Final events of The Kyiv International – ’68 NOW

The Kyiv International – ’68 NOW explores the political and cultural heritage of the revolt and struggle of 1968, considering the antinomies of this moment for the West and East of Europe fifty years onward. The event will take place through May 25 in Kyiv’s House of Cinema in the format of an international forum for art and knowledge.

Wednesday, May 23 at 19:00 the lecture “1968 in Germany – a Generation with Two Phases and Faces” by Aleida Assmann will take place in the Blue Hall at Kyiv’s House of Cinema.

Born between 1940 and 1950, Generation ‘68 is marked in Germany by the Second World War and its aftermath in a country in dissolution, as well as a strong desire for renewal, return to normalcy, and a settled life in the society into which they were born. This generation grew up at a time of bold technical innovation, economic prosperity, and modernization. The movement toward self-liberation was a distinctly European and Western phenomenon, propelled on by American pop culture, visions of flower power, and the dreams of Hippies. In the German context, these ideals passed through different stages: from its origins grounded in shifts of culture and lifestyle the movement turned political, and arguably even turned terroristic. The historical contribution of the 68ers, however, is not limited to what happened in the 1960s and 70s. A second revolt in the 1980s has been as equally formative in the emergence of a new Europe. Aleida Assmann will focus on both revolutionary moments and how they have changed Europe.

The lecture will be held in English with simultaneous translation into Ukrainian.

Aleida Assmann is a German historian and cultural anthropologist. From 1993 – 2014 she held the Chair of English Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Konstanz, Germany. She taught as a guest professor at various universities (Princeton, Yale, Chicago and Vienna). In 2017 she received the Balzan Price, together with her husband Jan Assmann. Her recent publications in English include Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives (2012); and Shadows of Trauma: Memory and the Politics of Postwar Identity (2016).

The Kyiv International – ’68 NOW will close with the lecture “Laboratory of the Future: Lenin’s Body between Biochemistry and Art” by Alexei Yurchak. The event will take place on Friday, May 25 at 19:00 in the Blue Hall at Kyiv’s House of Cinema.

The Soviet communist project was organized around the figure of “Leninism” – the discursive and material construct that consisted of Lenin’s texts and quotes, images and sculptures, and Lenin’s physical body in the Mausoleum. As the power center of sovereignty, “Leninism” was constant and eternal; it was the only physical body and body of knowledge that could not be questioned or transcended within Soviet political discourse. In fact, to remain “the same,” Leninism was continuously changed and reinvented throughout Soviet history: Leninist texts were misquoted and censored, Leninist images were invented and retouched, and Lenin’s physical body was re-sculpted and re-embalmed. Meanwhile, the biochemical science that maintained and transformed Lenin’s body remained at the center of this ongoing political reconstruction. What does “Leninism” look like from the perspective of science with its biological labs, chemical tests, and anatomical procedures? How do the political, the artistic, and the biological intersect in this unique project? What does this perspective tell us about the iconoclastic movements directed at Lenin’s images today?

The lecture will be held in Russian.

Alexei Yurchak is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He received PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University in 1997. He is the author of Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (Princeton University Press), which won the 2007 Vucinich Book Prize. In 2014, the Russian edition of the book that was rewritten and expanded by the author himself won the “Enlightener Prize” for the best non-fiction book of the year. He is currently working on a book that explores the unique bio-chemical science that has maintained Lenin’s body in the Mausoleum in Moscow.

The full program of events can be found here:

Admission to all events will be free of charge.


Organized by Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Emblem by Experimental Jetset, Amsterdam 2018

Institutional Partners: De Balie (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), European University Viadrina (Frankfurt (Oder), Germany), KrytykaPolityczna (Warsaw, Poland), Medusa Books(Kyiv, Ukraine), (Prague, Czech Republic)

With the Support of Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Goethe-Institut Ukraine, Prince Claus Fund.

Media Partners: Політична критика, Update, Телекритика, Хмарочос