questions of value and commodification. Multilayered concepts, narrative extremism, provocation and an ongoing quest to depart from conventions are the ways in which Lucia seeks to expose and critique the weaknesses in politics, society and capitalism. Through a visual theatre of the absurd Lucia works through her own traumatic experience on a new level where the personal becomes political.
In addition, Lucia and D.Riba (her co-worker, musician) form Studio Kinematics, which conducts investigations into the use of musical structures in visual imagery, which turn into musical performances, installations, objects, comic strips and videos.
Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jintcharadze (“Sad Aris Melia” project) from Tbilisi (Georgia).
The extent of correlation between the artist duo’s works and the issues of the “Points of approaching” project could be drawn out of their own words: “We are interested in disappearing knowledge, invisible people, forgotten places, ignored spaces. With our works we create new language, mythology to derive new meanings and new visions, to restore memories, remember what is gone, create future”. “Our concepts are inspired by stories and biographies of places and people. With interventions in different contexts with our works we emphasise biography, past and present of places”.
“On the streets, bridges, blank walls. In strange cities, forgotten stations, absurd buildings, ghost bathhouses, white cubes, abandoned shooting ranges, non – existing factories. Anywhere: We play a game. Forbidden, magic and ephemeral game. Something to change all”.