AiR zusa

AiR zusa residency: Meet our residents II

AiR zusa is a programme designed to provide artists, cultural managers, curators, and arts and culture activists from Ukraine and other countries at risk with space for rest and recharge. Amidst times of war and persecution, we understand the need for a place where creative professionals can find a safe space and focus on their mental health and well-being. 

Since June, the residency has become home to 5 more artists and cultural professionals who joined us. They have spent their time in Berlin and Stlozenghagen resting or enjoying small gatherings with friends and previous residents. This experience has heightened our awareness of the residency’s impact, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to host such inspiring and gifted people.

Olha Bekenshtein is Closer’s live music curator and the founder of the Yearly Am I Jazz? Festival. Check out her collection of inspiring and unconventional music and be ready to get immersed:

Lesia Berezdetska

“I realized my fatigue during the retreat in the German village, which was part of the residency. It was then that I realized how much I needed rest and made it my goal. However, this task turned out to be challenging. It took me several weeks to accept that I could take care of myself, not just through my public work for the country. The idea that taking care of myself is also taking care of the country is not obvious in Ukraine right now. People, especially those in the public and cultural sectors, tend to take on another project when they feel tired and frustrated, trying to contribute more to the victory. The task of recovering at some point transformed into the task of creating space and time for reflection on the experiences that needed it. It was about grieving and mourning the losses caused by rapid changes. Ultimately, I needed to acknowledge and accept these losses. This is what I focused on during the residency.”

Oleksandr Teliuk

Oleksandr Teliuk is a film scholar, artist and curator. As a film archivist and programmer he works at the Dovzhenko Center, Ukrainian state film archive. He was co-curator of film programs and exhibitions at the Film Museum of Dovzhenko Center (‘VUFKU: Lost & Found’ (2019), ‘To Cry! To Call! To Burn!’ (2020)); co-editor of books ‘Cinematographic Revision of Donbas’ (2017, 2018), ‘Ukrainian Film Critic Anthology of the 1920s’ (2018—2022). He is also a co-founder of ruїns collective, a Kyiv-based film and art union that aimed to reflect on the complex world of today and develop appropriate ethical paradigms.

📷 Oleksandr Teliuk

“As a sign of the residency expectation I would like to share with you three semi-accidental images from my smartphone. Each of them embodies one of the directions where I’m looking for some personal answers (which are hardly possible to find). 
The first is my search as a professional, an artist and a researcher. It is mostly about looking for my voice but also topics that could be a valuable contribution in the cultural life of the society. The second is my relationship with time. It includes some strategies for making time tangible via trips, new skills, or communications with people. It is also about dreams and memories. And the third is the most invisible but basic dimension. It is my attitude to my body, a look for physical and mental harmony, but also an approach to becoming more sustainable and responsible. Moreover, each of the pictures expresses some subtle and intimate moments that I have had in Kyiv during a recent month. 
Eventually, each of the mentioned directions should be added with a passage ‘during wartime’ which is a difficult background for any current routine or development.
Hope, as a result of the AiR zusa residency, to find myself a bit closer to the answers of my questions.”

📷 Adina Constantin

llarii Lozovyi

“My time at Anton Saefkow Platz proved much more than an artistic residency. It became a place where I had a chance to rethink the dynamics of cultural production, and the associated cycles of over-exertion and burnout. AiR zusa’s accent on artists’ mental well-being shapes its program. It is free of requirements for production and intense networking that usually come with the “residency” format. Instead, encounters with the resident therapist/body practitioner Christa Cocciole, and the regular checkup sessions steer the mind into a calm, more sustainable direction. I thank zusa and the whole of its team for these days of rest and healing.”

Tetiana Kabaieva

“Hi! I am Taya Kabaeva. I was born in Energodar, and for the last 13 years, I have lived and worked in Kyiv, Ukraine. I am a transdisciplinary artist, animation director, and digital performer. In my art practice, I explore themes of war, cultural/historical memory, demonology, socio-code issues, folklore, and urbanism. Additionally, I develop art therapy for children and adults, creating educational art projects that blend VR technology with classical art practices. My main medium now is creating installations in virtual reality, I believe that the virtual reality tool can help to rethink cultural heritage and provides a unique opportunity to recreate historical memory. Glory to Ukraine!”

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  • Adina

    Adina Constantin is currently a Co-Curator & Coordinator of AiR zusa and Communications Officer at zusa gGmbH, Berlin. She joined zusa early in 2022 through a long-term ESC volunteering experience. The vision she has crafted for herself is intertwining her passion for community building and the cultural sector with her artistic inclination.