The audio-visual collective art project Normal’NO is the result of a collaboration by artists from Ukraine and Germany that have come together to work on a multimedia project that explores the complexities of the ongoing war in Ukraine with Olena Kryvoruchko (Kyiv), Anastasiia Nakonechna (Kyiv), Robin Plenio (Hamburg/Berlin) och Björn Tillmann (Mannheim).
Olena Kryvoruchko (b. 1995) is a visual artist and photographer from Kyiv in Ukraine, currently based in Stockholm. She has mainly been working with photography exploring perceptions of the human body and intimacy. Recently her practice has come to involve collaborative multimedia projects where she is interested in researching the impact of war on the human experience. Olena has been a residence artist in Residence Botkyrka through SWAN Emergency Residences in April-September 2023.
Anastasiia Nakonechna (b. 1998) is a visual artist and photographer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her passion for photography revolves around people, nature, and architecture where she is drawn towards similarities through the interaction of lines, stories, and characters. Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anastasiia has become more interested in engaging with topics concerning Ukrainian culture and history that have for a long time been under influence of Russian propaganda.
Robin Plenio (b. 1993) is a composer, performance and media artist who lives and works in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. His performances and installations often utilise documentary and biographical approaches that are interwoven into the theatre machinery whilst having a focus on sound and concepts of composition. He understands artistic work as a collaborative and interdisciplinary process where he works in different constellations as a composer, performer, programmer, dramaturg, media artist, activist, or video designer.
Björn Tillmann (b. 1992) is a musician, producer and sound designer based in Mannheim, Germany. Floating mainly in the waters of experimental pop music, his artistic interests encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from techniques derived from “Neue Musik” to modular synths, sampling, and neural synthesis. Always attracted by interesting sounds and ways to create them while working his way through topics of (cultural) identity, transhumanism, and the relationship between humans and machines.
16 September – 2 December 2023
Botkyrka Konsthall’s Archive
The beautiful weather and peaceful atmosphere are in fact an illusion: any city or village can be attacked from the air or shore at any point in time.
While it feels absurd to speak of ‘normality’ in a time of war, people are doing their best to adapt to the prevailing circumstances, facing new challenges besides the everyday issues. Life is not on hold, it is boiling. Maintaining the usual household routines, taking care of family members, getting married, going to restaurants and cafés, studying, working, volunteering, as well as supporting or working within the military forces – almost like it was before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022.
But the war is always present. It is everywhere, hiding in the anxieties and fear that permeates the air. The new normal involves recurring blackouts, and people getting used to waking up in the middle of the night to air-raid alarms, monitoring news channels in the hallway shelter at home during new possible shelling, or seeking the closest safest space from ballistic missiles or drone attacks, creating a state of permanent sleep deprivation and a deep sense of unrest. It is like you are stuck in a never-ending escalator that moves in directions beyond your control, and that may suddenly stop or reverse.
Observing the situation in Ukraine from a distance, it may seem like a surreal computer game. The physical and mental trauma that has become embedded in peoples’ daily lives, rarely transmits through the media channels. There is a sense of apathy as well as PTSD brought by the constant unpredictable conditions.
For many Ukrainians, a common response to the question “how are you?” is often “Okay” or more precisely the understated phrase “normal”, in Ukrainian: “нормально” [normal’no]. Nowadays, the word has gradually acquired the meaning that nothing is normal.
The audio-visual collective artwork Normal’NO is the result of a collaboration by artists from Ukraine and Germany that have come together to work on a multimedia project that explores the complexities of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Curator: Anneli Bäckman
The project is produced by Residence Botkyrka / Botkyrka konsthall supported by SWAN Emergency Residence, Artist-in-Risk, Postkodstiftelsen, Swedish Institute, Botkyrkabyggen