Award-winning Russian film on Oct. 22 at 6:00 pm
International Cultural Center Auditorium, Oct. 22 at 6:00 pm (free)
The film's producer will speak after the film.
Sponsors: Our Texas, Dept. of History, Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, Office of International Affairs, The CH Foundation, International Film Series, and Landmark Arts.
Original Title: MUZEJ REVOLUCIJA 2015, documentary, 73 min, Russia.
Festivals & Awards:
Award of the University of Innsbruck (24th International Filmfestival Innsbruck 2015).
This film explores the role of art and artists in the anti-government protest movement in Kyiv in 2014.
Director: Nataliya Babintseva
Screenplay: Nataliya Babintseva
Cinematographer: Dmitry Rudakov, Sergey Stetsenko, Denis Melnik
Producers: Anatoly Golubovskiy, Denis Branitskiy
A revolution changes the social and political "landscapes" of a country, but first and foremost it changes the physical landscape. For centuries none of the city centers of the world capitals looked nothing like the Maidan in the last few months, which resembles a medieval town and a futuristic fantasy at the same time.
A revolution changes the functions of things, moves them from their places, mixes up the concepts. A light bulb becomes a vessel for a Molotov cocktail, car tires become building material for barricades, a shovel and a road sign become shields, and genres of contemporary art – installation, performance, happening – rule the Maidan.
As a matter of fact, art remembers its primordial archetypical functions. A musician leads the battle, a designer draws billboards, a painter illuminates shields and helmets with ancient symbols of will and power, an architect designs a barbican (fortifications).
Most of the artistic gestures shown in our film are elementary, utilitarian, naïve: we observe art that in many cases hasn't yet divided itself from the crafts, as if aesthetics is born before our very eyes. "The New Middle Ages" – that is what artists themselves call the art that originated on the Maidan.
Catapults, shields and armor, painted batons – right after the revolution these simple items that were made by artists and members of Samooborona (Self-defence forces) migrated to art exhibits and museums. The blitz museefication of the revolution and the media images it was separated into is another theme of our film. The physical space of the Maidan itself – Kiev's Independence square – during the months of the revolution turned into a total installation, a very complex and whimsically structured living organism. What is to be done with this place of memory? Should it be preserved, taken into pieces, turned into an open-air museum? What is to be done with one's own memory, one's unique and in many respects very traumatic experience? How can one overcome the emptiness that arose after such an emotional upheaval? In our film artists, curators, museum workers, and Maidan activists speculate on what it feels like to live after the main event of your life is in the past, how to deal with trauma and preserve memories.
The lively spontaneous art that emerged in the midst of the Maidan carnival in our film stands against the primitive aesthetics of the ruling elite. Modern art curators presented the cultural nullity of the "anti-Maidan" on an exhibition of objects from Mezhyhirya, the compound of former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, at the National Art Museum of Ukraine. It is symbolic that the museum itself is located right next to the Maidan, on Hrushevskoho Street, where bloodily battles of protesters against Yanukovych's special forces took place in the winter 2014. The president's compound with its cult of ceremonial portraits and meaningless gorges of luxury is contrary to the simple, functional and energetic art that emerged on the Maidan. "This revolution became a cultural overturn," says Olexa Mann from the Barbican art group. Artists, curators and museum workers became the main actors of the cultural revolution that is more important and momentous for the country then a shift of power.
For us "Revolution" Museum is not a simple assembly of objects, items and works of art. It is a depository of emotions, frustrations, trauma, insight, personal histories, and phenomena of creativity in extreme circumstances. Anyone can enter and nourish on the energy that is concentrated here. It is an OPEN STORAGE– just like in a modern European museum.