Survivor’s Syndrome in Kiev

- together with the Hudrada curatorial collective

On the 18th of May 2018 on the anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars and one of the Ukrainian “Europe Days” the Hudrada curatorial collective gathered at Kiev’s historic St Michael’s Square to build the shell of a ruined hut from a Roma settlement which had formerly stood in the city. This work became a symbol for the shared fates of different ethnic and social groups who found themselves subjected to repressive actions in Ukraine. It was also a public protest against pogroms of Roma settlements.

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On a Friday afternoon, the Hudrada curatorial group working together with architects and human rights activists initiated the collective building of a shanty hut. This anarchitectural construction was built according to the template of a ruined hovel that had been torn down in 2017 during the destruction of a temporary Roma settlement in Kyiv’s Dnepr district.

This work by Hudrada was dedicated to anarchitectural forms and to societies who create shanty huts in urban spaces, but above all it was a declaration against xenophobia and acts of aggression triggered by it.

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The basis of the project “Union of Hovels: the Survivor Syndrome” is photographic documentation of a ruined Roma settlement made by Yevgenia Belorusets.

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The author of the architectural project is Dana Kosmina.

In this example, the shanty hut embodies the vulnerability and fragility of communities who arrive and disappear spontaneously. At the same time it can become a disquieting object when set against the logic of the majesty of monumental symbols of power.

Survivor’s Syndrome is a term which emerged in the 1960s as a means of describing the condition of both victims and executioners (as well as their children) who had lived through large scale persecutions and mass murders during the 20th century. The defining element of this syndrome is that its sufferers experience sharp feelings of guilt connected to no more than the fact that they are alive and in existence. 

The name chosen for this work points to the presumption that the single hut we’ve rebuilt (who magically knows about the destruction of his remaining brothers) suffers from this syndrome.

 “The Survivor Syndrome” – is a reminder too of the fact that throughout the 20th Century right across Ukraine, all kinds of social and ethnic groups have found themselves subject to repression. Our goal today is to keep these pages of history where they belong, in the past.

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 Documentation of Survivor’s Syndrome in Kiev was done by Oleksandr Burlaka

Survivor’s Syndrome in Kiev: further information  

The Gallery with photographs by Yevgenia Belorusets (Roma settlement in Kiev one hour before the ruination, 2017) and Aleksandr Burlaka (documentation of the Survivor’s Syndrome in Kiev, 18.5.2018)

 

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