In this lecture l would like to share my sentiments of solitude in Ukraine and my theoretical explanation of why l still feel lonely both politically and existentially, together with the millions of other Ukrainians in our country. The so-called Maidan Revolution, or the Revolution of Dignity, in Ukraine in 2013–14 was generally described and represented in terms of a massive “rise of the multitude” as the political subject on the squares of the major cities. In fact, the whole of Ukraine was revealed to be a split nation between pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan movements. The war in the eastern part of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea sharpened and entrenched this interpretation in geopolitical and statist terms. Today, this split is generally depicted in terms of two antagonistic unities: strict pro-Ukrainian versus pro-separatist visions of the people and nation. But as for me, and I suppose the millions of other mute and invisible people as well, we do not see ourselves and our views reflected in this facile propaganda image. First, I would like to deconstruct such political notions as “multitude” and “people” as revolutionary subjects. And then I would like to propose a basis for autonomous politics with the help of the images of “Bartleby and company.” Through these lenses, I am convinced that we can better understand the reality of contemporary Ukraine and its people.
Andriy Ryepa is philosopher, cultural scholar and editor at the Nika-Centre publishing house in Kyiv.
Georg Schöllhammer is the head of tranzit.at and curator of the School of Kyiv.
In cooperation with the School of Kyiv, Department Vienna