The project Doing Things Together was an initiative of Lava-Dansproduktion in collaboration with the Jam Factory Art Centre in Lviv and Ÿ-Gallery in Minsk. Six artists from Ukraine, Belarus and Sweden collaborated and created manifestations, events and workshops for people living in the neighbourhoods around the Jam Factory Art Centre and Ÿ-Gallery. We see cultural activities as a way of space making – space being a practiced place (location). A location or place consists of size, scale, texture, dimension of walls, ceilings, rooms; lighting conditions, topographical features but equally of that which makes place (locality) a space; the movements and interactions we have with each other. To use public space fully and freely, a space needs to be perceived independent from state power and citizens need to experience this space as theirs to be fully engaged in civil society. With this project we wanted to create connections between neighbourhoods and venues and between people inhabiting the neighbourhood. An embodied approach that allowed for reflection on society and the self through accessible events and actions engaging the local audience.
Since Jam Factory Art Centre was still in the process of being renovated at the time of our first visit to Lviv, we decided we would work with children between 10 and 13 years old to make a film using their experience of the neighbourhood as a source. The children may be living in the area when the center will be fully operational (2020) and through working with them now and connecting them to the center we wanted to create a link to the future. Six workshops took place introducing the children to the various ways film and photography can manifest using their connection to the neighbourhood (Pidchamze). At the end of the working period we curated an exhibition with the results of the workshops. When preparing the workshops during the second period in Lviv our biggest fear was that we would not succeed in attracting enough children that wanted to participate, but the opposite turned out to be true. The workshops were enthusiastically attended and the exhibition was visited by both children, parents as well as people from outside of the area.
When we arrived in Minsk November 2016 to acquaint ourselves with the neighbourhood of Ÿ-Gallery it seemed that the boundaries of the area were quite undefined and the architecture diverse: Apartment buildings, empty factories, working factories, wide streets, Victory Square and a very particular neighbourhood: Osmolovska. Together and separately we walked the neighbourhood and listened to the history of Osmolovska as told by Andrej Ezerin. The architecture was very present but it was more difficult to see where people were meeting and what the infra structure of the neighbourhood was. At the end of that week several strategies were proposed to find out more about the different aspects of people living and passing through the neighbourhood. In Minsk we had the advantage that we already worked with each other in order to realize the workshops and exhibition in Lviv and were therefore able to work spread out in the neighbourhood while being in touch at night to exchange information and give updates. The various interventions and processes came together in an exhibition named ‘Silent City’.
A collaboration between Ÿ-Gallery – Minsk, Jam Factory Art Center – Lviv and Lava-Dansproduktion – Stockholm.
Participating artists: Bazinato, Sergiy Petlyuk, Kateryna Radchenko, Shida Shahabi, Sophia Sadovskaya and Sybrig Dokter.
Project management and production in Lviv: Bozhena Zakaliuzhna and Anna Yakovenko
Project management in Minsk: Anna Chistoserdova
Project management for Lava-Dansproduktion: Sybrig Dokter
Financial support by the Creative Force Program of the Swedish Institute