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The Reconstruction of Ukraine. Ruination / Representation / Solidarity, online symposium, September 9-11, 2022. “The Reconstruction of Ukraine: Ruination / Representation / Solidarity” devotes particular attention to cities, architecture, art, culture and psychological trauma – but the scope of the conversations it aims to start is broader. In due course, the discussions held during the symposium may coalesce into myriad projects, initiatives and experiments undertaken by government institutions, municipalities, educational and cultural bodies and other more interstitial actors. The ambition of this symposium is to establish a platform for dialogue, facilitating communication, collaboration and constructive argument between diverse actors and initiatives.

George Edwards (Zetkin Collective) on war, nationalism and the “anti-climate lobby” (via Arts of the Working Class): “The latest prognosis of this particular war was spelt out in a flurry of reports from the IPCC; the most recent, described as ‘an atlas of human suffering’ by the chief of the UN, demanded ‘rapid, deep and immediate’ emissions cuts in all sectors to ensure an inhabitable planet for all. In step with the science, many wish this conflict to mark the beginning of an intensified programme of decarbonization, ridding economies of not only Russian, but all fossil fuels, wherever their geological source. But whilst political leaders scramble abroad to secure new sources of fossil fuels – sweet-talking sheiks and summoning LNG terminals from the ground – a resourceful and committed cohort, let’s call them the anti-climate lobby, refuse to accept this diagnosis. The partakers in the fossil industry have seized upon this crisis, sensing it as an opportunity to enlarge and entrench economic interests rooted in fossil fuels. As the course of action prescribed by the IPCC imperils this line of business, the attempts to secure fresh investments in fossil fuel infrastructures, to lock-in production and secure profits for the coming decades may feel all the more pressing. The solutions they pose also fit within the national frame and it is with nationalist political forces that they find their most ardent allies.”

July 31st, 2022

The fundamental difference that we face in Europe at the moment between the Western approach characterized by the pursuit of peace and the Eastern one focused on liberation and independence poses a dramatic challenge – in order to survive and progress, democracy as a political regime has to be capable of defending itself also in a military way.” Armed Democracy revolves around the concepts of imperialism, liberation, fascism, autocracy, revolution, and militarization in pursuit of the world to come on Europe’s burnt out land. Conceived by the Kyiv Biennial and Biennale Warszawa from the East Europe Biennial Alliance, this special public program, curated by Vasyl Cherepanyn within the 2nd edition of Biennale Warszawa, the program is a first part of the series organized by the East Europe Biennial Alliance discussing Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and taking place in Warsaw, Prague, Kassel, and Riga over the summer and fall of 2022.

Olena Lyubchenko on Whiteness, Expropriation, War, and Social Reproduction in Ukraine (via LeftEast): “[…] when we hear on the news that ‘Ukraine is fighting a European war’ and ‘Ukraine is defending Europe’, amid images of fleeing ‘poor white’ women with children prioritized over racialized ‘Others’, ‘Ukraine’ is being made ‘white’ in the global imaginary. That is, “the injunction to ‘return to Europe’ by way of Europeanization is enabled and conditioned on the mythologies of Western civilization, and that Europeanization at once marks (promulgates) and unmarks (naturalizes) racial whiteness” [Nadezhda Husakouskaya and Randi Gressgård]. The paradox is that Europe’s existence as such has only been possible precisely because of the exploitation of global working peoples through expropriation of resources and today neoliberal economic reforms and reproduced by feminized labour.”

Vasyl Cherepanyn about the “inertness, hiding behind the European Wall” (via L’Internationale): “Many Western institutions that have been claiming ‘radical political engagement’ for years, have simply resorted to a white cube radicalism and self-satisfying humanitarianism, too afraid of acting politically beyond their comfort zone and unsettling their publics and authorities by attempting to affect the decision-making process regarding the Ukrainian cause.”

May 28th, 2022

Tatsiana Shchurko on the War in Ukraine, Entangled Imperialisms, and Transnational Feminist Solidarity, via LeftEast (May 2, 2022): “[An] uneven knowledge production and the many implications of the war against Ukraine reveal the dire need to develop a feminist anti-capitalist critique of multiple imperialisms. This language should grow from within the occupied and suppressed communities of Eastern Europe and Eurasia. An anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist feminist positionality grasps that the local is part of a global in an effort to build transnational connections of mutual aid and support against state and corporate violence. For example, statements of solidarity with Ukraine expressed by the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia and Native American communities along with the anti-war feminist march in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on March 8, 2022, pointing out that the war in Ukraine should be of concern for a broad transnational community, may serve as instrumental examples of alternative anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist solidarities that stretch beyond state regulations and macro-politics and foreground decolonial perspectives, necessary in addressing entanglements of multiple imperialisms. Such solidarities also bring to light hidden interconnections of the past that allowed for distant communities to survive and support each other against the violence of imperialist intervention and its attendant capitalist exploitation. Thus, the march in Bishkek reminds of the socialist roots of the International Women’s Day to call for internationalist, intersectional, class solidarity against imperialism and militarism.”

Vasyl Cherepanyn on that “It’ll take more than tanks to ease Germany’s guilt” (via Politico): “Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Germany has been imposing neocolonial optics on its Eastern European ‘peripheries,’ and on the post-Soviet space in particular, where Ukraine was long considered a gray buffer zone about which the EU was ‘deeply concerned.’ Germany didn’t bother itself much with differentiating between former Soviet countries’ pasts. Even until recently, any Ukrainian agenda in Germany was often ‘balanced’ with a Russian perspective, so as to not exclude the latter by any means.”

An unnamed anarchist and art scholar, who joined the Territorial Defense Forces, quoted by Olexii Kuchanskyi in an essay on “Digital Leviathan and His Nuclear Tail” (via Your Art and e-flux notes): “At dawn, Dima and I talked about cinema. Dima believes that cinema is inferior to literature as a means of expression because you spend much more time with a book than a film. It’s a really interesting point, something to dig into. I studied at the department of art theory & history and I never thought of it. Dima served in the military after school and worked at the factory all his life. He listens to rap, smokes pot, and tries to have fun. He is thirty-eight, his child was born last year. He likes Wong Kar-wai and is a fan of Asian cinema in general. Dima communicates by quoting Omar Khayyam, Confucius, and other awesome guys.”

April 20th, 2022
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The Harun Farocki Institut (HaFI) is a charitable foundation trust established in 2015. Its official bodies, in accordance with the Articles of Association, are the Board of Directors, the Harun Farocki Institut Board, and the Friends of the HaFI, which is currently being established. The Board of Directors is composed of Tom Holert, Doreen Mende, Clio Nicastro, and Volker Pantenburg. The members of the Harun Farocki Institut Board are currently Antje Ehmann, Anselm Franke, Holger Glinka, Christian Petzold, Doina Popescu, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, and Bertold Schmidt-Thomé. Day-to-day operational business is managed by Elsa de Seynes.

The idea for the founding of an institute in and with Harun Farocki’s name arose shortly after his sudden death in the summer of 2014. That the gap that he left could not be filled was clear to all the participants. However, his painful absence was connected with a responsibility, the fulfillment of which is as consolatory as it is productive. The institute is to serve as a medium, point of contact, and organizational form for the large, international network of family, friends, colleagues, and cooperation partners.

The founding of the HaFI is linked to the goal of developing forms of theoretical and visual work which build on the ideas of Harun Farocki’s cinematic praxis. The principles and procedures of the essay film, the Marxist analysis of images, the activation of images for genuine visual research, the observation of work, the development of a filmic literacy, the analysis of subjectification in technical-military dispositives, or the critique of the relations of production in film, television, and other visual industries form the basis upon which the HaFI conceives and carries out its own projects.

The HaFI is dependent on voluntary engagement. A small office in the silent green Kulturquartier forms the base station. At the moment the HaFI can only afford a half-time manager position, and must scale its projects accordingly. We make every effort to respond to queries and to do justice to the interest in Harun Farocki and our work, however we ask for your understanding if we do not answer immediately.

Bit by bit the HaFI is accessing Harun Farocki’s estate, part of which is already housed in the immediate vicinity of the institute in a separate section of the new archive rooms of the Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst in silent green Kulturquartier. This is being carried out together with the compiling of a complete catalogue raisonné, which in addition to the film, television and video works will also include Farocki’s text and radio pieces.

The institute’s research projects are, on the one side, immediately linked to the archival work on his estate, and on the other, build upon certain questions and methodologies which we connect with Farocki’s praxis. Such research can be expressed in exhibitions, text and image production on the website, smaller printed matter, public discussions, screenings, and other forms of pedagogic work.

Furthermore, every year the HaFI, in cooperation with the Goethe Institut, nominates a candidate for a Farocki residency.

Films, videos, and installations from Harun Farocki can still be requested directly from the Harun Farocki GbR. However, in individual cases, those tasks which exceed the capacity of the small film production company founded by Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann, which following his death has been continued in the form of the Harun Farocki GbR by Antje Ehmann, Anna Faroqhi, and Lara Faroqhi, can be assumed by the Harun Farocki Institut.