The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017



Visual Culture Research Center announces the new edition of the Kyiv Biennial – The Kyiv International 2017 that will take place October 20 – November 26, 2017.

The Kyiv InternationalKyiv Biennial 2017 project aims to explore and reveal the emancipatory potential of the idea of the political International, which emerged in Europe. Today, in the age of structural crisis of global institutions — when the maintenance of a transnational status quo is constructed from violated borders, peripheral wars, and the emergence of new walls and conflicts — the idea of cross-border unity and international solidarity is of utmost urgency for the future survival of Europe.

Ukraine and the countries of the European Union share a great number of challenges and threats today. Ukraine has recently weathered several powerful new experiences: enthusiasm and disappointment at the Maidan revolution, the shock of war, ongoing infractions to established territorial parameters and protection mechanisms, and the mass displacement of people, whilst the EU has experienced increasing flows of refugees, the shrinking of its territory after Brexit, and the rise of far-right populism, becoming a battlefield for new forms of terrorism. The absence of ready-made patterns for dealing with these experiences, discontent with preexisting structures, along with a strong desire and urgent need for change, provide a conduit for an intense intellectual and creative search for the new.

We are confronted with the most pressing questions of our time by the ongoing war conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East: how to maintain safe, sustainable, free societies when both the state and international mechanisms to do so are currently proving ineffective? What forms could a new and efficient international solidarity take? What kinds of sensibilities, conceptual structures, and pathways for thinking and imagining should we develop? What might the basis for the new International become, and who are its subjects?

The Kyiv International Kyiv Biennial 2017 will take place in the format of an international forum for art and knowledge, integrating art projects with a number of institutional collaborations to create agoras for debate. Lectures, panel discussions, seminars, and workshops led by well-known historians, philosophers, economists, and practitioners in the cultural sector will converge upon artistic and intellectual pursuits for critical answers to common concerns, while a number of exhibitions will lend an alternative optics to urgent contemporary issues through the medium of the visual arts. A program of free thematic public events will also address the political, social, economic, and historical circumstances in today’s Ukraine and Europe, as well as on a global scale.

The Kyiv International − Kyiv Biennial 2017 will explore different historical forms and contemporary examples of Internationals that took place in the arts, culture, and educational spheres by investigating their methodological and communicative approaches together with their ability to imagine and create new political formats. Major emphasis will be put on the aesthetic and political relevance of modernism today, which carries a high degree of latent potential for thinking and inventing alternative societal projects critically needed worldwide at this moment. Originating in Europe, modernism spread around the globe throughout the 20th century, demonstrating the capability of being local and global at the same time, while still preserving its national particularities, along with the development of its international universality. As an unfinished project open to the future, the modernist heritage within contemporary cultural and political practices can indicate a possible exit strategy from the political deadlock of economic crisis, nationalist populisms, and war.

The Kyiv International − Kyiv Biennial 2017 is meant to function as a translation machine in a political sense – a vehicle by which to transmit local social practices and political experiences internationally, thereby constructing common tools to work with and build upon. An international political language that can define our new lexicon, map the affects that drive us, and let us express ourselves relevantly while constituting our shared points of interest, remains one of the key issues at stake today. Common European space requires a common European vocabulary to provide a basis and a platform for understanding our varied experiences, and to reflect upon possible solutions to our political problems, without hiding social reality. The Kyiv International biennial, as a laboratory of political translation, contributes in this manner to the development of a newly emerging collective subjectivity grounded in democratic internationalism.

Developing out of the structures and institutional strategies of The School of Kyiv Kyiv Biennial 2015, The Kyiv International 2017 aims to establish collaborations between civil society organizations, cultural centers, art institutions, and academia on an international basis. Realizing the biennial format as a multi-institutional political framework on an international scale, The Kyiv International Kyiv Biennial 2017 will model an institutional International, creating sustainable networks for collaboration and a space for solidarity and support that is sorely missing in the field of politics today.


Main Site: Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information (“UFO”, 180 Antonovycha St., metro Lybidska).

Visual Culture Research Center (44 Hlybochytska St., trams #14, #18 from metro Kontraktova Ploshcha).

Zhytniy Market (16 Verkhniy Val St., metro Kontraktova Ploshcha).

BURSA GALLERY (11-B Kostyantynivska St., metro Kontraktova Ploshcha).

Pavlo Tychyna Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment (5 Tereshchenkivska St., ap. 1, 3, metro Teatralna).

Artists’ Studios at 33 Soshenko (33 Soshenko St., trolley bus #18 from metro Maidan Nezalezhnosti).

Organized by Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine).

Emblem and biennial design: Experimental Jetset (Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Institutional Partners: Avtonomi Akadimia (Athens, Greece), BURSA GALLERY (Kyiv, Ukraine), Columbia Global Centers | Paris (France), DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program (Berlin, Germany), De Balie (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), Depo (Istanbul, Turkey), Depot (Vienna, Austria), documenta 14 (Athens/Kassel, Greece/Germany), European Alternatives (Paris, France), Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin, Germany), Hromadske TV (Kyiv, Ukraine), Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna, Austria), Medusa Books (Kyiv, Ukraine), National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Center (Kyiv, Ukraine), Political Critique (Warsaw, Poland), Shedhalle (Zurich, Switzerland), Studio 14 (Athens, Greece), Transeuropa Festival 2017 (Madrid, Spain), (Prague, Czech Republic).

Partners: British Council / Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, ERSTE Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, International Renaissance Foundation, Robert Bosch Foundation.