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The Protoliterary: Women’s Voices at War

23 October 2022
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Frankfurt Studio

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Many Ukrainian women with the start of war became temporarily displaced persons, many of them are mothers rescuing their children, now with limited possibilities to pursue their careers and a risk of diminution of their voices. This discussion will highlight broader scope of women’s impact on social, political and cultural transformations, considering that during the ongoing Russia’s colonialist war against Ukraine they are an important force of resistance in many spheres – at battlefield, in volunteer movement, as journalists, artists and cultural workers, both inside the country and abroad. And at the same time they are often the primary target of human rights violations and war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. The panelists will also address the questions of documentation of war crimes, how artistic voices become an evidence and document of wartime, the issues of discursive violence and epistemological insensitivity, healing the trauma on an everyday basis, and much more. 

Can documentation be regarded as the language of war in general, when a new vocabulary (personal and artistic) of talking about war, traumatic experiences is just being formed? Is documentation and its reflection the most relevant way to convey the war experience and its urgency, the very "toughness" of facts that are overpowering the imaginary? How does the language of the document and “proto-literature” – testimonies, interviews, recordings, diaries etc, and documentary literature foster its genesis? What is the potential of literature and art as a document?

Organizer: “Mystetskyi Arsenal”  with support of Goethe-Institut Ukraine.