Mykola Ridnyi

SHELTER, 2012, 6'13''

The setting in Shelter is an underground bunker repurposed for a high school for pre-military service training. The narrator, an almost eighty-year-old teacher, does not seem to be interested in the current political situation but remains true to his Cold War-influenced principles. His students are less enthusiastic about patriotism or propaganda than about shooting ranges and weapons, which until then they had only known from computer games and Hollywood action films. This 2012 film features shelter as both a relic and a phenomenon that acquired new meaning in 2014. Upon the invasion of East Ukraine, numerous shelters were converted back into their original function. Many high-school graduates were drafted into the army, while others joined volunteer military battalions. In 2022, the film gains renewed relevance due to Russia’s war of aggression.

MYKOLA RIDNYI, *1985 in Kharkiv, combines various artistic activities: he is an artist and filmmaker, curator and author of essays on art and politics. He is a founding member of the SOSka Group, a Kharkiv-based art collective formed in 2005. That same year, he co-founded the SOSka Gallery-Labin central Kharkiv. The gallery-lab was instrumental in the development of the artistic scene in the region. He curated a number of international exhibitions in Ukraine, including After the Victory (CCA Yermilov Centre, Kharkiv 2014), New History (Kharkiv Art Museum, 2009), and others. Since 2017, Ridnyi has been co-editor of Prostory – an online magazine on visual arts, literature and society. In 2019 he curated Armed and Dangerous, a multimedia platform that brings together and connects video artists and experimental film directors in Ukraine.

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Mykola Ridnyi, Shelter, 2012, 6'13''