June 26, 2016 / 5.30 pm
Center for Urban History, Lviv
Historically, especially since the 19th century, literature and the arts in East-Central Europe have been politicized to a greater extent than elsewhere. Such political and ideological engagement of the arts resulted from the rise of nationalist ideologies among the many ethnic groups that were confined to a stateless existence within the Russian, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires. In Russia, a strong authoritarian government implemented strict controls over the printed media, pushing political debates into the realm of belles-lettres, and thus transforming literature into a political battle ground. The politicization of all the arts accelerated even more after the Bolshevik victory in 1917. Lenin’s pronouncement about cinema being "the most important of all arts" brought a renewed focus to the political potential of the then relatively new visual medium.
The issue of documentary cinema’s political engagement reaches a new level with some of the filmmakers involved in Babylon ’13. This project has brought together a group of over 140 filmmakers who became engaged in documenting events taking place in Ukraine since 2013. In a sub-project of Babylon ’13, a group of filmmakers and actors travelled to Mykolaivka, a town in South-Eastern Ukraine, to work with children on film and art projects that would help them deal with feelings of hostility and anger related to the war that was raging around them. The filmmakers became involved in a physical rebuilding of a school, as well as in working with its students. Through the "New Donbass" project, the documentary filmmaker Larisa Artiugina has demonstrated how documentary filmmaking can be transformed into a tool of constructive social engagement.
Please join us for a meeting with Larysa Artiugina, in conversation with Marci Shore (Yale University) and Izabela Kalinowska (Stony Brook University). The discussion will focus on the many ways of visually documenting the events that have been taking place in Ukraine since the Maidan. It will be preceded by a screening of Artiugina’s documentary "Bohdan’s Happiness".