The Сonstruction festival team has revealed the complete schedule of events. After a two-year pause caused by the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, the festival is coming back from November 10 to 12. This eighth edition of Construction focuses on the wartime experiences and participation of citizens in Ukraine's recovery.
The main events of the Construction festival in Dnipro. November 10-12
The central theme of Construction is Ukrainian Hardcore:Learning from the Grassroots. The main topic appeals to the meaning of the word "hardcore", which is nowadays associated with underground art and music styles, however it has its origin in building construction. In its earliest use the word referred to brick, rubbish, clinker, broken stone or other hard material in pieces used as a building foundation. In other words, it is a base assembled from a wide variety of materials. Andrii Palash, Construction co-founder, says,
The underground scene of the 1990s is the foundation upon which modern Ukrainian culture is built. Everything stems from it. That's why we're opening the festival with a lecture on the Ukrainian underground."
Shaping the program, the organizers primarily invited Ukrainian grassroots organizations and niche labels that operate on modest budgets, fostering new forms of collaboration. These grassroots initiatives arise as responses to solving community problems, countering dangers, and protecting common values and spaces. The entire Construction programme will take place at Dnipro Center for Contemporary Culture. The official opening of the festival will take place on November 10 at 18:00.
MUSIC PROGRAMME: BLUE HALL AND LIBRARY
This year's lineup represents spontaneously established but cohesive hubs of Ukrainian sounds and styles. The musicians are arriving from different parts of Ukraine, and to a certain extent they are the core of the communities of their cities and towns. At the same time, almost half of the lineup is dedicated to musicians from Dnipro, the hometown of Construction.
Olena Pogonchenkova, co-curator of the music program, emphasizes, "Modernity can't exist without acknowledging the past, and this is a significant theme that's evident in both the lineup and discussions. The second day of the festival is dedicated to this concept. It will feature a performance by Ihor Tsymbrovsky, a cult figure from the Ukrainian 90s who is currently being rediscovered by today's listeners. Additionally, there will be a discussion with Tsymbrovsky and music archivists Oleksandr Tsapenko and Vlad Yakovlev. This serves as a way to bridge the gap to the past of independent music and demonstrates that it's not a separate, closed era, but a narrative that persists."
Over the course of the three-day festival, established artists with a significant track record will take the stage. Musicians like Chillera (Odesa) and ujif_notfound (Kyiv) have enjoyed a longstanding collaboration with Construction. However, as Olena Pogonchenkova assures, there will be premieres and surprises. For example, the festival will feature the newly formed electronic duo swampdogs, whose debut performance the curator also recommends keeping an eye on. Also, undo despot, a resident of this year's Construction, has recently unveiled her debut full-length album, which not only encapsulates her distinctive sound but also exemplifies the possibilities of such sound in Ukrainian music. The album was released on Pep Gaffe, a label that will be represented at this year's festival by several projects.
On November 11 and 12, lectures and discussions centered around contemporary Ukrainian music and the 90s underground scene, will take place. You'll have the opportunity to hear from Vlad Yakovlev, Oleksandr Tsapenko, Ihor Tsymbrovsky, and representatives from labels like Liky Pid Nohamy, Pincet, Pep Gaffe, and Dnipropop. These discussions will be moderated by Vlad Yakovlev and Olena Pogonchenkova.
As long as the war persists, nothing you do will be enough. We say this to you, the reader of this text, because we are afraid,” – Clemens Poole
The exhibition Nevertheless, curated by Clemens Poole and Kateryna Rusetska, will present works by 11 artists and art collectives united by a necessity to split their practical and creative experiences during the full-scale war.The exhibition features works by Diana Derii with music by Ksztalt, Yevhen Korshunov, Ihor Okuniev, Petro Ryaska, Karina Synytsia, Tamara Turliun with Аndrew Lyashchuk, Tereza Yakovyna, Ørjan Amundsen, Beauty Studio, fantastic little splash, Freefilmers.
The need for active humanitarian and military activities has postponed or transformed artistic practices, so artists respond in different ways to the questions that wartime poses to them. Artistic activity opens up as something totally different.
“I'm not someone who is very connected to the seduction of beautiful art objects. I think of art, both as a curator and an artist, as a way of thinking, or an approach to a problem. This was precisely how we started talking about our idea for Nevertheless. For this reason, we came up with a curatorial proposal that was more of a prompt than an invitation to show works. We wanted to help our audience understand that what artists experienced in this period reflected the experience of society. This necessarily included a kind of anti-production, moments when your normal capacity to do what you do is limited or suspended altogether,” comments Clemens Poole, co-curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition opens at 18:30 on November 10 and will be on view till February 10, 2024.
DISCUSSION PROGRAMME: RADICAL RECONSTRUCTION. BLUE HALL
The discussion programme, prepared by the anthropologist of architecture Michał Murawski (University College London) and curator Kateryna Rusetska (DCCC), consists of three large-scale sessions to be held on November 11 and 12. The program focuses on the experiences of grassroots initiatives that are carrying out vital recovery work in vulnerable communities, as well as ideas and strategies aimed at political consolidation. According to Murawski, “Our discussion programme functions on three levels: on the grassroots level (the "hardcore"), on the level of cultural institutions/initiatives, as well as on the more "macro" level of how it is that society imagines and re-creates itself through a process of resistance and reconstruction.”
Session 1. 11 November, 17:00-18:30
Mutations of Culture: Institutional Formations Under Fire
This session brings together cultural institutions and initiatives from across Ukraine. What impact has war had on initiatives in the field of (contemporary) culture? What new institutional formations has it engendered? How have cultural institutions re-thought their programmes in order to respond to the needs of displaced people and audiences overwhelmed by full-scale war? What role can cultural initiatives play in re-imagining a different future for Ukraine after the war?
Speakers: Iryna Miroshnkyova and Kateryna Ulianova,(Pavilion of Ukraine, Biennale Architettura 2023),Diana Berg, Plaforma TU (Mariupol) Dana Brezhnieva (Museum Open for Renovation, DE NE DE), Ada Wordsworth (KHARPP). Chaired by Kateryna Rusetska (DCCC)
We see the discussion program as a bottom-up platform to connect grassroots initiatives and to give them the opportunity to cross paths and share their experiences with each other, with us and our audience. All invited speakers and collectives are engaged in rebuilding and recovery, both physical and socio-cultural, strategic planning already right now. Their activities and experience are the foundation for the present and future reconstruction," — Kateryna Rusetska
Session 2. 12 November, 13:00-14:30
Ukrainian Hardcore: Learning from the Grassroots
This session brings together grassroots and volunteer reconstruction initiatives. Working from the roots upwards, volunteer groups have an experiential understanding of what it takes to contain and sustain lives, communities, heritages and eco-systems facing disintegration and destruction. How can their rooted experiences be brought to bear on reconstruction politics at the macro level?
Speakers:Livyi Bereh (Vlad Sharapa, Ihor Okuniev and Kseniia Kalmus), Alex Thomas and Ada Wordsworth (KHARPP), Ruslan Bezkibalnyi (BUR Zaporizhzhia), Dmytro Kyrpa (Repair Together). Moderated by Kateryna Rusetska
Session 3, 12 November, 15:00-16:30
Property, Debt and Solidarity: Rebuilding the Commons
This session brings together activists, architects and experts working on social housing and on the politics, economics and ethics of socially-oriented reconstruction. How can Ukraine develop a realistic set of practices and policies for socially-oriented reconstruction? How can mechanisms of redistribution, common ownership or co-ownership and debt cancellation help to ensure that reconstruction benefits communities rather than corporations?
Speakers: Anna Pashynska and Tetiana Pashynska (Co-Haty), Yuliya Yurchenko (Greenwich University), Olenka Gu (Commons Journal), Oksana Dutchak (Commons Journal), Oleksandr Anisimov (Aalto University/New Housing Policy). Moderated by Michał Murawski. Dedicated to Oleksandr Kravchuk
Honoring the memory of Oleksandr Kravchuk, a leftist economist and the editor of Commons (Spilne) media, Michał Murawski says, “We are dedicating the discussion programme to Oleksandr Kravchuk who would have been 38 this week, and who planned to join us in Dnipro for Construction. Oleksandr devoted his life and work to imagining a more just, equal and empathetic future for Ukraine; and to producing concrete ways to bring this future into being through interventions into Ukraine's political economy.”
MOVIE PROGRAMME. VENUE:AUDITORIUM
The festival's film program, curated by Oleksandr Teliuk, focuses on the phenomenon of communities—from communities linked by ideological or spiritual interests to groups united by a common challenge in times of war. Each of the films presented is inspired by the idea that the grassroots connections and horizontal trust are fundamental to Ukrainian society.
11 November, 16:00. Short movie programme Civil Pitch 2.0 by Docudays UA
The second edition of the Civil Pitch 2023 includes the short films 89 Days (directed by Pavlo Dorohoi), Under the Wing of Night (directed by Lesia Dyak), Guests from Kharkiv (directed by Halyna Lavrinets), and Our Robo Family (directed by Anastasia Tykha). Pavlo Dorohoi and Halyna Lavrinets will also give a talk. This selection of four films is dedicated to the connections between civil society activists and documentary filmmakers who want to achieve change in society. 89 Days tells how the Kharkiv underground turned into a bomb shelter during the first days of the war, and then reopened the transportation network. Under the Wing of a Night shows the story of 11-year-old Olesya, who was forced to live far from home during the war, but has been able to keep in touch with her family. Guests from Kharkiv tells about Nelya, the owner of a museum-estate, who helps the refugees. Our Robo Family is a short film about a club for children who are fond of robotics and programming, and the community united by this hobby.
11 November, 18:00. One Day in Ukraine, 2022. Director: Volodymyr Tykhyy
The film presents one day—March 14, 2022. The film documents a day in the life of a pop singer, video engineer, historian, restorer, polar scientist, and pensioner at a time when the suburbs of Kyiv became a zone of devastating fighting and looting by Russian occupiers. Thousands of Kyiv residents moved to the subway. People stopped dividing their days into weekends and working days and began to number the days of their lives from the date of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
12 November, 17:00. Zarvanytsia/New Jerusalem, 2021. Directors: Yarema Malashchuk, Roman Khimei. A talk with Roman Khimei.
Zarvanytsia/New Jerusalem is an anthropological movie sketch about the phenomenon of a modern religious community. United by a common worldview and the ritual of the procession, pilgrims who do not know each other temporarily form a strong self-organized community. The Christians travel hundreds of kilometers from Kryvorivnia (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast) to the Holy Place in Ternopil Oblast. Among them, you can find a young boy who is going on a pilgrimage for the first time, a local channel host, a photographer who captures the whole process on camera, and an 80-year-old woman. All the believers are very different, but their faith in the Christian miracle unites them on this challenging journey.
For those who are not currently in Dnipro but want to support the project, the festival launches Remote Construction. It's an opportunity to participate in the festival even if you can't physically join it. Make any donation starting from €15 / UAH 600 to Buy Me a Coffee or Monobank. After the festival ends, you will receive a digital gift—the Remote Construction box with recordings of discussions, music performances, and additional content from the festival.