Performance by Keti Chukhrov “Afghan-Kuzminki”. Human Oratorio

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 18:00 in the Small Gallery of Mystetskyi Arsenal (10 Lavrska St.), a series of cultural and educational events of the Visual Culture Research Center “Freedom of Expression, Expression of Freedom” starts within the special project “Double Game” of the First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art “ARSENALE 2012”.

Program’s first event features Keti Chukhrov, Russian philosopher and poet who will present her performance “Afghan”-Kuzminki. Human Oratorio. The performance will be followed by a discussion with participation of the gender theorist Olga Plakhotnik.

“Afghan”-Kuzminki”, which is the name of a consumer goods marketplace in Moscow, is a poetic oratorio about present gender, sexual and economic politics. Performed by the author in the manner of melodeclamation and accompanied with her own music, the social and political poem raises urgent issues of patriarchal and capitalist relations in modern Russia. These relations are determined by gender inequality, fixation of sexual identity and its key role in dominant market conditions, as well as by merchandising and commodity value of the feminine body. Scenes of merchants’ lives in the marketplace discursively demonstrate models of exploitation and patriarchal violence now encountered by majority of post-Soviet people.

Keti Chukhrov’s performance follows conceptually a feminist program of “Woman’s Workshop” art association, the conference “Feminism: Assemblage Point”, and presentation of the third issue of “Political Critique” under the title “Sex and Politics”.

Musical accompaniment is the classical music of G. F. Handel, J.-F. Rameau, and G. Dowland.

Keti Chukhrov is a philosopher and poet, she teaches at the History of Art Faculty of the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow, Russia). She is an editorial board member of “The Art Magazine” and the author of books and collectors of poems “To Be and To Perform. The Project of Theatre in Philosophical Art Critique”,“War of Quantities”, “Just People”.

Olha Plakhotnik is a gender and feminist theorist, Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Moderator of the discussion is Yelyzaveta Babenko, cultural theorist, activist of the Visual Culture Research Centre and Feminist Ofenzyva.

More about the project:

Partners: The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art “ARSENALE 2012”, Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Detailed information available at the following websites:,,

Contact: Yelyzaveta Babenko +38 093 021 17 53,


W ramach festywalu “Noc Kultury w Lublinie”

2 czerwca 2012, sobota, 18:00

Projekt przybliża i objaśnia sytuację twórców i ludzi kultury na Ukrainie. Na przedsięwzięcie składa się prezentacja dokumentacji z wystawy “Ukraińskie ciało” z 2012 roku, którą zorganizowało Centrum Badań nad Kulturą Wizualną przy Akademii Kijowsko-Mohylańskiej. Wystawę uznano za nieodpowiednią oraz prowokacyjną i decyzją rektora zamknięto. Przypadek ten będzie tłem dyskusji z udziałem obserwatorów, znawców mediów ukraińskich, twórców na temat swobód artystycznych i cenzury na Ukrainie:

Oksana Briuchowecka – artystka, kuratorka wystawy “Ukraińskie ciało”,

Łesia Kułczynska – Instytut Sztuki, Narodowa Akademia Nauk Ukrainy, kuratorka wystawy “Ukraińskie ciało”,

Wasyl Czerepanyn – dyrektor Centrum Badań nad Kulturą Wizualną, redaktor ukraińskiej edycji pisma “Krytyka Polityczna”,

Paweł Pieniążek – publicysta, tłumacz, redaktor serwisu rosyjskiego i ukraińskiego w “Krytyce Politycznej”.

Spotkanie poprowadzi Rafał Czekaj – filozof, adiunkt w Zakładzie Estetyki Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lubelski Klub “Krytyki Politycznej”.

Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN”

ul. Grodzka 21, Lublin


Mini-course by Eric Fassin, Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris)

June 1-2, 2012, Friday-Saturday, 18:00

As the xenophobia of the State becomes more common in France and elsewhere in Europe, should we analyze it as the reflection of the xenophobic sentiments of the people, or as a political product? In other words, does populism express the resentment of working classes, or on the contrary diverts their malaise by giving it a racist form? Eric Fassin will question the state of democracy at the time when sexual democracy is criticized in France and largely in the EU as a defense against immigration.


Lecture by David Ost, Professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (New York)

May 31, 2012, Thursday, 19:00

Poland offers a particularly provocative case of transition from a planned to a market economy in Eastern Europe, for it was here where workers most famously seemed to have won, thanks to the role of the Solidarity trade union. And yet, within a few short years, they had clearly lost. An oppressive communist regime gave way to a capitalist society that embraced economic and political inequality, leaving many workers frustrated and angry. Finally workers rejected their liberal leaders, opening the way for right-wing nationalists to take control of Solidarity. Informed by years of fieldwork in Polish factory towns, interviews with workers, labor activists, and politicians, David Ost gives voice to those who have not been heard, and proposes a novel theory about the role of anger in politics to show how they profoundly affect political outcomes


Erich Lessing’s photographs from Post-World War II Europe EXPANDED

May 26 – June 23

Opening of the exhibition: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 7 pm

Visual Culture Research Center
26 Kostyantynivska St., “Zhovten” Cinema

The basis for the project is the photography of Erich Lessing, one of Austria’s most renowned photographers and a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum Photos, who has chronicled the world and interpreted its people, events, issues and personalities. The researches and documents the culture of Central and South Eastern Europe, thereby promoting knowledge and understanding of that region. The curators Marina Gržinić and Walter Seidl were invited to select artists from the respective countries who would react to Lessing’s photographs and create parallel histories, histories which conceptually reflect the social, political and historical changes in the region with and through the medium of photography.

Erich Lessing (A)
Anna Artaker (A)
Elżbieta Jabłońska (PL)
Šejla Kamerić (BiH)
Martin Kollár (SK)
Boris Missirkov & Georgi Bogdanov (BG)
Tanja Ostojić (SRB)
Erzen Shkololli (KOS)
Ilija Šoškić (MNE)
Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor (RO)
Manfred Willmann (A)

Curators: Marina Gržinić and Walter Seidl

A project by Erste Foundation, Vienna, supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the Austrian Cultural Forum Kyiv

Opening speeches by Vasyl Cherepanyn, Jakub Forst-Battaglia and Robin Gosejohann

Exhibition: May 26, 2012 to June 23, 2012

A comprehensive catalogue of the exhibition will be available with essays by Rozalinda Borcilă, Cristian Nae, Marina Gržinić and Walter Seidl.

Within the exhibition project of the Visual Culture Research Center “Image in the Dark: Contemporary Critical Photography” in the frame of the Parallel Exhibition Program of the First Kyiv Biennale of Contemporary Art “ARSENALE 2012”

Mazepa, Peater and Ukraine – love triangle

(“Prayer for Hetman Mazepa” by Yuri Illienko)

Lecture of Dr. Sander Brouwer,professor at the University of Groningen,The Netherlands

May 25, 2012, Friday, 11:00

The figure of Mazepa is one of the most controversial issues in the dispute over their common history between Russia – for whom he is a traitor – and Ukrainians – for whom he is a national hero. Yuri Illienko’s film, however, presents not so much one or the other interpretation, but portrays Mazepa as the subject of and material for endless interpretations, that constantly quote and mirror each other.

The lecture is organized in the frame of PATTERNS Lectures project, initiated by ERSTE Stiftung and implemented by WUS Austria at the Cultural Studies Department of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Lecture will be in Russian.

“Zhоvten Cinema”, 26 Kostiantynivska St., “Anshlag” hall, 1st floor


Lecture by Michael Walzer

May 21, 2012, Monday, 6 pm

Michael Walzer – is a political philosopher, professor at Princeton University, editor of the leading American magazine on philosophy of politics and culture Dissent, Among its contributors are Hanna Arendt, Seyla Benhabib, Isaak Deutscher, Gunter Grass, Richard Rorty and others.

A lecture will be followed by discussion with Michael Walzer and Slawomir Sierakowski, editor-in-chief of Political Critique magazine.

Political Critique (Krytyka Polityczna) is an intellectual community that emerged in early 2000s with an intention to fight the social, economical and cultural inequality in Eastern Europe. Nowadays Political Critique is published in Polish, Ukrainian and Russian editions.

May Congress in Kyiv

creative workers, leftist and feminist forces against censorship and discrimination

20-22 May 2012, 12:00 – 21:00

On Sunday, May 20th, 2012 at 12:00 at the Visual Culture Research Center (26 Kostyantynivska St., “Zhovten” Cinema) the opening of the first ukrainian May Day Congress of Creative Workers, left-wing and feminist forces will take place. The united May Day Congress aims to combat all manifestations of artistic and political censorship, as well as gender and sexual discrimination.

May Day Congress of Creative Workers is an assembly of artists, theorists, curators, editors, activists and all those involved in activities in the field of alternative culture and humanities. Apart from censorship and political repressions against the Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv and the Pussy Riot action group in Moscow, we are going to talk about sexual politics and violence in our society. The Congress will be running under the feminist slogan “the personal is political” covering the marginal issues of the mainstream discourse: the patriarchal order of sexual relations, discrimination against women by social and legal norms, the anti-abortion law, the law against “homosexual propaganda”, etc. We encourage creative workers, leftist activists, feminists to unite for the development of alternative cultural, gender, and sexual politics. We need international involvement of all those interested in the local mechanisms of adoption and implementation of such decisions.

The program of May Day Congress will include presentations, discussions, screenings, book fair, demonstrations, poetry readings, concerts with the participation of international community of artists, intellectuals, and activists.

Organizers: The May Day Congress of Creative Workers (Moscow, Russia), Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine)


May 20, Sunday

Visual Culture Research Center (26, Kostyantynivska St., Zhovten Cinema)

12:00. Curators and Participants Marathon: the Tasks of May Congress.

Nikolay Oleynikov (artist, Chto delat? Group, May Congress, Learning Film Group). May Congress: Fantastic Tasks, Cosmic Fails, Empyrean Hopes.

Arseniy Zhilyaev (artist, curator, Russian Socialist Movement, Creative Workers Union). Creative Workers Union: the Experience of Self-organization. The Production of Art, Knowledge and Politics in the Project “Pedagogical Poem”.

Pavel Arsenyev (poet, Laboratory for Political Actionism, Street University, Student Action), Oleg Zhuravlyov (sociologist, ОD-Group, Student Action). Street University and Its Politics of Resistance.

Isabel Magkoeva (Russian Socialist Movement). New Forms of Protest Movement in Russia. From # ОccupyMoscow to #ОccupyAbay.

Nikolay Ridnyi (artist, SOSka art group). Self-organization and the Construction of Non-hierarchical Communication System. Kharkiv Apartment Exhibitions by way of Example.

Nikita Kadan (artist, REP group). “Hudrada”: School of Interdisciplinary Interaction.

Zakhar Popovych (Left Opposition, “GasloInfo” Internet Edition). Copyright as the Mechanism for Implementing Censorship in the Internet.

Dmitriy Vilensky (artist, Chto delat? Group). The Future of May Congress.

Discussion: Which Cultural Policy do the Left-wing Need: Biennale (Kyiv Arsenale 2012) VS Self-organized Assemblies (May Congress).

15:00. Feminist section

Yelyzaveta Babenko (culturologist, Visual Culture Research Center, Feminist Ofenzyva, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Private is Political. Introduction to Feminist Strategies of Resistance.

Alena Tkalich (Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi”). Women’s Labour Rights.

Nina Potarska (journalist, Left Opposition, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Reproductive Rights of Women.

Galyna Yarmanova (gender theory researcher, Feminist Ofenzyva, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Feminist Strategies of Separatism: Why and From Whom.

Daria Rachok (Direct Action, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Sexism in Leftist Circles. An Attempt of Analysis.

Denys Gorbach (marxism historian, Autonomous Workers Union, Leftist Feminist Initiative). An Interpretation of the “Women’s Issue” in the Context of the Leftist Movement: “Exploitation” Instead of “Femicide”.

Serhiy Kutniy (marxism historian, Autonomous Workers Union, Leftist Feminist Initiative). Women’s Emancipation and the Political Proletariat.

18:00 Video section and duscussion with the authors: Learning Film Group, Chto delat? Group, Masha Godovannaya, Activist Video Laboratory.

20:00 Sound: YouTube diving and Ipod battle for the participants of the Congress.

21 May, Monday

9:30. Maidan Nezalezhnosti

Taking part in the Ukrainian trade unions action against the reforms of the Labour Code

Visual Culture Research Center (26, Kostyantynivska str., Zhovten Cinema)

15:00. Arts and Publishing Book Fair. Talk with the editors of magazines: “Political Critique” (Ukraine), “Commons”, “Prostory”, “Political Critique” (Russia), “Translit”, “Chto Delat’?” newspaper, Moscow Art Magazine, Free Marxist Publishing.

18.00. Speech by Michael Walzer (Professor, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, editor of political magazine “Dissent”, USA). Terrorism and the Just War.

LabCombinat Art Space (31-a, Nyzhnioyurkivska str.)

20:00 Concert: “TechnoPoesia” group, “Arkadiy Kots” band.

22:00 Poetry night: Pavel Arsenyev, Roman Osminkin, Kirill Medvedyev, Adrian Mitchell, Bertolt Brecht, Abay Kunanbaev and others.

22 May, Wednesday

13:00 Monument to H. Skovoroda, Kontraktova Square

Anti-censorship action in defense of the rights and freedoms of artists and workers (Pussy Riot, Visual Culture Research Center etc.). Anti-censorship posters city exhibition and sticker campaign.

Participants of the exhibition: Ivan Brazhkin, Alexander Burlaka, Alexandra Galkina, Anton Litvin, Viktoria Lomasko, Oleg Mavromatti, David Ter-Oganyan, Nikolay Oleynikov, Roman Osminkin, Natalia (Gluklya) Pershina, Haim Sokol, Nikita Kadan, Sveta Shuvaeva and others.

Music accompaniment by “Arkadiy Kots” band.

Participants: Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv, Ukraine), Feminist Ofenzyva (Ukraine), Left Feminist Initiative (Kyiv, Ukraine), “Krytyka Polityczna” magazine (Ukraine), “Commons”: Journal of Social Critique (Ukraine), “Prostory” Literary Magazine (Kyiv, Ukraine), “Liva” Internet Magazine (Ukraine), “Direct Action” Students Union (Ukraine), “Hudrada” Artist Union (Kyiv, Ukraine), SOSka art-group (Kharkiv, Ukraine), “Chto delat?” Group (Russia), Creative Workers Union (Russia), Russian Socialist Movement (Russia), almanac “Translit” (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Free Marxist Publishing (Russia), “TechnoPoesia” group (Sankt-Petersburg, Russia), “Arkadiy Kots” band (Moscow, Russia).

Curators: Yelyzaveta Babenko, Nikolay Oleynikov

Working hours: 20-22 May 2012, 12:00 – 21:00


Yelyzaveta Babenko +38 093 021 17 53,

Nikolay Oleynikov

For more information please visit:


A discussion and music action by “Krytyka Polityczna”

May, 2, 2012, 7 pm

Debate with Stephane Amsellem, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Paolo Do, Raimar Stange and Agnieszka Tarasiuk Moderated by Igor Stokfiszewski

Moderated by Igor Stokfiszewski

A discussion on contemporary forms of censorship of art, which considers the tensions between freedom of speech, shared values, economic factors, political expectations towards culture, political correctness as a practice of masking social issues, and real social struggles.

From 9 pm a music action:
Marcin Masecki – piano
Candelaria Saenz Valiente – vocals

Stephane Amsellem, #Occupy Geneva, Switzerland
Vasyl Cherepanyn, Visual Culture Research Center, Ukraine
Paolo Do, ESC Atelier Autogestito, Italy
Raimar Stange, art critic, Germany
Igor Stokfiszewski, Krytyka Polityczna, Poland
Agnieszka Tarasiuk, Residential Arts Centre in Wigry, Poland

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststr. 69, Berlin


photographs by Yevgenia Belorusets
dedicated to the everyday lives of LGBT families in Ukraine

3rd of May 2012 at 18:00

The exhibition will run from the 3rd to the 20th of May 2012 at the following address:

Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv (26 Kostyantynivska St., “Zhovten” Cinema, Metro: Kontraktova Ploscha)

Working hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00-21:00

Within the framework of the project of the Visual Culture Research Center entitled: “Image in the Dark: Contemporary Critical Photography”, which is part of the parallel program of the 1st Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art ARSENALE 2012, we invite you to attend the opening of the exhibition by Ukrainian photographer and artist Yevgenia Belorusets – “A Room of My Own”. The exhibition organisers are also proud to announce a performance by Ukrainian artist Alevtyna Kakhidze to take place on the opening night, entitled: “On the subject of gender discrepancies among inhabitants of the planet Geten”

This exhibition is dedicated to the everyday lives of Ukrainian LGBT and Queer families, who have to overcome harassment and threats of violence on a daily basis because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Queer is a political position. It offers an alternative to common binary oppositions within society, such as male vs. female, homosexual vs. heterosexual, or norms vs. aberrations. It also rejects marginalisation, social exclusion and discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

“A Room of My Own” consists of a series of documentary photographic portraits and testimonies by the stars of this project, who the artist met during trips to various cities across Ukraine.

Through fragmented sketches of domestic life, with all its joys and pains, Yevgenia Belorusets and the heroes and heroines of her project tell their personal stories, affording us a brief glimpse of what lies behind the thick curtain which ordinarily separates their private lives from their public identities.

Silence surrounding the subject of homosexuality both enforces discipline upon and discriminates against the everyday reality of queer people and queer families. Society’s judgement splits people into two camps according to which two sexes people choose to form a family. There are those who can speak about their personal lives, and those who are forbidden to speak it aloud. As a result, one group of people are accorded greater value and relevance simply because of a mythological idea of what constitutes “normality” – a standardisation of human life.

The photographer’s artistic and political intention is to make the invisible visible. To do this, she uses neutral photo-portraits and dialogue with interested parties. Her goal – to reveal that which is hidden – involves overcoming alienation in order to uncover a closed-off world where the participants in this project have found themselves against their will.

The heroes and heroines of “A Room of My Own” agreed to talk about their everyday lives without embellishment, despite the risk they face of being publicly judged.

Texts accompanying pictures, which the photographer wrote down based on interviews with them, are an integral part of the exhibition.

An important element of Yevgenia Belorusets’ artistic statement is her intention to deconstruct negative imagery associated with transgender and homosexual people, which is built on stereotypes and on a desire not to know more about the lives of queer people.

Unfortunately, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia are widespread in Ukraine. These attitudes impose severe limitations on the personal freedoms of homosexual and transsexual people.

This type of social exclusion can and should be stopped. All of us are equally responsible for ensuring that this happens.

The exhibition will include visual material about a demonstration called “Shut it down and archive it!” (Zakryvay i archivuy!), which took place in protest against censorship of the work of the Visual Culture Research Center at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and the Center’s eventual closure by the Executive Board of the University. It will also include work made especially for this demonstration by architect Oleksandr Burlaka.

Curator: Nataliya Tchermalykh

Designer: Aleksandr Burlaka

The exhibition will run from the 3rd to the 20th of May 2012 at the following address:

Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv (26 Kostyantynivska St., “Zhovten” Cinema, Metro: Kontraktova Ploscha)

Working hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00-21:00

Organisers and Partners: Visual Culture Research Center, Insight NGO, Prostory Journal for Literature and Arts, Heinrich Böll Foundation.

“A Room of My Own” in the media::

Contacts for additional information:

+38 (0) 975948013 Yevgenia Belorusets

+38 (0) 672327475 Nataliya Tchermalykh