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Performative Forms of Expression in the Culture of Commemoration in Post-Soviet Space, Using the Ukrainian City of Lviv as an Example

Project leader:
Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair

Funded by:
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) | DOC


Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.12.2018 – 30.11.2021

The thesis engages with contemporary commemorative practices in Eastern Europe, the performative content of which is examined primarily using the city of Lviv as an example.

The focus is on organised forms of assembly that commemorate the Second World War, which can still be regarded in the region as the central and most important event for the constitution of identity. These assemblies aim to update history in public or semi-public space. Such an approach has implications for both ritualized commemorative events, which take place annually on historically or symbolically significant dates, and spontaneous rallies or political action. My hypothesis is that such public manifestations are strongly influenced by current conflicts; in fact, the conflicts associated with current political upheavals often become their main subject.

In this context, Lviv can be regarded as an exemplary location since the issues being addressed are very prominent there. Not only do contradictory historical narratives converge in the western Ukrainian city, but also opposing commemorative practices. These rituals, which are regarded as in transformation, are analysed primarily from the perspective of visual culture and media studies, with a special focus on Judith Butler's Performative Theory of Assembly.