Plan B: GogolFest organizers show unique ARK-squat and ask Kyivans for help

Author : Yulia Poterianko

Source :

International theaterical program, to be held in Theater in Podil, is under the threat of failure
09:59, 5 September 2017

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Very soon, already on September 7, a large-scale art festival GogolFest starts in Kyiv. It will be the tenth such event which will gather about 900 participants from 12 countries. The program planned for about 300 cultural events. During 10 years of its existence, the festival has grown to a large multi-day interdisciplinary event and made its way to the top of the best European festivals according to the EFFE association.

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Vlad Troitsky

GogolFest survives in Ukraine, roaming from site to site. According to the founder of GogolFest, Vlad Troitsky, this year the organizers decided to "settle" their offspring in Dovzhenko Center in Holosiivsky district of Kyiv, but then received proposals from Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy site and the Theater in Podol, which called to conduct a theatrical program in its new building on Andriivsky Descent. So this year GogolFest was planned to be held immediately in three locations. But whether everything will be realized, it depends largely on the people of Kyiv and guests of the city.

ARK-squat - the most ambitious and completely unique

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The ARK-squat promises to become the most large-scale project of the festival this year. It is impossible to describe it with one or two words - a too large idea is behind it. In fact, it will be an art-residence in which artists, sculptors, directors, actors, musicians live and create. In a good old but abandoned and doomed building, once occupied by animation studio "Borysfen", right now there is a kind of continuous creative process - the space around the clock is filled with art objects, meanings and symbols. In the days of the festival, viewers will be inside this process. And then heavy equipment will come and ruin all this, making room for something new.

Director of GogolFest Maxym Demsky said that they deliberately did not change anything in the building, leaving flaky walls, worn floors and skewed doors such as they were before the creation of the squat. They just provided electricity and water to create minimal living conditions for artists. Moreover, according to the concept, the authors create here, using for their work everything that was found in these walls: films, storyboards, papers, old technique, pieces of furniture and so on. For example, the artist Zhanna Kadyrova is now working on the project "Second Hand", within the framework of which she creates new objects from the old tile that has been knocked off the walls. What else is included in her project, it will be possible to see after the opening of the squat on September 7.

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One of the installations in the building will tell the real story of a certain Anatoly Ivanovich, a conditional employee of the Borysfen studio. The installation will be called "Laboratory". Its author is Anna Naduda. Already, this project looks like a cabinet, or a living room filled with the real things of people who worked here in reality. What it will be as a result, no one knows - in the building of squat artists constantly find some artifacts and enter them into a new reality. All this is carefully documented and will be preserved.

Among other announced projects - a large art space under the patronage of Victoria Burlaka, art projects "Safe dreaming" as a reflection of the phenomenon of rest, "Zlyva", based on the legend of the Flood from the book of Genesis, from Valdemar Kljuzko and much more.

Some of the exhibits in the ARK-squat will be interactive. In any case, a unique work of art with a height of four floors and made by many authors will be considered fully completed only with the arrival of spectators. The mural-mandala on the facade, created by artists from the association Artheaven - Space Іmagination will meet the guests at the entrance. The final view of the image is not known to anyone - its creation is a process, like everything that happens in the ARK-squat. The end in this process will be the demolition of the building. After that, some other story will begin.

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Theater in Podil and related risks

The new building of the Podil Theater, which earlier caused a storm of emotions among the people of Kyiv, should take GogolFest's theatrical program, and for today, according to the creator of the festival Vlad Troitsky, this is the most problematic part of the organization. The building is fully completed and ready to invite artists and spectators, but has not yet been commissioned. Dissatisfied with the appearance of the theater, Kievans demand either change the facade or even demolish the entire structure, while experts assert that there is simply nothing safer, equipped and adapted to modern theater performances in Kyiv. The city authorities are now deciding how to get out of this conflict.

GogolFest was taken hostage to this difficult situation. The organizers have made arrangements with directors and troupes from different countries to conduct performances in the Podil Theater at the festival, but there is no permission from the city administration.

"A lot of events are held, for example, in the Mystetsky Arsenal, but it has not been put into operation ... Now this is just a nit-pick, and it requires public opinion, to say:" Guys, really - this is the property of the city. I do not discuss the Theater itself visually, but in terms of packaging, there's nothing better. And now you would like to destroy it and say no? Well, at least for the time of GogolFest, give us the opportunity! It’s just 11 days, let it breathe, "says Troitsky.

In this case, according to him, the festival does not have a plan B in case the permit is not given. “We have no another plan. There will be simply a real international scandal. It is impossible to explain to our foreign partners why we can’t play in such a building... " says the founder of the festival with his straightforwardness.

Therefore, the organizers of the festival ask everyone to bring this story to the maximum publicity. Any civilized means are suitable - from posts in social networks to petitions to city authorities. Moreover, according to Demsky, now any information support will help, since organizers simply can’t be engaged in promotion on their own. And it is extremely problematic to involve sponsors in holding such events.

Plans for VDNH (Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy)

After a one-year break, GogolFest returns to VDNH. On the territory of the expocentre this year the most large-scale events of the festival will be held, and most of them are included in the so-called "green" program. Such visit is fully covered by a subscription, the cost of which for today is 420 UAH (after a few days it will rise in price to 470 UAH). The program includes events at all venues for all 11 days. Activities of the "red" program can be visited for a fee.

So,at VDNH, on September 9 and 10, everyone will be able to participate in the assembly and painting of a huge ark (the ark – is the theme of the current GogolFest). As a result, this construction will be part of the large-scale show uTopia, within which it will interact with two huge dolls, and in the end it will take off. How exactly the giant ark will take off, the organizers are keeping secret. But they assure that it will be unique performance.

In Pavilion No. 3 at VDNH the abstract sculpture workshop will be located. And in the daytime and at night there will be two completely different exposures. In the central hall, there will work an exhibition of augmented reality, which is better to be visited with your favorite gadget. In Pavilion No. 2 small visitors could take part in many activities from the children's program, including a puppet theater, in the work of which any child can participate. Also, much more is planned.

And both movies and music will be included to the GogolFest program. It’s a big film program from the critic Andriy Alferov, the Old Fashioned Radio project "Fountain" with alternative music and jazz, a 24-hour marathon of Ukrainian electronic music, two concerts from the project "Ear" and other musicians. According to the organizers, it makes sense to taste this variety of art. At least, at one of 11 days of a large-scale festival.

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