"The ART of (not) Forgetting"

February 2021 Goteborg, Sweden -- October 2022 Batumi, Georgia
February 2, 2021

Arrival in Stockholm, where I was supposed to take a train to Goteborg, where I had been invited to spend two months in an artist-in-residency program held by STATUS - a collective research project created and implemented in cooperation with Swedish and Belarusian partners: Konstepidemin in Goteborg/Sweden and KH (Kryly Khalopa) in Brest/Belarus.

The residence was meant to take place at the Swedish art center "Konstepidemin" - a series of old buildings that once were a local mental hospital.
February 5, 2021

It might seem strange (or not). but somehow very fast, unburdened from my daily routine in Minsk and excited with two creative months ahead, I came with an idea to start investigating the memories of the Belarussians - both positive, full of resources and vitality we all long for at times, and negative, something we'd like to forget. I wanted to keep the framework of my research rather free and, as I would later put in one of my interviews, "to silence a journalist in myself".

On February 5, via Zoom or Skype I started taking portraits of potential project participants at the moment when they were mentally traveling to their positive and negative recollections. Little did I know how long the journey I was setting off would last...

Later, I would calculate that in total, in the framework of "The Art of (Not) Forgetting" project 1 958 portraits have been taken.
March 20, 2021

I conceived an idea of trying to put both the texts and photographs taken for "The Art of (Not) Forgetting" into a photobook. I somehow could perfectly imagine readers from all over the world cuddling with my book in their hands, carefully observing the portraits of people they have and would never meet in person, reading their memories and deep-diving into the past of their own. It felt sucn an appropriate and important tool of solidarity extending across the times, cultures and generations...

The work on the book would take 210 days. In October 2021 I would get the dummy of the book that would later be published (partly financially supported by the grant I got from the Nordic Council of Ministers).
March 25, 2021

At the end of March my artist-in-residency program was about to finish and I decided to show what I had managed to achieve while staying in Goteborg. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 my possibilities and the contact with the public were limited so I decided to use a public space of the corridor between two buildings of "Konstepidemin", printed the portraits and translated the memories from Belarussian and Russian into English. I did not match the images with the stories, being more interested in showing them more like a collective cloud anyone can relate themselves to.
October 18, 2021

October became a starting point of the long (and hopefully not yet finished) series of on- and offline talks and lectures related to "The Art of (Not) Forgetting" project and a range of memory-based topics I grew interested in.

One of the first talks was held on the invitation of New University in Exile Consortium, NY, the USA and entitled «Consortium Scholars Seminar». It was followed by my talk given to COVEN BERLIN «Bogside Down» (which later extended to my contribution to the creation for this platform several analytical texts and essays, see for example "PHOTOGRAPHING MEMORIES AS A WAY TO RESIST CENSORSHIP").

Luckily, the pandemic was meanwhile deceasing and I could also start meeting the public in the "live" format. Five more talks were held in Batumi (2), Vilnius, Warsaw and Tbilisi. In the capital of Georgia, I also spoke about the phenomenon of memory and its censorship as a guest speaker at "PRADMOVA" intellectual books festival.

"Art of (Not) Forgetting" is a part of collections of the following libraries, art centers, and museums:

1) Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum, Tbilisi, GEORGIA
2) Archeology of Photography Foundation, Warszawa, POLAND
3) Zachęta – National Gallery of Art, Warszawa, POLAND
4) Цэнтр беларускай супольнасці і культуры ў Вілні, Vilnius, LITHUANIA
5) Nacionalinė dailės galerija, Vilnius, LITHUANIA
6) Surat Studio, Маkhachkala, DAGESTAN
7) 139 Documentary Center, Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
8) Nomadic Library "Книжковий курінь", Odessa, UKRAINE
9) Reminders Photography Stronghold, Tokyo, JAPAN
10) Beit Ariela Public Library, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL
11) Konstepidemin, Göteborg, SWEDEN
12) Hasselblad Foundation Library, Göteborg, SWEDEN
13) Творческая мастерская "Колесо", Wroclaw, POLAND,
14) Goethe-Institut Georgien, Tbilisi, GEORGIA
15) Bishkek School of Contemporary Art, Bishkek, KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
16) ISSP, Riga, LATVIA
17) Lumenvisum, HONG KONG
18) Yale University Library, the USA
19) Private collection of the critic Katherine Oktober Matthews, the author of "Riding The Dragon" blog, the NETHERLANDS
20) Art Lane Space, Almaty, KAZAKHSTAN
21) Rotch Library, University library in Cambridge, Massachusetts (MIT Libraries), the USA
22) CAS Batumi (Contemporary Art Space), Batumi, GEORGIA

Photocredits: Olga Bubich, Andrey Dubinin, Franca Wohlt
Video: Maxim Bogdanovich
All photo and video materials belong to their owners and are used for demonstration purposes only. Please do not use them in commercial projects.