Tomorrow I’m flying out to Kyiv, Ukraine to join in IZOLYATSIA’s current project ZAHOPLENNYA — a Ukrainian noun that can describe both the act of forcible seizure (of property, space, physical objects), and the experience of utter fascination or being captivated by profound emotion (such as being in love).
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on my part of the project, which is more or less a mobile network of ‘pirate’ radio devices that will receive and rebroadcast audio content developed in collaboration with Ukranian artists Yuriy Kruchak, Yulia Kostereva, and journalist Maria Prokopenko. Participants will each have one of these devices and will use them to navigate through Kyiv, forming a kind of chain, and playing a giant game of telephone over the airwaves. There are a lot of stories behind the idea, from the Baltic Way, to the radio jamming battles of the Cold War, and the very current, very complex conflict in eastern Ukraine.
I’m excited to play some small part in ZAHOPLENNYA, and honored to be working alongside the folks at Izolyatsia, who were only a few months ago driven out of their space and homes in Donetsk by separatist militias. The people who make Izolyatsia what it is are in Kyiv now — in exile — and still doing everything they can to keep doing their thing. Pretty inspiring stuff, and definitely not what you might expect from your run-of-the-mill art foundation/institution/school (I won’t name names).
I will name the names of a few folks who have helped me beyond all measure in making this project possible and actually (fingers crossed) work. Audrey Snyder, Rich Watts, Clemens Poole, Annetta Riley, Christopher Curro, Avi Gadish, Evan Cordes, Zach Poff, everyone over in the Electrical Engineering group, and probably a few others who I am forgetting right now. Couldn’t be doing it without any of y’all!
Holler if you’d like to receive a postcard, and send me your mailing address. I will put as many as possible in the mail while I’m there.
I’m told that I’m Джо Райлі.