Forum Artistic Research


Listening to the Sounds of War. Or How to Make Opera in Museums During Wartime

Illia Razumeiko

on  Sat, 12:30in  Neuer Saalfor  30min

Genesis. Opera of Memory inside the Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Art Museum. Performative documentation of the space of the Khanenko Museum in Kyiv in 2022. During March–April 2022, after the start of the large-scale Russian invasion on Ukraine, all the museums artefacts of the Khanenko National Art Gallery in Kyiv were taken to the shelters. Empty walls began to tell their stories to museum workers and rare visitors. Since July 2022, museum teams started to work with the contemporary artists to make museum spaces alive, and conducted a few cooperation projects with visual artists and musicians. Working together with the artists of Opera Aperta, laboratory for contemporary opera in Kyiv, Ukrainian composers Roman Grygoriv and Illia Razumeiko created a five hours operatic performance for 13 museum rooms, dedicated to the history of the museum. The opera was premiered on 01 October, just ten days before the largest and deadliest missile strike on Kyiv, when one of the Russian ballistic missiles hit the park area in front of the museum, and damaged the historical building. The creation process of the opera was run through a series of performative acoustic experiments in museum spaces. A performative exploration of galleries and rooms was combined with historical research of museum artefacts and its building. Museum as a house, and museum as an institution, and museum transformations during war time became an inspirational point for operatic performance. Listening practice, involved with the creation process, and to be discussed, is co-developed during the presentation: Political listening (awareness to the rise of fascism, taking and avoiding responsibility). Co-operational listening (communication with colleagues in the time of war, extermination and genocide). Listening scenography (architectural site as a score). Language choreography (listening as connection medium between body, music and verbal languages).

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