“Ukraine is the Centre of My Universe”, has created three short films profiling different artists and institutions from Kyiv, Ukraine. 3D artist Masha Batsii, designer Yasia Khomenko, and visitors of the ∄ (known as K41) nightclub are central to the project. The common thread among these three videos is their exploration of the impact of the war in Ukraine on different aspects of creative expression, personal experiences, and cultural spaces, using visual storytelling to convey the emotions, transformations, and challenges faced by individuals and communities.

Masha Batsii is a Ukrainian artist and director, living and working internationally. Through cross-sectional explorations within the worlds of art, luxury, fashion, and tech, her work has received international acclaim for its inventiveness and forward-facing approach to the latest emergent technologies.

Masha’s film communicates reflections and memories of her home in Ukraine and the emotions that surface as she ruminates on the current war there. Using unique 3D filters and motion graphics, this film treads a line between vivid melancholic daydreams and the playful masking of something hidden and out of reach. Her recollections from London emphasise the private isolation that comes with distance and detachment and how this intensifies her feelings.

Yasia Khomenko is an artist and designer from Kyiv. Her cult brand RCR KHOMENKO was founded in 2011 and is a pioneer of upcycling in Ukraine. With the outbreak of the war, Khomenko began to pay more attention to social interaction and explored the possibilities of reforming the fashion industry with the ХОМЕНКО project, founded in 2019. Currently, Yasia travels from country to country, inviting people to collaborate on creating unique products from their belongings. She is now based in Lodz, at the Central Textile Museum, where she is trying to get used to mobile working conditions and adapt to a creative nomadic life.

Yasia’s film documents the contrast between the past and the present – on one hand – childlike spontaneity and foolishness that was dictated by security and confidence in the future while in Kyiv, on the other hand – constant struggle with confusion and circumstances after the war started. The film presents a series of flashbacks, showing the period before and after the invasion, as well as Yasia’s movement from Ukraine to Poland. Throughout the film, we see how the war separates and tears apart fragments of life, and how it affects those left with these fragments.

∄ (known as K41) was initially a nightclub and a cultural institution in Podil, Kyiv based in an old 19th сentury brewery, it has hosted numerous local and international DJs with a capacity of 15,000. Now the cultural institution operates a project with the aim to provide financial, humanitarian, and logistical support to those whose livelihood was affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as collecting funds for those defending Ukraine. Currently, ∄ is hosting weekly Community Events, with free donation entry. All donations collected go to help purchase cars and equipment for the Ukrainian defenders at the front line.

The ∄ film focuses on life before and after the Russian invasion. Using still CCTV camera footage of the bustling queue that once defined the ∄ nightclub, slow pans, and desktop simulation serve to highlight how rapidly life has changed. Captured in this seemingly innocuous still, things once taken for granted now seem like distant memories with the anonymised revellers unaware of what is to come. This film presents a timely reminder of the fragility of modern life and the communities and people affected.

The soundtrack was provided by Ukrainian producer John Object who is currently fighting in the war. Photo is provided by Rad Pozniakov.