On October 26th, I took part in the Scholar Conference: "A Foreigner Turned Native: The Multifaceted Artistic Vilnius" as a speaker. At the conference, I presented a new paper titled "Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Ukrainian and American Contributions to Lithuanian Photographic Heritage," in which I focused on photographers Konstantin Kostiuk, Jury Ruin, and Andrew Miksys, highlighting their contributions to Lithuanian photography.
On October 27th, I had the honor of moderating the third session of the Scientific Conference: 'To Prevent Enemy from Winning: Art in the Information War,' which took place at the National Art Gallery of Lithuania (NDG).
I am also delighted to have been a co-organizer of this event alongside colleagues from the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute (LKTI).
I would like to express my gratitude to all the speakers: Oleksandra Osadcha, Donald Weber, Tomas Pabedinskas, and Agnė Narušytė for their complex and impressive presentations.
Some photos and theses of speakers:
Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome
Regarding The Pain of One’s Own. Ukrainian Photography After the Escalation of the
Russian Military Aggression
Since the start of the expansion of Russia’s offence on Ukraine after February 24 th , 2022,
Ukraine has become a mecca for photographers from all over the world. This ongoing stage of
war is claimed to be the best-documented conflict in human history. Ukrainian photographers
appear in the situation when they are put under the pressure of having to tell the stories of the
war atrocities, being at the same time the “objects” of the unfolding tragedy. Thus, they drop out
of the standard scheme of producing uninvolved spectatorship, suggested by Susan Sontag. In
this context, the images put even more responsibility on the one, who is looking at them, calling
on solidarity and empathy with victims. At the same time, it makes labelling these photographs
as “art” or “documentation” profoundly problematic. I’m seeking to analyze the strategies
Ukrainian photographers employ in their imagery narrating the story of Russian war crimes, as
well as the discussions on the ethics of producing and circulation of images in Ukrainian society.
Theoretical approaches to the images of violence (particularly those by Ariella Azoulay) will be
also reviewed in this context.
Aalto University, Finland
The Information Front: Ukrainian Photographers Witness War in Ukraine
The Information Front is a ‘DIY’ publishing collective that features photojournalism of the war
covered by those photographers who are most vulnerable: Ukrainian photographers themselves.
It functions as a platform to support their important work and, through circulation, to sustain
visibility of the war.
Volume One covers the first two months of the war. In Volume Two, The Information Front
takes a broader view of Ukraine’s fight for freedom by revealing photography’s crucial role in
the country’s quest for freedom and identity since the 1970s to the present day.
All profit from the sales of The Information Front goes to support the necessary work of
independent media in Ukraine by directly funding the photographers themselves. It is a
completely independent affair set up by three people, each of whom have direct stakes in
Ukraine. Kateryna Radchenko, a Ukrainian photography curator; Donald Weber, a Canadian
photographer who has worked in Ukraine since 2002, and Christopher Nunn, a British
photographer who has been working in Donbas for more than ten years.
The Information Front believes that photography, especially documentary and photojournalism,
plays a crucial role in learning about the violence inflicted and acts as a counter-measure to false
truths and propaganda spreading.
Vytautas Magnus University / Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas
The Intangible Gaze of Surveillance and Material Marks of Oppression
The paper analyses a project The Architecture of Evidence (2021) by Ukrainian artist Valentyn
Odnoviun residing in Lithuania. He has documented the traces left by the bodies of prisoners on
the metal beds in a former detention center. The artist has also photographed an old monitor with
the burned pixels, which form the “ghost image” of the inoperative surveillance cameras. This
project is discussed in the context of Odnoviun’s previous extensive photo series Surveillance
(2016–2018), which consists of the photographs of the former state security agencies’ prisons in
the Baltic States, Ukraine, East Germany and Poland. The paper analyses the equivocal
understanding of surveillance as the intangible phenomenon. The discussion of Odnoviun’s
works puts digital surveillance technologies in historical perspective and reveals the materiality
of contemporary surveillance means and images. In conclusion, the paper states that Odnoviun
exposes the materiality of the gaze of surveillance in different historical periods and this in turn
can be interpreted as symbolic resistance to surveillance and oppressions and as the
documentation of a hard evidence of crimes against humanity.
Lithuanian Culture Research Institute / Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas
Historical Parallels and Repetitions: Is There a Source Over There? – a performance by
Dainius Liškevičius in support of Ukraine
When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24 th , 2022, the media all over the world published
many double photographs seemingly proving the similarities between this war and World War
Two. Historians, political scientists and other commentators analysed the parallels focusing on
the “restorative nostalgia”, the “tyrannical notion of time”, the “fate of history” and the “deficit
of the future” that had overcome Russia. The war is now creating the future world that we do not
know yet. When we examine the parallels, a question arises: how do we know which facts
emerging from the past represent what is really past and which ones show our future? For what
has passed may return, especially because Russia has started its war with a declaration: “we can
Artists also reflect on the absurdity of repeating history. In November 22 the same year, the artist
Dainius Liškevičius created a performance Is There a Source Over There? in the Hall of the
Lithuanian Drama Theatre. First, he carefully wrapped the sculpture Source (1981) by
Stanislovas Kuzma, then masked it under a net made of rags, as if he wanted to protect it from
bombs. Having finished his work, he watched TV broadcasting only an angry Putin’s portrait.
Then, as if having received the signal of madness, the character changed his countenance. He
started filling a pool with water, watered himself, chopped a box with a sword, shuffled around
in shoes made of plastic bottles. The wild sounds of guitar ended this ritual explosion of
aggression, which was then hidden by smoke with only Putin’s portrait visible. “One does not
know,” the artist said, “if parallel worlds do exist and what happens there, but our consciousness
really does create parallels… And what if events happening in Ukraine were already happening
here? Perhaps, we are now fighting World War Three against Russia?”