The “Memory Garden” project was born in response to Olga Kisseleva’s invitation to participate in the creation of a memorial to the victims of Babi Yar. The work deals with the problem of representing the traumatic experience of the past. The tragic cataclysms of the 20th Century have made people doubt not only the paradigm of progress as an inexorable march toward a bright future, but also the very ability to speak of the “humane” nature of the human being.
Olga Kisseleva is proposing a metaphorical reconstruction of the landscape, having worked out the form of the memorial by “raising” the topography and by recreating the form of the natural landscape on the level of the museum roof, which will be turned into an aesthetic, sculptural element.
The memorial itself acquires the shape of a ravine raised above the ground and touching the sky. The earth has been lifted and transformed into the sky – such is the message of the project. Whereas the famous Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem emphasizes the earth as its key element, this pivotal role is assigned to the sky in the Babi Yar sculptural complex. The sky is visible through the “rents” in the fabric, and it is also one of the key elements in the video installation.
The mission of the “Memory Garden” project is to create a space for the experience of a critical reconceptualization of past tragedies in the contest of the idea of human rights. The artist deems it crucially important to engage the audience not only on the level of empathy and sympathy, but also on the level of exposing the connections between past tragedies and present-day pivotal nodes of social conflicts. This goal determines our choice to use the language of the new artistic media as the language that best serves the task of formulating specific strategies for building social connections. Through the use of Dendro-art, the artist constructs an experience between grief and the reconceptualization of the tragic legacy, which leads her to create a project of the future. The garden with “real” trees is supplemented by the garden of the New Media Art installation, which is transformed by reacting to the specific individuals who are attending the exposition.