Feeling the Echoes from Ukraine with Irina Rozovsky, Vlad Smolkin, and Elena Volkova


CO: The context of Baltimore around these Southern depictions of this highway, where the metropolitan areas are named for the seat of democracy, and we see all the names on the highway, doesn’t have to have to be overtly political. I see that function as subtly celebrating humanity, delving into what it implies to be human, what it means to exist in this put in time, what are the sights, the seems, the smells, of this knowledge? And, much more importantly, who are the persons who are dealing with this period of time of time? And how to greatest give folks their humanity.

IR: IR: I experienced that revelation, driving on the highway—and I’m not a textual content artist, but all these indications that are appealing to you, the personal, as you are sitting down in your motor vehicle, in your tiny bubble, and it is like the voice of God. “Come pray, appear acquire this fuel.” The ads and billboards are conversing to you, but who is that voice? In this state, that voice is usually commerce. It is capitalism calling out to you. And you are a very little puppet and someone’s tugging on your strings. It seems extremely considerably like what is occurring in Jap Europe is the similar matter. Folks are just puppets of this routine. But the nugget is the individual encounter that’s singular but shared and universal.

VS: Truly factors boil down to choice. Do you, as a individual, have a choice to say a thing, to do a thing, to not say a little something, to not do anything, to be safe and sound? Do you have a decision to are living your life in the way that you want to?

IR: Security? And option. Sure. That is what independence is.

VS: To me, Irina, your operate is these kinds of a gorgeous expression of that freedom, of obtaining that alternative. I imagine that is what is so vital about it. You’re expressing practically what we stand to lose in this war, in Ukraine and here far too, if we eliminate democracy. Which is the most useful matter that we have.

IR: It is definitely a very good-as opposed to-evil state of affairs.

VS: There’s a little something so particular about persons that are not immediately connected to Ukraine caring. A loved ones good friend is functioning in Zambia and he despatched us a photo of him with all these people today he functions with, all keeping Ukrainian flags, and it was just so great. So possibly there is one thing that visitors can do to convey them selves and how they truly feel about what’s going on. I have gotten possibly 200 email messages from men and women creating about how they really feel and wanting to help—it’s an massive amount of vitality that it’s possible could be someway channeled. Does that make perception?

CO: I consider you are conversing about creating a collaborative art piece. And it is crucial to determine out: What is the format? Where does it go? What does it do? How does it operate in the world? Maybe what you have already performed has served its purpose. The truth that you obtained 200 impassioned emails, and then you can say donate here, give cash, click on this issue.

VS: I despatched them a connection and lots of of them donated revenue, but really what is unique is every single individual’s exclusive, psychological response and a prospect for some sort of expression. Perhaps there’s a favourable way for persons in Baltimore to have an outlet to categorical themselves. And then that can trickle out into the planet in some way. Just like the image I received from Zambia—they didn’t have to get that photo. It didn’t have to get despatched to me.

EV: The outpour of aid has been rather humbling, total strangers donating hundreds of pounds to a bring about is anything that I have never ever noticed before. The money we acquire is despatched straight to our friends and spouse and children customers who are either fighting in territorial defense or are displaced. How to provide the most impactful guidance, that is on my thoughts suitable now. Also, how to support the long term Ukrainian refugees in the US. A therapeutic art undertaking could be pretty powerful—maybe that is exactly where we collaborate. 

IR: In addition to sending money, it’s possible there is some type of guidance where by people from the west could publish to those people trapped in Ukraine. I just keep in mind how thrilled folks in the USSR were being when any minor observe made it more than from somebody on the other facet, from the west. It was a feeling like, oh my God, I exist. We exist. What if individuals share their cellphone figures on WhatsApp with persons from the west and they get textual content messages of help or messages that say, I’m listed here pondering about you?

VS: It is strong when individuals that aren’t related to Ukraine create those people connections, so it’s not just amusement news.

CO: I would appreciate to see and assist artists who are primarily based in Ukraine. Would individuals individuals want to have audiences in this article see their perform or documentation? Or probably basic survival trumps all of that.

VS: It is a thing to take into consideration but we have to tread lightly. It is intricate. I hold thinking about Susan Sontag’s With regards to the Soreness of Others, and what it suggests to photograph atrocities… Effectively, there is opportunity for a important sort of task, working with artists and Ukraine and photographers. But if anything, it must be a e book or an exhibition or the two. Cara, thank you so significantly for this. It just displays your enormous empathy as a human being.

CO: It is so significant. I just would like it were a lot more, actually, and I don’t know if we arrived at something but I’m glad we had a prospect to speak about a subject matter that’s so crucial to so a lot of men and women.

IR: I’m not guaranteed what we contributed, but discussions like this need to be taking place all the time. I feel they must cancel all college courses and just have conversations like this. It could carry about a large shift in our status quo.



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