Abstract: Politics of Memory as Weapon (video)
The Politics of Memory as a Weapon.
Perspectives on Russia’s War against Ukraine
8 – 10 February 2023
Vertreibung, Versöhnung – Stresemannstraße 90, 10963 Berlin
On Friday 9 February 2023, at 14.00 CET (13.00 GMT).
Varvara presented her paper, The Art of Self Determination – How the creative communities in Ukraine and the Baltic can resist the Russia’s Invasion on the second day of this major conference in Berlin on culture and war organised by European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, Warsaw and Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe, Oldenburg in collaboration with Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation, Berlin.
Abstract: Politics of Memory, as a weapon or as a shield?
Self-determination is the key word leading us to understanding how the artists from the Baltic States and Ukraine indeed can resist Putin’s aggression. Self-determination means freedom of speech and of artistic expression, which is precisely what Putin’s aggression has been set to attack.
Art cannot exist in confinement, art cannot flourish within censorship, subjugation, and oppression. Artists set themselves to break all boundaries. And that is why the future of Ukrainian artists, film makers, poets, painters, musicians- is a bright future.
Today Ukrainian art is about reassessment – of the outdated ‘Big Brother’ ideology, which infantilises Ukrainian language and makes fun of Ukrainian culture, known to have denied not only its originality and validity, but also denying its very existence.
The other role of art in Ukraine today is to resist violence of the war, to the death and destruction brought into every Ukrainian person’s home by Russia’s invasion. And this resistance is currently focused on documentation of the war crimes, through the process of witnessing and chronicling the war within the artistic domain- in visual arts, music, literature, and theatre.
This self-determined approach to carry on was established at the very onset of this war, and amidst the commonly felt disbelief, chaos, devastation and sadness- Ukrainian artists are managing to continue making their voices heard, even with the minimal means that come with the territory of war- who can afford a studio space when there are artillery strikes and power outages?!- yet by this perseverance it is already clear that the Ukrainian artists’ cause will be victorious, and that their role in documenting and later on, reflecting deeply on what happened, is what will be left for the humanity to witness- and for years to come.