Bunkers and Masochism

Yesterday morning, we met with the organizers of the Kino Film Festival in Lviv. This four day event apparently draws hundreds of people every year to watch films from 6pm until 4am. You really have to love movies!

Our video installation is going to be shown there twice, first as a short film part of the regular festival, and second, as a standalone installation. One of Olia’s friends proposed to re-create the entire set up in an art gallery which is located in the basement of an old monastery where people were hiding during the Nazi persecutions. We were trying to “recreate” basements for quite some time (first at AU and then Artomatic), so it was quite chilling to know that the installation was going to be shown inside a real basement that was hiding people.

The person in charge of the festival is also an artist who works with blown glass, and so at the end of our meeting, we were offered traditional Ukrainian Pysankys made out of blown glass. Very nice.

The entire morning was basically spent meeting people, but there were two incidents that are worth sharing. Apparently, Mr Masoch (from Masochism that is) was born in Lviv. So we met people who opened a café-bar dedicated to him. A big statue of Masoch was built at the entrance and waitresses were serving food dressed in leather and chains. Dying to know what’s inside? I will leave it to your imagination… a reason more to visit Lviv.

Another unusual café that we visited (a little more related to our film this time) was called Kryivka or Bunker. It is basically a recreation of a bunker where the Ukrainian Insurgent Army partisans used to hide from the KGB. To be allowed in, you have to knock on the door; someone opens a small window and asks you: are you a communist? You have to say no. Are you from the KGB? No. The door opens and you find yourself in front of a large man in the UPA attire, holding a fake gun. You are then offered a drink which is supposed to kill you on the spot if you were from the KGB. f you’re still alive, the bookshelf behind the doorman swivels and you are led down a dark stairway into the bunker. Everything there seems to be re-created authentically, at least to the eyes of a foreigner like me, and we know for sure that the people who created the place gathered a ton of archival pictures from that time period (this is what led us to them actually). One minor thing though, you can get wifi internet access, and you can even access facebook in the bunker.

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