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Opening Recharge and Revolt

Opening Recharge and Revolt

The vital practices and connections of the self-organized queer communities in Ukraine are
manifested in rave culture. Techno and rave scenes flourished after the Revolution of Dignity
in 2014. The most important clubs and parties appeared after that pivotal moment in
Ukrainian society. There, Ukrainian queers feel safe and can indeed be themselves. The
Ukrainian techno scene is well-known for its values of freedom, self-expression, and
acceptance, which are shared by the queer community.

Raves became so crucial that in 2021 many local protests in Kyiv were held in the format of
raves. On top of that, the Pride in 2021 was held in Kyiv as a rave in front of the President’s
Office. At the moment, Ukrainian queers are fighting not only against Russian invaders but
also for their rights. In Recharge and Revolt, we focus on queer identities, queer visibility,
utopia, queer time, and — most importantly — togetherness established through raves. Our
starting point is the year 2014. This is the year of the Revolution of Dignity, the Russian
occupation of Ukrainian Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, and the outbreak
of war. It is also the year when Ukrainian society irrevocably chose the democratic
development path.

Curated by Ukrainian guest curators Anton Shebetko (queer artist, curator and writer,
based in Amsterdam) and Maria Vtorushina (queer curator, based in Kyiv), this exhibition
showcases work by artists who depict this history, centering on rave culture as a powerful
political tool.

During the opening evening of ‘Recharge & Revolt’, a Q&A with both guest curators Anton
Shebetko and Maria Vtorushina, about the queer and rave culture in Ukraine, will be hosted
by moderator Bogomir Doringer. This evening, we will take a short dive into a more
historical perspective, to provide more context to the works which are shown. Questions will
be raised and food for thought and discussion will be offered, such as: what happens to a
queer body in times of war and conflict? And: how can raves become a protest practice?

Besides this in-depth and informative discussion, Ukrainian drag queens Sletlana will take
over our Expo space with a drag performance and Ukrainian DJ and activist Katro Zauber
will provide us with her ‘raving’ tunes. Listen, talk and drink with us. To support these
communities and their enduring struggle for freedom, to get together and feel the resistance.

Melkweg Expo

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