Culture In Depth, 18/06/2017

No(W) Future in Kharkiv

In Edenia, a City of the Future exhibition, which received its name from a utopian novel by Kalman Sigman opens in Yermilov Centre in Kharkiv. For two years fourteen artists from around the world have been working on artworks that were supposed to look like they came from “the museum of the imaginary city of Edenia”. The aim of the art project is to look at our dreams from different angles.

The exhibited works ranged from paintings and sculptures to video installations and sound art. The themes are different: some artists are looking into the past, 20’s and 30’s of Soviet Ukraine, others are looking forward. For example, there is a video tour of Asia in XXI century, and some artists describe the idea of an ideal homeland.

According to artist Yevgeniy Fiks, the organizer of the event, the main idea is to contemplate present-day hopes for a better world through the prism of the XX century history. The project looks back into the history of how the future of Ukraine was imagined/predicted/anticipated in 1918 as multicultural, progressive, and forward-thinking and connects that vision to the current forecast of Ukraine’s and world’s future. 

No(W) Future is about the tension between hoping and living in the moment. Babi Badalov asks the spectators to stop hoping for a better world and to roll our sleeves and do something about the future today. In his Several Attempts at Connecting Borders of Homelands and Promised Lands Curandi Katz reflects on the policy of geography and creates maps of territories/countries that are disputed or unrecognized by either international community or by other countries. Born in, Live in (a State of Womenkind) by Agnès Thurnauer is about migration of (mostly Ukrainian-born) female artists and intellectuals during the XX century around the world, and about the place female artists and intellectuals hold in the history of art and ideas of the same period.

There is also an area with the projections of Kharkiv for 25 years in the future, where fountains regulate temperature and ethnic communities live together in peace and harmony. “We would like to suggest the audience to think what we do, when we live in a dream about the future, and don’t see what is happening around us today. So at least for one day or week try not to do this. I think something would change if all people could stop live in their dreams for a while”, said co-organizer Larissa Babii.

The exhibition presenting the works of artists from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Ukraine and other countries will last till July 9. The organizers also plan to show this exhibition in New York and Paris.

Text: Iryna Klymenko

Pictures: Sergey Solonskii, Iryna Klymenko