Using a home video cassette that was shot during the nineties in Lugansk, a city now under Russian occupation, Clemens Poole creates a fictional protagonist onto which he projects an idealized narrative – but his character resists it and fights back.
“Compassion is an unstable emotion,” Susan Sontag wrote in Regarding the Pain of Others. In his essay-film Dima, Dmitry, Dmytro, Clemens Poole critiques the representational politics of suffering by situating an imaginary subject (a Lugansk-born narrator revisiting a childhood VHS tape), aware of its own fictionality, in a complex context: the Donbas. This device’s distancing effect reveals the viewer’s (voyeuristic) desires towards the image and the opacity of archives – using freeze-frames and rewinds, the narrator focuses on random characters in the frame, delivering precisely the individual, scopophilic narratives that he criticizes, thus creating tension. A film all the more poignant in the context of the invasion of Ukraine. (Flavia Dima)
Clemens Poole is an American artist living in Kyiv, Ukraine. His projects and exhibitions have been presented variously in the US and Europe. Since 2014 he has worked frequently with the art foundation IZOLYATSIA as curator of the public installations series Zahoplennya (2014), artist and producer of the guerilla performance intervention #onvacation (2015), co-curator of the exhibition Architecture Ukraine: Beyond the Front (2016), research coordinator for the curatorial initiative Zazemlennya (2019–20), and head curator of the mobile cultural centre Gurtobus (2019–20). He is also co-founder and curator of the international residency program I’ve Never Been to Tulsa.
Written, directed and edited by Clemens Poole. Voice over read by Dmytro Chepurnyi. Translation to Ukrainian by Dara Puhach. Created in participation with the Un/Archiving Post/Industry residency program at the Pokrovsk Historical Museum. Source video by Oleksiy Chepurnyi in private media collection of Urban Media Archive of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv.
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