Silent Witnesses

25-28 Augus 2016


Taras Shevchenko National Museum

*A thing extracted from reality, or a photographic image serving as a “log”, a registry of a given event are controversial in their ostensible authenticity and pretentious truthfulness. Photography is a fragment of the world framed by a lens, just as an extracted thing is a splinter of a shattered reality, still in need of its mode of representation. At the same time, a photograph registers a choice, a subjective judgment regarding reality, and thus can become a trustworthy witness. But is it possible to completely control one’s own way of taking pictures? In becoming captivated and amazed by these fragments, we lose sensitivity to their reception. How is it possible to capture the image of reality, the one that they bear witness to?

Per contra, it is only in further circulation within representational channels (media, museums, and publishing outlets) that values are attributed to these materials. These channels can often deceive – methods of material selection and interpretation are tainted by the ongoing rivalry between the dominant versions of memory. In an attempt to analyze different types of exhibitions and publications regarding the events in Ukraine, we will work with materials pre-selected by the channels of representation.

How does the shifting context solidify perceptions of an image and its interpretation? Which procedures are capable of liberating these testimonies from ascribed meanings and reintroducing them to actual relations? How do these “silent witnesses” become art objects to actively mediate the unseen (of our actions and experiences), when do they start to speak of judgments, conclusions and interpretations? Is the void of silence still looming behind?

* an excerpt from the “Silent Witnesses” seminar announcement