Beyond the Square was made with Mariana Panchuk, Marta Vaz, Natalie Samovich, Evgeniya Pavlenko and her students, Vitaliy Gorduz, Mykyta Gapchuk, Serj Korenev, Sergeiy Yakutovich, Elena Fadeeva, Pinhas Fishel, Irina Dzhus and Sasha Sukhetska, Nataliya Andreeva, Viktoria Shibistaya, Roman, Larissa, Oleksiy Imas and Inna Imas and Maximillian and Eric, Anton Ovchinnikov and his students, Anton Safovov, Viktor Zotov, Valentina Masalitina, Katerina Lisunova, Alena Vezza and Yaroslava Chumachenko.
The title “Beyond the Square” attempts to signal a double meaning. On one hand to go beyond that visual grammar of conflict, the imagery of Independence Square that was re-iterated in the media. On the other, a going beyond into the aftermath of those events. To take a sense of feelings, hopes, desires, fears and aspirations, a view on the present days of Ukraine and its people, their place and their stories.
During the events leading to February 2014 in Kyiv, there was an explosion of international media reports on Ukraine. The visual representations of conflict have their own language. It is a language which is understood, replayed and re-enacted in the visual vocabulary of revolution inscribed in the bodies of people. The media iconography of conflict articulates specific narratives very well, but it is often a language of generic motivations, sometimes of misrepresentation. Many times, it wedges a distance of understanding between audience and the typifying of the other. Identity is everything but being a subject of recognition is at the same time being shaped by the norms of that recognition. When we face a picture of a person, whose voice is that artefact an expression of? Who shapes the knowledge that is constructed about who we are and our aspirations? Who tells the stories of ourselves?
This is necessarily a fragmentary engagement, a diversity of experiences, and so the medium of this work is not a singular object such as a film or a book. Instead, it is a collage of materials, testimonies and different kinds of contributions from each participant. They share equal ground in its voicing. Central to this work are questions of representation, self-representation, testimony, and memory. Different elements are juxtaposed: different modes of text (written by the participants or by me), images, films, and audio and video interviews. Rather than condense meaning, they intend to multiply its possibility in dialogue.
Manuel Francisco Sousa, December 5, 2014
The cameras used in this project were kindly provided by Sony Portugal.