Artist Cinemas presents

Artist Cinemas presents

Artist Cinemas

Yuriy Hrytsyna, Varta1, Lviv, Ukraine (clip), 2015.

June 17, 2020
Artist Cinemas presents
War and Cinema: Week #1
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e-flux is pleased to present War and Cinema, a six-part program of films, video works, and interviews put together by Oleksiy Radynski. It is the second program in Artist Cinemas, a long-term, online series of film programs curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film.

War and Cinema will run for six weeks from June 17 through July 29, 2020, screening a new film each week accompanied by an interview with the filmmaker. 

War and Cinema
With films by Yuriy Hrytsyna; Andriy Rachinskiy and Daniil Revkovskiy; Forensic Architecture; Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux; Dana Kavelina; Oleksandr Steshenko, Kateryna Libkind, Pavlo Yurov, Roman Himey and Yarema Malaschuk; and interviews with the filmmakers by Oleksiy Radynski, Oleksiy Kuchansky, and Kateryna Libkind

Convened by Oleksiy Radynski

These days, the world is equal in confusion. What will tomorrow be like? Are we going to have jobs? Are we going to be uprooted? Are we going to be alive at all? These questions have become a new norm all over the globe. Still, they are nothing new for many of us—those of us who in Spring 2020 were already inhabiting the vast parts of the globe ravaged by wars. So, as authoritarian rulers everywhere are declaring the first-ever war on a non-human entity, some of us humans, having lived through a real war, are more equal in this confusion than others.

Filmmaking has always been linked to making war. Modern technologies of perception are often deployed on the battlefield before they are adopted by film industries worldwide (a process described by Paul Virilio in War and Cinema (1989), a book whose title this program borrows). Current wars weaponize the image itself—its ability to mobilize and manipulate—and deceit is amplified to unimaginable proportions in the online realm. At the same time, film movements and “new waves” constantly emerge in countries or regions marked by wars. Filmmakers are suddenly showered with dramatic stories to be turned into films with varying levels of cynicism, while dirty money raised at war is laundered by investing it into the arts (with the film industry providing one of the most convenient havens for this). 

This film program traces various cinematic engagements with the war raging in the Eastern margins of the European continent for over six years now—a war that was sparked by the military occupation of Crimea by the Russian military in Spring 2014, and that subsequently consumed large swaths of the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine. The program does not represent the fruits of the alleged “boom” in Ukrainian filmmaking that was observed, predictably, with the outbreak of war. Rather, it looks at the margins of image production in wartime.

Some of the films included in this program question social media as an apparatus implicated in the production of strife, polarization, and violence. Some focus on class warfare as a concealed backdrop of war between nations, or use open-source intelligence to expose the perpetrators of colonial war crimes taking place in Eastern Europe these days. Others deploy storytelling as a therapeutic practice, that struggles to heal the trauma of war via means that range from documentary theater to surreal animation. One of the films, published as a postscript to this program, is explicitly unrelated to the subject of military hostilities. Rather, it represents the disciplinary society of “normal humans”—a fully able, mentally stable society with the nuclear family at its core—as a bizarre war of all against all. 

Three of the films in this program will have their online premieres at e-flux Video and Film, while three of them have been, since their creation, freely circulating online. This was their natural habitat long before the current boom of online availability of artist films and videos. Both types of films are included in this program alongside each other to celebrate the ongoing liberation of film distribution practices, when exclusive content needs to catch up with the works made to be freely available. This program also strives to enable conversations between the films that do not necessarily belong to the same cinematic worlds—even if their country of origin remains the same. Throughout the duration of the program, more information on the films, their makers, and contexts will be published on the program convener’s telegram channel.  


Week #1: Wednesday, June 17–Tuesday June 23, 2020
Yuriy Hrytsyna, Varta1, Lviv, Ukraine, 2015
64 minutes
Interview with the filmmaker by Oleksiy Radynski

Yuriy Hrytsyna’s experimental documentary looks at the dialectics of direct democracy, online mobilization, hierarchy, and violence. Its premiere on e-flux Video and Film is dedicated to the ongoing movement against police violence that is spreading across the globe.

Week #2: Wednesday, June 24–Tuesday June 30, 2020
Andriy Rachinskiy and Daniil RevkovskiyLabor Safety in the Region of Dnipropetrovsk, 2018
22 minutes
Interview with the filmmakers by Oleksiy Radynski

This work by artist duo Rachinskiy and Revkovskiy is a found footage disaster movie about a suicidal war on nature waged by humans, shot in the notoriously polluted region of Central Ukraine. The artists utilize the form of compilation film, a novel practice of moving image production that’s flourishing online. 

Week #3: Wednesday, July 1–Tuesday July 7, 2020
Forensic Architecture, The Battle of Ilovaisk, 2019
8 minutes

Interview with the makers by Oleksiy Radynski

Machine learning is used in this project to trace the invasion of Russian regular military forces in a crucial episode of the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine in 2014—an invasion Russia denies to this day. A video by Forensic Architecture is published as an invitation for viewers to explore their Ilovaisk online platform in depth.

Week #4: Wednesday, July 8–Tuesday July 14, 2020
Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux, School #3, 2017
116 minutes
Interview with Yelizaveta Smith by Oleksiy Kuchansky

This film is based on a documentary theater play developed with teenagers who lived through the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine. In 2017, School #3 won the Grand-Prix of the Generation 14plus award at the Berlinale.

Week #5: Wednesday, July 15–Tuesday July 21, 2020
Dana Kavelina, Letter to a Turtledove, 2020
22 minutes
Interview with the filmmaker by Oleksiy Kuchansky

Dana Kavelina’s new work is a surreal anti-war film poem that blends animation, historical footage, contemporary war imagery, and literary text to explore the tragedies, mythologies, and hallucinations brought to life by military conflicts.  

Week #6: Wednesday, July 22–Tuesday July 28, 2020
Oleksandr Steshenko, Kateryna Libkind, Pavlo Yurov, Roman Himey, and Yarema MalaschukInMemory of Antonina Nikolaevna of Lost Love, 2018
30 minutes
Interview with Oleksandr Steshenko by Kateryna Libkind

This film, published as a postscript to the program, borrows the format of Russian TV series to turn a sentimental love story into a dumbfounding piece of social criqitue. It’s based on a script by Oleksandr Steshenko, a playwright with Down syndrome. 

Oleksiy Radynski is a filmmaker based in Kyiv. His films have been screened at Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), DOK Leipzig, Bar Laika by e-flux, and Kmytiv Museum among other venues, and received awards at a number of film festivals. 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), and in e-flux journal. After graduating from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, he studied at Ashkal Alwan’s Home Workspace Program (Beirut). Radynski is a participant of the Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge, and politics founded in Kyiv in 2008. Currently, he is a BAK Fellow at basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. 

About Artist Cinemas
Artist Cinemas is a new e-flux platform focusing on exploring the moving image as understood by people who make film. It is informed by the vulnerability and enchantment of the artistic process—producing non-linear forms of knowledge and expertise that exist outside of academic or institutional frameworks. It will also acknowledge the circles of friendship and mutual inspiration that bind the artistic community. Over time this platform will trace new contours and produce different understandings of the moving image.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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June 17, 2020

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