Beyond the Square was made with Vitaliy Gorduz, Evgeniia Pavlenko with her students, Sergii Korenev, Irina Dzhus with Oleksandra Sukhetska, Mykyta Gapchuk, Sergei Yakutovich with Pinhas Fishel and his children, Nataliia Andreeva, Mariana Panchuk, Viktoria Shibistaya, Roman Beleveri, Larysa Troianovska, Oleksiy and Inna Imas with their sons Maximillian and Eric, Anton Ovchinnikov with his students and coleague Anton Safovov, Viktor Zotov with Valentina Masalitina, Katerina Lisunova, Alena Vezza, and Yaroslava Chumachenko; and with assistance by Marta Vaz, Natalie Samovich, and Elena Fadeeva.

(Kyiv, 2014)

The title “Beyond the Square” attempts to signal a double meaning. On the one hand to go beyond the visual grammar of conflict, articulated in the imagery from the Independence Square (Майдан Незалежності) 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; to take a small 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 the people. The media iconography of conflict articulates specific narratives very well, but it is often a language of generic motivations, and 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 are faced with 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?

Beyond the square 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 interviews. Rather than to condense meaning, they intend to multiply its possibility in dialogue.

Manuel Francisco Sousa, December 5, 2014

Other credits

The cameras used in this project were kindly provided by Sony Portugal.