The Kindling project is run by a partnership consisting of BAC on Gotland, Milvus Artistic Research Center (MARC) in Skåne and the Ukrainian residencies/artistic platforms Sorry No Rooms Available in Uzhhorod and soma.majsternia in Lviv.
soma.majsternia is a cultural organization centred on contemporary dance and performance located in a converted book factory in Lviv, Ukraine that was founded in 2019 by a group of self-taught choreographers, artists, and musicians.
Following the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24th, soma.majsternia converted its premises to a shelter for those fleeing frontline communities. Some eight months later, ten internally-displaced Ukrainians ranging in age from early 20s to 60 years old—who previously did not know one another—continue to live on site.
Upon receiving an invitation to participate in Kindling, the soma.majsternia team convened to brainstorm what they would like to do in the frame of the project. Somebody suggested that they create a musical about their experience together in wartime, thereby converting the shelter into an art residency. They issued an open call for their IDP residents, who could decide whether they wanted to participate. Six of the ten did so, with the remaining four joining the production at varying moments.
The Kyiv-based artist Katya Libkind was brought in to star in the musical. Members of the extended Lviv cultural community were invited to join the group and share their expertise, serving as vocal coaches, costume designers, and sound mixers, as the production continued despite missile attacks and power cuts. Each resident has contributed his or her insights and perspectives, shaping both the form and content of the project.
Organized in episodes, the musical is adopted as a format for nurturing and sustaining the multi-generational community that has formed around soma.majsternia. The cast sing about their sleeping dreams and waking wishes, while training in mixed martial arts, cooking for one another, and persisting amidst terrific uncertainty.
In the words of Olha Marusyn, curator of the musical residency:
“Our motivation to create this musical was not to prepare a product; rather, we saw this as a format that empowered the deepening and transforming of relations – between disciplines, generations, experiences, and perspectives. For this, we speak about the musical as a residency, as time spent together. It’s a time of a shift in Ukrainian society, and there is a need to make sense of new situations. There are things that are too raw to speak about; it’s easier to sing.”
The musical will live on and be shared with the public in the form of a film, which is currently in post-production and is scheduled to premiere in Lviv in December 2022, with more screenings being discussed for additional locations in and beyond Ukraine.
is a research project and dialogue between small and medium-size arts platforms operating in rural and regional areas. Kindling proceeds on the conviction that residencies, especially those operating outside the context of the capital metropolis, proverbially ‘light a fire’ in the communities they are situated in through their support of socially engaged artistic practices. The project takes the form of residencies with associated public programming, including workshops, showings, performances, and a concluding symposium.