#euromaidan

The Open University of Maidan

Though the crowds on Maidan in Kyiv have dissipated there are still so many actions and events during that time that are important to remember. Perhaps they can serve as launching points for future demonstrations or as inspiration for complacent communities. 

One of these actions was The Open University of Maidan, still with a very strong and active Facebook page. "Started by the faculty and staff at the Kyiv School of Economics (which was co-founded by a consortium led by Eurasia Foundation), Open Maidan University is offering free, graduate-level lectures to the Ukrainian public on the square.... In the month since Open Maidan University (OMU) began, thinkers, business leaders, and academics have delivered a hundred lectures on everything ranging from how to reform the constitution to how legislation works, how economies function, and the power of free speech in society," states this article on Eurasia.org.

Image taken from  this article  on Maidan Translations

Image taken from this article on Maidan Translations

It's incredibly inspiring to me to know that Ukraine's smart and motivated community turned to knowledge and learning to empower themselves.

Mikhailov at Manifesta 10

Boris Mikhailov, Berlin, Germany, 2004 (Portrait from llesphotographes.com) via http://blog.asalto.pe/boris-mikhailov-1938/

Boris Mikhailov, Berlin, Germany, 2004 (Portrait from llesphotographes.com) via http://blog.asalto.pe/boris-mikhailov-1938/

The Manifesta 10 biennale is open through October 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia after much controversy, and expects over half a million visitors. Exhibiting work by an international cast of contemporary artists, included among them is Boris Mikhailov, photographer. He created a new project for Manifesta called The theater of war. The second act, intermission, documenting everyday life behind the barricades from Kyiv's Euromaidan in December 2013.

 

See this article for an installation view and this one of Mikhailov's photographs at Manifesta 10.

Online/Offline, Visuals in the #euromaidan revolution

In the images I see of the huge crowds gathering during the Ukrainian revolution, I have been moved and overwhelmed at all of the hand-made signage and large gorgeous Ukrainian flags waving. At first, the meme that was everywhere was Keep Calm and Carry On, adapted to:

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From Cleantechnica.com

From Cleantechnica.com

Changing one's profile picture to these images and sharing them around social media have been powerful ways to show support and solidarity with the Ukrainian citizens. 

I was really pleased to see this article in Korydor* by Catherine Sergatskova explaining how an individual designer or artist can have a huge impact by allowing their visual messages to spread freely through downloading, printing and using posters on the streets. This article brought to light a very important dual effect that can happen during mass protests: A viewer can take action and become a participant by showcasing these posters in public and the designer of these images can produce a great impact while remaining (preferably) anonymous.

Strike Poster (Страйк Плакат) is a group formed to do just that: share posters to be used during the protests. They write the following on their Facebook page: 
"We are convinced that the fate of the country is being decided today . We encourage all creative people to join nationwide strike and make posters or any other materials. We've created a resource where artists , illustrators , designers can post their works, and anyone can download them to print or put on their pages on social networks." In other words, this system allows a viewer to then become a participant. You can send your works via Facebook or email them

*Korydor is an online journal about contemporary art and culture in Ukraine, put out by the Foundation Center for Contemporary Art in Kyiv. (If you can't read Ukrainian or Russian let your browser translate for you and you will get the gist of most articles.) These are young, smart contributors who are really analyzing and thinking about their country.

From the  Strike Poster Facebook page   Image depicts Ukrainian President Yanukovych

From the Strike Poster Facebook page

Image depicts Ukrainian President Yanukovych

This poster depicts a caricature of President Yanukovych.

This poster depicts a caricature of President Yanukovych.

From the  Strike Poster Facebook page   Translation: I breathe freely (over the colors of the Ukrainian flag)

From the Strike Poster Facebook page

Translation: I breathe freely (over the colors of the Ukrainian flag)

One of the themes that is seen everywhere is the blue and yellow water drop, illustrating the mass movement of protestors: "I am a drop in the ocean, which will change Ukraine." The KRAPLYA website (kraplya translates as "drop") is incredible, and has a page for downloads. The designer of this message remains anonymous as of now, but I hope that this person (or people) understands that it's a powerful, poetic message that is rare to see in the barrage of brisk headlines, flames, and photographs of corrupt politicians.

From the Kraplya website

From the Kraplya website

From the Strike Poster Facebook page: "Italian creative station  H-57  expressed support us and sent his poster. Wished "Che la forza sia con voi" (yes you will arrive with force)"

From the Strike Poster Facebook page: "Italian creative station H-57 expressed support us and sent his poster. Wished "Che la forza sia con voi" (yes you will arrive with force)"

And in the States, when too many people were paying attention to the fate of Justin Bieber, Andrea Chalupa organized #digitalmaidan to tell the rest of the world what was happening in Ukraine. This article and the images below explain it all. 

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