Oleksandr Surovtsov

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Mental Ecologies of War​ Ontology
Oleksandr Surovtsov

29 Minutes

February 15–March 15, 2023

In 2017 in Mariupol, independent filmmaker Sashko Protyah lent a video camera to his friend, odd-jobber and cinephile Oleksandr Surovtsov. As a result, Surovtsov created a durational self-portrait, documenting his life and work as a night guard in a semi-abandoned post-industrial facility in Mariupol. The dedramatization of the events occuring in the image goes hand in hand with an acute attention to the slightest gestures and details in the frame. These actions are marked by an intransitive character rather than by intentionality. Surovtsov’s Ontology is a key work of a prolific Mariupol experimental film movement, which characterized this Donbas city up to the moment it was almost completely destroyed during the Russian invasion of 2022.

This screening is part of Infrastructures, Geographies, and Elemental Relations, the first of two chapters of the film program Mental Ecologies of War​, curated by Olexii Kuchanskyi and Elena Vogman. The second chapter of the program takes place at e-flux Screening Room on March 18, 2023. See the full program here.

For more information, contact program@e-flux.com.

Labor & Work, War & Conflict
Ukraine, Experimental Film, Portraits, Industrialization, Documentary
Return to I. Infrastructures, Geographies, and Elemental Relations

Oleksandr Surovtsov is a filmmaker and photographer, who was based in Mariupol, Ukraine until March 2022. He was a factory worker till 2016. In that year he became a member of Platform TU in Mariupol, one of the few art spaces in Eastern Ukraine to promote human rights and freedom through an inclusive culture and art, and to develop critical thinking and tolerance in society. He is a member of Freefilmers, a cinemovement and NGO that promotes the decentralization of cultural processes and independent filmmaking, especially in Eastern Ukraine. Their latest projects focus on memories and archives beyond official historical narratives, and on gender violence in patriarchal capitalist society. Nowadays Freefilmers are engaged in building an activist and volunteer network of solidarity and support for Ukrainians who suffer from and fight against Russian imperialist aggression.


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