Memory Theatre

Multi-media lecture with Maksym Rokmaniko, Center for Spatial Technologies and Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture / Forensis

The bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater on March 16, 2022, a few weeks after the start of the Russian invasion, is among the worst atrocities committed by the occupying power against Ukrainian civilians. On that day and in the months that followed, much more was destroyed than the substance of a theater building. Up to two thousand civilians had found shelter there, transforming the building into a city with an overall architecture, with its own places for discussions, shelter and mutual care. Until the Russian occupiers also bulldozed the remaining ruins, the building was also evidence of a serious war crime.

This latest joint research by the Kyiv-based Center for Spatial Technologies and Berlin-based Forensis focuses on the three-week period between the start of the large-scale Russian invasion and the March 16 air strike. During this period, the theater became a self-organized commune and an act of resistance: a "city within a building." Through hours of interviews with survivors of the attack, the living world of the theater is carefully reassembled, exploring with great sensitivity the emerging interactions of memory, space and trauma.

For Eyal Weizman and Maksym Rokmaniko, this joint work is the starting point for a consideration of the tension between evidence and testimonies. For this purpose, they use the method of "situated testimony," through which witnesses create and walk through a three-dimensional model of the building. In their lecture, the initiators also present the common investigative practice developed by the research agency Forensic Architecture, on which the investigation is based. The methods and particular difficulties of securing evidence in wartime will be covered, as well as the complexities of working, investigating and interviewing in the shadow of war.

Language: English

With Maksym Rokmaniko (Center for Spatial Technologies) und Eyal Weitzman (Forensic Architecture/Forensis)