The project “Potential of literature and art in the context of the political crisis” began for us with a lot of questions

Projekt retrospection by Marta Melnichuk

The project “Potential of literature and art in the context of the political crisis” began for us with the question ” Maidan’s Literature – a reaction or reflection?”. There wasn’t single answer , instead, the questions became more and more: “What is Euromaidan and what Independence?”, “How political events influence the artists?”, “How should and can react creative person on the situation in the country?” “What will be left after…?” and others. The arrival of  colleagues from the University of Berlin was a turning point, because forced to think about how we can subjectively evaluate the events to which we are party. At one point it became clear that the only option the exchange of experience between “those in” and “those outside”  allows to create a complete panorama of impressions and observations.

However, joint work has by no means been limited to  Maidan’s theme. Members of the German side in exchange for a “history of Ukraine” offered us a “history of Germany.” However it turned out that the common between us is much more than we thought ( as  well as diverse). The big surprise was for us to see in Berlin’s Treptow Park memorial (height was about 30 meters away) to soldiers of the Soviet Army, and instead of the names of all the soldiers (about five thousand), buried in the memorial complex, stated only one name – Stalin . And this  while in Ukraine, in the context of recent events,  there are ongoing discussions around the law on discommunization. Clearly, there are new questions, one of which was “What  this memory is for Germany?”. But the best explanation were not words, but Project by Gunter Deming «Stolpersteine» («stumbling block”). These small concrete stones (side – 10 cm), with a brass plate with listednames  regime’s of the victims (there could be added “Nazi,” but you can not specify) create a contrast with Soviet monuments, pushing to remember and inspire thinking about memory.

Finally, the memory was the main topic of our conversations. The memory as response to questions raised by us and memory as a question to which the answer must be sought. Own and alien, historical and collective, cultural, communicative… Memory that is so often remain only because of (self) preservation in the artistic and literary works.

A trip to Berlin and the project itself  concluded with the  exchange of experiences and discussion of what we have seen and heard over the past time. However topic that project organizers have offered Susanne Frank and Olena  Galeta its students not exhausted itself, and became only the impetus to search for cures for diseases of memory or diseases of  (self) oblivion.