What kind of Galicia can you picture? With coffee shops and pastries, churches and courtesy, portraits of Ivan Franko and old Habsburgs? Kryjivka of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, OUN traditions? The anxious worlds of Bruno Schulz and Sacher Masoch; nostalgic melody in the texts of "Stanislavsky Phenomenon" authors; neo-baroque carnival of the "Bu-ba-bu" association; childhood memories of Stanislav Lem; musical avant-garde searches of the 1920s-30s? Two decades of jazz from Jazz Bezz and Flugery Lvova Jazz Festival; Vlodko Kaufman's performances and other most relevant artistic pursuits of his time at Dzyga, the irony of Andriy Sahaidakovsky, the hoaxes of Volodymyr Kostyrko, the mystical creatures of Andriy Khir and the lights and shadows of Yevhen Ravsky? Modern urban practices and institutions and active participation of communities in the development of their public spaces?
Galicia has become extremely fashionable. It is the object of nostalgia and interest to the past, a brand and a label. There must be about 5 most popular myths of Galicia. Austrian – about the creation of Galician community of multi-ethnical region – which came to its end along with Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jewish – about friendly land, a ward for all peoples – shattered with the beginning of the First World War. Polish Piedmont myth – ceased to be relevant after creation of the Polish state. The longest is the Ukrainian myth of Galicia. For more than a century, it nurtured the faith in the primordial nature of Ukrainian nation and reinforced the stereotype of former Galicia as "the most Ukrainian Ukraine," which greatly contributed to the antagonism between "Westerners" and "Easterners" in both Soviet Ukraine and later on. And the most modern, the myths of Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk as "cities that succeeded." Each of these myths has its own charm, but also its own danger.
At the same time, the GaliciaCult Forum was an attempt to introduce Kharkiv residents more deeply into the "mythology of Galicia" and to deconstruct it. To show what threat historical and modern myths can pose, and how they can be useful at the same time. It is also interesting that we expected much larger number of stereotypes among Kharkiv residents about Galicia, and after preliminary acquaintance, we found that the problem is not as much in stereotypes as in ignorance and lack of mutual interest
We not only wanted Kharkiv residents to learn more about modern and classical art of Galicia, but also to give opportunity to cultural figures and researchers from these regions to work together. To get rid of harmful stereotypes, develop common visions and lay the foundation for future cultural partnerships.
The forum was preceded by the Art Residency: for 2 weeks, researchers from Galicia and Kharkiv developed projects related to architecture and urban planning, visual arts, cinema and animation. Some of them were presented during the forum, some grew into further cultural projects in Kharkiv and Galicia (in particular in Kharkiv –the established Literary Residency transformed into Slovo Residency in the legendary building of the same name and creation of proslovo.com/ website before that).
The forum was attended by researchers from neighbouring countries who influenced the formation of the cultural landscape of Galicia (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria), as well as from the United States, Israel and Belgium. This gave a broader perspective and allowed to go far beyond established stereotypes and, as always, allowed new connections.
During the forum, the first stage of the Cultural Managers Exchange Program between Ukraine and Belarus took place within the Tandem Ukraine program.
Among the main locations and local partners of the forum were: Contemporary Art Museum YermilovCenter, Kharkiv LitMuseum, Kharkiv Municipal Gallery, Shevchenko Theatre, specialized music school, DK ART AREA, EAST Opera (then - KhNATOB), Old Circus, Kharkiv Theatre for children and youth; Studio 42 and Lacan Intellectual Bar (both no longer exist) and others. Our events and cultural interventions also took place at such non-standard locations as the stairs of the Opera House, Old Circus facilities and even Turboatom plant.
The Kharkiv team that worked with us at GaliciaCult continued to work on SlobodaCult forum, and many of them are still working with us on new projects.
The forum was supported by MitOst, Advocate Europe, Renaissance Foundation, British Embassy Kyiv, the Czech Centre and other reliable partners.