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Uprootedness & Hybridity
21st June 2021

Uprootedness & Hybridity: Researching Eastern-European intergenerational trauma in the arts and theatre

An online seminar initiated by Monika Dorniak. Produced by Counterpoints Arts as part of Refugee Week 2021. Watch a recording of the seminar below.

With contributions by: Monika Dorniak & Susanna Rydz, Olesya Khromeychuk, Nina Mdivani, Jessica Ostrowicz, Red Zenith Collective.

Image courtesy of Monika Dorniak

Our bodies store memories that far exceed our lifetimes, and the global increase in migrations and forced displacements leads us to new reflections on our belonging and identity. In the past decades, artists, scientists and historians have become increasingly interested in the research of intergenerational trauma, and the impact of our ancestors traumatic experiences on our present identities. Wars do not only deconstruct landscapes and bodies, but destroy cultural archives and artefacts, which leave descendants with no less than fragmented images of their bygone ‘realities’.

This seminar introduced artistic quests across Eastern European history from four different perspectives. While sharing our personal and intimate reflections, we are unravelling the complexity of intergenerational trauma collectively, and allow space for different questions that may lead us to new answers.

Transmission of trauma is not limited to genes only, but could also be experienced through its reenactment in the arts and theatre.

In our seminar, Ukrainian historian and theatre maker Olesya Khromeychuk describes the ongoing war in Donbas, and introduces three documentary plays, based on war testimonies of witnesses or participants.

The traumatic events of the Shoah and their impact on the Jewish culture are a major theme for British artist Jessica Ostrowicz, whose sculptural works introduce healing rituals and repetitions.

In their lecture performance German-Polish artists Monika Dorniak and Susanna Rydz analyse hybridity, othering, and their ancestors experience of oppression.

New York-based curator Nina Mdivani talks about the impact of the multiple Russian invasions of Georgia in the 20th century on cultural and artistic processes, and questions how art can reflect historical meaning-making and victimhood by bridging fiction and reality.

The lectures conclude with a group discussion that was s open to the audience.

The seminar ends with a healing workshop by The Red Zenith Collective.