Nadya Sayapina

Nadya Sayapina

The artist, performer and art lecturer Nadya Sayapina (*1989 in Belarus) focuses in her work with performance, multimedia, installations, painting, texts and art therapy on mediation, in which she sees the chance to make the voices of the »others« visible. Her starting point are the personal stories of members of those communities to which she herself is connected in one way or another. Her methods draw on the practices of community-based art and action art, where the artist is tasked with giving space to the voices of the excluded and illuminating the issue through the means of art.
On 7 September 2020, Nadya Sayapina was arrested at home and sentenced to 15 days in prison for participating in a collective artistic action against violence. In October 2020 she left Belarus.

Viktoriia Vitrenko

Viktoriia Vitrenko

Singer and conductor Viktoriia Vitrenko (*1990 in Ukraine) graduated in 2012 in conducting at the National Academy of Music of Ukraine with Viktor Petrychenko. In 2015, she completed her bachelor’s degree in choral conducting with Denis Rouger at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. From 2014, she studied with Angelika Luz and Georg Nigl in the master’s program in new music/vocal performance.
Since then, the versatile musician has been active both as a conductoramong others of the Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra, Concerto Tübingen, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Divertimento Ensemble and Landesjugendensemble Neue Musik Baden-Württembergand as a singer with performances in music theater and contemporary projects in numerous European countries.
Her debut CD »Scenes« (2019, AUDITE) with chamber music by György Kurtág won the Supersonic Pizzicato and was nominated for the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (PdSK-2019) and International Contemporary Music Awards 2020 (ICMA 2020).
Cultural and social exchange is a central concern for Viktoriia Vitrenko. She sees herself as a mediator for Ukrainian culture and actively promotes dialogue. In 2017, together with Maria Kalesnikava and Jasmin Schädler, she founded InterAkt, a cross-disciplinary initiative focusing on socio-political and technological issues.

Zhanna Gladko

Zhanna Gladko

Zhanna Gladko attended the Republican Academy of Arts in Minsk, Belarus, from 1997-2002 and the Academy of Arts in Minsk, Belarus, from 2002-2009. Her active artistic career began in 2010 and her work focuses on the consideration of the mechanisms of culture and art history, the role of modern museums and archives, religion, identity crisis and gender issues. She places an important focus on themes of identification and blurred, defragmented identity.

Christoph Ogiermann

Christoph Ogiermann

Christoph Ogiermann (*1967 in Bad Pyrmont) began composing in 1990 at the suggestion of Erwin Koch-Raphael and completed his composition studies with Younghi Pagh-Paan at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen in 2000. Further important musical and philosophical studies with Georges Nicolas Wolff and Nicolas Schalz.

He is a composer, instrumentalist, reciter, curator, co-founder of the MusikAktionsEnsemble KLANK, member of the artist collectives stock11 and TONTO (Graz), member and artistic director of the projektgruppe neue musik bremen, founder and artistic director of the Bremen series REM for electronic music. He lives in Bremen.

Lesia Pcholka

Lesia Pcholka

Lesia Pcholka (*1989 Borisov, Belarus) explores everyday life, memory, and social issues through her art and research practice. In 2015, she earned her degree in Social Psychology from the Minsk Innovation University and attended other international educational programs, including ArtPlatform, Creative Enterprise, Nesta, and Sputnik Photos. Pcholka is the founder of the VEHA platform and teaches at the European College for Liberal Arts in Belarus. Arrested in March 2021 and subsequently repressed, Pcholka was forced to flee Belarus and currently lives in Poland.

Letter to Mom

Letter to Mom

»In front of me is a white sheet of paper. There are many words and images inside me that I want to express and turn into a letter. I want to write in such a way that I am understood and nothing is distorted.
But multiple views and perceptions can produce as many interpretations as there are readers. Sometimes I cringe at the thought that my words might be twisted and hurt other people. But I can’t give up writing, because writing means not losing the connection with those who are not with me, letting it all out, reliving it and looking at it from the outside. On a piece of paper, I can at least imagine that I have gotten back what I lostmy home. I write my own letters and collect the letters of others to put together into a long archive of different experiences and stories. When I think about why I keep writing, I realize I’m still hoping for a response.«

 

Nadya Sayapina began her project »Letter to Mom« in January 2021 and was able to realize it and during a residency at the Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kiev with the support of the Goethe-Institut in Ukraine.

»Letter to Mom« deals with the stories of people who had to leave Belarus urgently and are now building their lives in new places. It is based on thirty interviews with Belarusian immigrants, which the artist collected over several months. The project shows the emotional side of the experience of displacement: personal feelings, the sense of losing one’s homeland, helplessness and confusion, fear, insecurity and guilt. The artist turned to drawings, performances and installations through which the audience could recreate and relive the emotions experienced by the project participants.

The development and reconstruction of the project in different countries allows us to address the issue of forced migration in a more global context. »Letter to Mom« presents a look at everyday and different things that migrants have gone through, trying to make audible what is difficult for them to articulate.

 

Nadya Sayapina documents her project with excerpts from the interviews on her own website: https://lettertomother.com.ua/eng/

Nadya Sayapina

The artist, performer and art lecturer Nadya Sayapina (*1989 in Belarus) focuses in her work with performance, multimedia, installations, painting, texts and art therapy on mediation, in which she sees the chance to make the voices of the »others« visible. Her starting point are the personal stories of members of those communities to which she herself is connected in one way or another. Her methods draw on the practices of community-based art and action art, where the artist is tasked with giving space to the voices of the excluded and illuminating the issue through the means of art.
On 7 September 2020, Nadya Sayapina was arrested at home and sentenced to 15 days in prison for participating in a collective artistic action against violence. In October 2020 she left Belarus.

Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle

Zhanna Gladko’s work focuses on investigating mechanisms of culture and art history. The artist places the role of the contemporary museum and archives, problems and crises of identity, gender issues, the theme of history and memory at the centre of her artistic interest.

Her performance Vicious Circle is based on the installation Destroyed Piano, which the artist created in 2015. The work is part of the larger cycle »Inciting Force«, which is dedicated to the artist’s autobiographical story and her complex relationship with her father. He had raised his daughter according to strict rules and under total control, which at some point led to conflicts. In retrospect, this personal experience reveals to Zhanna Gladko the patriarchal thinking that had already shaped Belarusian society in the Soviet Union and still stands in the way of the country’s renewal today.

In 2015, in the absence of her daughter, her father dismantled the piano that Zhanna Gladko had learned to play as a child and which was also a symbol of inner liberation for her. He left only some parts of the instrumentstrings, pedals….were left. The artist managed to film the last phase of her father’s destruction of the instrument.

For the exhibition at the Kunstzentrum Karlskaserne, Zhanna Gladko creates a space that refers to the idea of a sacred zone, a place that can be attractive at certain times and whose attraction is difficult to overcome. It is the image of a home, a comfort zone, a community, a magic circle inherent in mystical practices*. Something that offers protection from external forces, but at some point turns into an insurmountable wall or cage that restricts the freedom of personal expression. A trap from which one can hardly escape unless one appropriates and asserts one’s right to autonomy and independence.

 

* The image of a circle, a ring, refers to a sacred space that was used in magical practices. Such a circle was drawn with charcoal or chalk to protect oneself from the outside world. Later, brass wire was used to form the circle. It was considered particularly powerful when people stood in a circle and held hands, creating a circle that united people into a community, a force.

Zhanna Gladko

Zhanna Gladko attended the Republican Academy of Arts in Minsk, Belarus, from 1997-2002 and the Academy of Arts in Minsk, Belarus, from 2002-2009. Her active artistic career began in 2010 and her work focuses on the consideration of the mechanisms of culture and art history, the role of modern museums and archives, religion, identity crisis and gender issues. She places an important focus on themes of identification and blurred, defragmented identity.

Invisible Trauma

Invisible Trauma

This project focuses on the experiences of Belarusians who suffer from psychological violence perpetrated by the regime and law enforcement agencies. It is a collection of stories about knocks on the door, phone calls from unknown numbers, and how people in Belarus are suffering from a terrible case of post-traumatic stress disorder. As long as this trauma remains invisible and untreated, it will affect generations of Belarusians.

Since the beginning of August 2020, many world media outlets have published Belarusian citizens’ stories, raising awareness about the extreme physical violence in the country’s detention facilities. While these stories feature physical harm, including bruises and years spent in prison, they rarely acknowledge the emotional toll state violence took on its victims. Amid the horrifying details of illegal detentions, beatings, and torture, we often overlook other mundane manifestations of oppression. Permanent fear, helplessness, paranoia, lack of safety, or difficulties leaving the country are not mentioned at all, because »there are more serious problems to feature.« As a result, thousands of Belarusians are left alone with their traumas, unheard, unnoticed, and invisible.

I began collecting stories and photographing respondents immediately after the elections in Fall 2020. At that time, any critical activity towards the state was becoming increasingly dangerous. My documentary project, »Invisible Trauma,« was blocked from publication in three popular Belarusian media outlets in Fall-Winter 2020. The project was not safe for me to continue because activism and public speech were persecuted.

As reprisals grew, people started to use indirect symbols to express their protest. After the white-red-white combina was recognized as extremist by the regime, it was replaced by a white sheet of paper in the windows. Even a blank piece of paper could result in an arrest. This image shows exactly how absurd and dangerous the regime’s system is.

Because I could not work with the media using the usual documentary methods, I began to use online space, working with white paper on a glass as an image of invisibility. I created a chatbot in Telegram to anonymously collect stories and an Instagram account where stories are published that are voiced by other people.

I no longer do portraits of my subjects or meet with them in person. Instead, I create a space where they can take a photo by themselves and write their story anonymously. The faces of these people are hidden behind a mask in the form of a white sheet of paper, or through this mask, I created on Instagram. The virtual space is the only one that we have left for expressing protest.

As of today, all independent media are blocked in the country, and more than 200 non-governmental organizations are being liquidated. There is not a single independent art gallery in the country, and the activists are being persecuted. Currently, there are more than 700 political prisoners whose sentences range from 2 to 18 years. In the past year, more than 40,000 people have been imprisoned on politically motivated charges for 10 to 45 days or have been fined significantly. The law does not work in Belarus today, and there is only repression, torture in jails, and endless fear.
Lesia Pcholka

Lesia Pcholka

Lesia Pcholka (*1989 Borisov, Belarus) explores everyday life, memory, and social issues through her art and research practice. In 2015, she earned her degree in Social Psychology from the Minsk Innovation University and attended other international educational programs, including ArtPlatform, Creative Enterprise, Nesta, and Sputnik Photos. Pcholka is the founder of the VEHA platform and teaches at the European College for Liberal Arts in Belarus. Arrested in March 2021 and subsequently repressed, Pcholka was forced to flee Belarus and currently lives in Poland.

Echoes – Voices from Belarus III

2
01.02.
20:00
Hospitalkirche
Nadya Sayapina concept, video, performance Viktoriia Vitrenko composition, vocals, performance Zhanna Gladko concept, video, performance Christoph Ogiermann composition, violin, electronics Gareth Davis composition, clarinet, electronics Lesia Pcholka concept, video Rohrer-Lied-Ensemble

Nadya Sayapina: Letter to Mom

for actor, singer, tape and video (2021/22)

Zhanna Gladko: Vicious Circle

for actor, violin, live electronics and video (2021/22)

Lesia Pcholka: Invisible Trauma

for choir, bass clarinet, electronics and video (2021/22)

Digital concert stream from 2 February 18:00

 

February 2-5:
Video-music installation at the Hospitalkirche.

 

Wednesday, February 2, 15:30-18:30
Thursday, February 3, 15:30-18:30
Friday, February 4, 15:30-18:30
Saturday, February 5, 11:00-14:00
Entrance free

 

»Amidst the horrifying details of illegal detention, beatings and torture, we often overlook other, more mundane manifestations of oppression. Constant fear, helplessness, paranoia, lack of security, or difficulties in leaving the country are usually not mentioned at all. As a result, thousands of Belarusians are left alone with their traumas, unheard, unnoticed and invisible.«  (Lesia Pcholka)

 

Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have left their country since the rigged presidential election in August 2020mainly artists and IT specialists, a young generation eager for a new beginning, whose hopes for democracy and the creation of a future-oriented, humane society were abruptly stopped by the brutal and cynical violence of the dictatorial regime. In ECHOES their experiences find an artistic expression and reverberation: the music reacts to these works, is commentary or counterpart, accompanies or disturbs. From image, text and sound, a differentiated as well as haunting narrative emerges about the drama in our European neighboring country.

A production of Musik der Jahrhunderte/Festival ECLAT in cooperation with the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele.

 

With the friendly support of the Hospitalhof Stuttgart.