The still is from the film Don’t worry, the doors will open (dir. Oksana Karpovych).
Several Lines is a two-day film screening series featuring films by Ukrainian filmmakers Oleksiy Radynski and Oksana Karpovych, and works by Lithuanian artist Laura Stasiulytė. The series focuses on the dynamic post-Soviet identity, the problem and the importance of its authenticity and sovereignty, its open, ever-changing and nuanced reality.
All the films in the screening interweave at least several time zones, infrastructures, activities and expectations. The gentle observational documentaries by Radynski, Stasiulytė and Karpovych reveal the urban environment of the Podolski Bridge in Kiyiv with its mini-interactions between young people, the port of Klaipėda welcoming a cruise ship, banquet halls in preparation for corporate parties, collective gardens witnessing shopping malls emerge in the neighborhood, and the worries and concerns of the Soviet commuter train elektrichka passengers. These scenes and story lines unfold slowly and with a certain quietude, carefully including subtle nuances and elements often lost in the grand narratives.
The event will start with a presentation by political scientist Dovilė Jakniūnaitė, who will analyse the reasons and origins of the different Western assessments of the war in Ukraine and how they relate to the assessments and understanding of the post-Soviet experience and the geo-political situation in the region; how the myth of Eastern Europe keeps emerging and sinking back into the context of Western-Russian tensions. We will also talk about the necessity of our own reflection in an attempt to maintain our own subjectivity and that of our region – however it is understood – as well as that of Ukraine.
A presentation by Dovilė Jakniūnaitė (30 min.)
Laura Stasiulytė, Gala, 2005 m. (12 min.)
Oleksiy Radynski, The Film of Kyiv. Episode One, 2017 m. (8 min. 15 sek.)
Laura Stasiulytė, Landing, 2007 m. ( 7 min.)
Oleksiy Radynski, Circulation, 2020 m. (11 min. 24 sek.)
Introductory presentation (10 min.)
Oksana Karpovych, Don’t worry, the doors will open, 2019 m. (75 min.)
ABOUT THE FILMS
Laura Stasiulytė, Gala, 2005 m., 12 min.
For a year the artist had been filming various corporate parties. She was interested in the very preparations for the celebrations. She filmed the work of the service staff, from setting of the tables and sound-checks to the event’s openings, the so-called welcome drinks. In the film, these moments of preparation are intercut with images of illegal garden-plots in the outskirts of Klaipeda city. At one point there had been a plan to build an amusement park on this land, yet later such development was halted, and the land was squatted by illegal gardeners almost exclusively of the Russian Orthodox background. The summer of 2005 was the last one for these gardens, just as for the crop harvest of that autumn. The first sign of the “last days” came in the form of a new shopping mall, bearing a symbolic name, “BIG”, erected near the area. These two lines are combined into a single narrative about preparation. In the first case, it is a preparation for celebration, in the other – a preparation for eviction.
Oleksiy Radinsky, The Film of Kyiv. Episode One, 2017 m., 8 min. 15 sek.
Podilsky Bridge in Kyiv is one of the world’s largest abandoned construction sites. The locals have adapted the uncompleted bridge to their own needs — from sports and leisure to risky parcour-style attempts at getting from one river bank to another. In the meantime, Kyiv’s mayor Vitaliy Klitschko is trying to figure out a way to complete the unfortunate project — with a little help from German politicians.
Laura Stasiulytė, Landing, 2007 m., 7 min.
The video captures a cruise ship that has delivered foreign tourists to the port of Klaipeda for a brief fête of entertainment, adventure and discovery. It features scenes of waiting for the hailing of the ship, its slow sail, the tourists’ landing, the rites of hospitality performed by the locals and, finally, the ship’s departure. The travellers are greeted by a group of local inhabitants who act like true “natives”. The rites include ethnic music and ballroom dancing collectives, flower-wreath-wearing maidens who serve mineral water and animal impersonators. The visitors watch the show from the balconies of their cabins. Skyscraper sized ships come to a dwarf-sized town, where they are welcomed by the “booked” locals, who are ready to demonstrate the best they have and can, while fluctuating between the states of directed friendliness, enthusiasm, weariness and boredom, between ambivalent authenticity and elementary calculus. The ships sail off while the city waves – it waves and counts what the ships have left for it on the shore.
Oleksiy Radinsky, Circulation, 2020
Circulation presents the landscape and cityscape of Kyiv captured in a perpetual loop from the viewpoint of Kyiv’s ring railway, representing the gaze in permanent displacement, flight or purposeless wandering; a crucial experience for the uprooted, fleeing and/or dispossessed masses of human beings that are set in motion by the global military, economic and climate crises. The train’s circular movement suggests a society in constant transition without destination; a transition from the Communist ‘never’ into the Capitalist ‘always,’ revealing the city’s decrepit post-industrial areas, its newly-built affluent housing estates, its crumbling pieces of social infrastructure and parts of its ‘Westernised’ city centre.
Oksana Karpovych, Don’t worry, the doors will open, 2019 m., 75 min.
Shot over summer and winter seasons on the elektrychka, a typical Soviet commuter train that travels between Kyiv and several small provincial towns, Don’t Worry, The Doors Will Open invites us to share a ride with working-class, mostly marginalised passengers and vendors. Following a number of people and families from one grimy wagon to another, from station to station, we are immersed in their everyday struggles and learn about the dilemmas of building a new post-revolutionary identity. Don’t Worry, The Doors Will Open is an atmospheric and intensely human vérité portrait of Ukrainian society on the move.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Oleksiy Radynski is a filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. His films have been screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam, Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Docudays IFF, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and S A V V Y Contemporary (Berlin), among others, and have received a number of festival awards. After graduating from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, he studied at the Home Workspace Program (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut). In 2008, he cofounded Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge, and politics in Kyiv. His texts have been published in Proxy Politics: Power and Subversion in a Networked Age (Archive Books, 2017), Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and East Europe: A Critical Anthology (MoMA, 2018), Being Together Precedes Being (Archive Books, 2019), and e-flux journal.
Oksana Karpovych is a film writer, director and photographer born in Kyiv, living and working in between Kyiv and Montreal. Her debut feature documentary film Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open won the New Visions Award at RIDM in 2019, received an honorable mention at Hot Docs and played at numerous film festivals. In her personal projects, Karpovych explores the everyday lives and oral histories of the common people and how state politics invades the personal sphere and influences the communities she intimately documents. Karpovych is a Cultural Studies graduate of the “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” National University in Ukraine and a Film Production graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. She is currently staying and working in Kyiv.
Laura Stasiulyte currently lives and works in Vilnius. She studied Photography and Media Arts at Vilnius Academy of Arts as well as Institut D´Art Visuels Orleane in France, and has participated in a number of workshops and internships at such institutions as IASPIS, Stockholm (S); Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin (DE); KulturKontakt Gastatelier, Vienna (A), Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich (UK), among others. From 2010 she has been teaching at the Photography and Media Art Department of the Vilnius Academy of Arts.