[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n February 10th, 2012, the President of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Serhiy Kvit banned the exhibition of the Visual Culture Research Center “Ukrainian Body” that explored the issues of corporality in contemporary Ukrainian society. Serhiy Kvit explained his decision in the following way: “It’s not an exhibition, it’s shit”.
After the act of censorship, which drew a wide response in the Ukrainian and foreign media, the President of NaUKMA has initiated a number of bureaucratic restrictions against the Visual Culture Research Center as the organizers of the exhibition. On February 23rd the Academic Council of the university led by Serhiy Kvit passed a resolution to bar the activities of VCRC.
On March 12th, the President of NaUKMA Serhiy Kvit made a resolution on the prohibition of all events and exhibitions in the Old Academic building, where the Visual Culture Research Center has been working since 2008, referring to the building’s “condition conducive to accident”. Despite its “accident rate” the galleries of Old Academic building are shortly to be used as the library archives. Hence the President of NaUKMA closed the VCRC’s exhibition “Ukrainian Body” at first, then the Center itself, and eventually the premises where the VCRC is conducting events, announcing their “condition conducive to accident”.
We consider such gestures unacceptable acts of censorship against public dialogue on crucial social and political problems. The present sanctions are blocking the Visual Culture Research Center’s current and future activities. The Center has become a milieu that provides critical thought and alternative knowledge for NaUKMA community and beyond. One can see the scope of Center’s activity on its webpage vcrc.ukma.kiev.ua, it includes many international conferences and seminars, exhibitions, presentations and talks, and other events that attracted many students and broad public. NaUKMA has already received letters of support, asking to resume the Center’s work in full scope, among them from Slavoj Žižek, Eric Fassin, David Elliott, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Serhiy Yekelchyk, Tarik Cyril Amar, John-Paul Himka, Aleksandr Bikbov, Michel Onfray, Artur Zmijewski, Vitaly Chernetsky, Oksana Timofeeva, Mikhail Mayatskiy, Sara Goodman, Alek Epstein and others.
We call for the immediate restoration of academic and artistic freedom at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and ask the President of NaUKMA Serhiy Kvit to resume the Center’s work in full scope in its current working space.
Please join this initiative to support the activities of the Visual Culture Research Center. Please sign the petition at www.change.org with your name, title and affiliation or write your own letter to the President of NaUKMA Serhiy Kvit (email@example.com) asking to resume the Center’s activity in the Old Academic building.
Please spread this petition.
For more information about the situation, please read the following:
Thank you for your attention and support!
Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, USA
Artur Żmijewski, сurator of the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Poland
Slavoj Žižek, social philosopher and culture theorist, the president of the Institute of Sociology, Slovenia
Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley, USA
David Elliott, curator of the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art Arsenale 2012, Great Britain
Aleksander Kwasniewski, the President of Poland (1995 – 2005)
Jacques Rancière, philosopher, Emeritus professor at the University of Paris VIII, France
Alexander Bikbov, deputy director of the Centre for Contemporary Philosophy and Social Sciences at Moscow State University, associate fellow of the Maurice Halbwachs Research Centre, France / Russia
Serhy Yekelchyk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Victoria, Canada
Éric Fassin, Professeur agrégé, Département de sciences sociales, École normale supérieure (Ulm), France
Michel Onfray, french philosopher and writer, founder of the Popular University of Caen, France
John-Paul Himka, Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, USA
Oxana Timofeeva, editor of the magazine “New Literary Observer”, “Chto Delat’?” group, Russia
Jan T. Gross, Professor of History, Princeton University, USA
Mikhail Maiatsky, PhD, professor at the Cultural Studies department, Faculty of Philosophy, Higher School of Economics, Russia
Michael Burawoy, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, President of the International Sociological Association, USA
Daniel J. Walkowitz, Professor of History, Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis, New York University, USA
Genevève Fraisse, philosophe, directrice de recherche au CNRS, enseignante à l’Institut Politique de Paris (Sciences-po), ancienne déléguée interministérielle, ancienne députée européenne, France
Dmytro Horbachov, PhD in Art History, professor, laureate of Ohienko prize, Biletsky prize, Ukraine
Vladimir Malakhov, Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences, Center for Citizenship and Identity Studies, Russia
Marko Bojcun, Senior lecturer, European Studies and International Relations, London Metropolitan University, Great Britain
Jared McBride, Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Rose-Marie Lagrave, Directrice d’études à l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes à Paris, France
Don Kalb, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Roman Cybriwsky, PhD, Professor of Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
Vitaly Chernetsky, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Miami University, USA
Tarik Cyril Amar, Assistant Professor, Russia and the Soviet Union, Department of History, Columbia University, USA
Sara Goodman, Centre for Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden
Maiju Lehto, University of Helsinki, Aleksanteri institute, Filnand
Alexei Penzin, research associate at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
Alek D. Epstein, PhD, Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication, Open University of Israel, the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, Israel
Vlad Sofronov, philosopher, publicist, art critic, Russia
Heribert Hansen, Member of Kunstverein e.V. Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Member of German-Ukrainian Society Rhein-Neckar e.V. Heidelberg, Germany
Oleksandr Soloviov, art critic, contemporary art curator, Ukraine
Liudmyla Gordeladze, director of “Zhovten” Cinema, Ukraine
Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, graduated from the Cultural Studies faculty at Viadrina European University in Frankfurt, Germany
Andriy Zayarnyuk, Assistant Professor, Department of History, The University of Winnipeg, Canada
Delphine Bechtel, Associate professor, University Paris 4 Sorbonne, France
David Miller, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Fine Art, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Martin Pollack, Schriftsteller und Übersetzer, Österreich
Katharina Raabe, Lektorin für osteuropäische Literaturen im Suhrkamp Verlag, Germany
Serhiy Kudelia, visiting scholar, George Washington University, USA
Olexandra Hrycak, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Reed College, Portland, Oregon, USA
Per Anders Rudling, Ph.D, Historisches Institut, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald, Germany
Dmitry Vilensky, artist, editor of the paper “Chto Delat’?”, member of the editorial board of the “Art Journal”, Russia
Sébastien Gobert, Journalist, Radio France Internationale, France
António Eduardo Mendonça, researcher of the Centro de Estudos Soviéticos e Pós-Soviéticos, Lisboa, Portugal