Mykola Ridnyi

Mykola Ridnyi (1985, Kharkiv) is an artist, filmmaker, and curator living and working in Kyiv. He graduated in 2008 from the National Academy of Design and Arts in Kharkiv. Since 2005, he has been a founding member of the SOSka group, an art collective that has curated and organized many art projects in Kharkiv. Since 2017, he has been the co-editor of the online magazine Prostory. Ridnyi works across media ranging from site-specific installations and sculpture to photography and experimental films. His works have been shown in exhibitions and film festivals including Transmediale at HKW in Berlin (2019), the 35th Kassel documentary film festival (2018), The Image of War in Stockholm (2017), All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), and at other venues.

video, 2017

The main heroes of the film are young people from Kharkiv, a city located in northeastern Ukraine. The beginning of their early twenties coincides with the breakout of war in the neighboring region of Donbas. A queer activist and poet, a fashion model, a group of street artists, a computer game creator – all of them are artists or work in the creative industries, typical for a peaceful life in a big city. However, proximity to the war affects each of the characters, as well as their activities. Heroes react to and reflect political events through their specific relationships with urban space and with the reality of social media. Documentary stories from a peaceful city alternate with amateur videos, where witnesses and victims of the war demonstrate its proximity to their own homes. Although the film’s narrative juxtaposes two different modes of reality, its meaning changed after the Russian invasion in 2022, when the war spread to new territories, including the city of Kharkiv.