An endless journey, or THE AENEID
- Ivan Kotliarevskyi / Yurii Andrukhovych (+ voice)
“An Endless Journey, or The Aeneid” is a multidimensional guide to the world of Ivan Kotliarevskyi’s “The Aeneid” by the ArtPole agency. Excerpts from the Kotliarevskyi’s poem are mixed with fragments of Andrukhovych’s essays, Baroque guitar with electronics, the illustrations to “The Aeneid” by different authors, years and styles with documentary photos of modern Poltava and authors’ animation. There are many hints and quotes in the project — visual, musical, and poetic. However, the director Olia Mykhailiuk does not require any meticulous decoding from the viewer. Rather on the contrary, she suggests to trust and just walk through that peculiar Ukraine that Kotliarevskyi and Andrukhovych created two centuries apart from each other. The next step could be to refer to the video version of the project.
The premier of the project was held at the opening of the International Book Arsenal Festival 2017 in Kyiv. The next performance took place at the National Art Museum of Ukraine as part of an exhibition dedicated to the visual history of the Kotliarevskyi’s legendary poem. Then there were Khmelnytskyi, Kharkiv, eastern cities on the demarcation line and Poltava — an open-air within the framework of the festival Merydian Poltava.
It is by indulging into expressing themselves in a burlesque way that Kotliarevskyi and Andrukhovych touch some deepest existential issues. They do it with ease, in an ironical and pinpointing way. I would recommend everyone to see our “The Aeneid” in order to try to grasp its burlesque and travestial nature which lies in a deliberate mismatch between the theme and the means, in the ability to laugh in very different situations.
In the summer of 1987, I had to re-read “The Aeneid” again. In the meantime, I was writing down in my bulky notebook the first poems of the forthcoming collection named “Exotic Birds and Plants”. One of them I called “The Death of Kotliarevshchyna” (the Kotliarevskyi’s literary tradition), or “An Endless Journey to Immortality”. Like all great texts, “The Aeneid” unexpectedly goes beyond itself and unfolds new senses every time. Having appeared in this world at the times when its country, at least the main part of it, was turning (and it seemed irreversibly, forever) into a colony, it had completed a certain bicentennial cycle. Maybe in this way some World Spirit speaks to us by alluding to the importance of re-reading. There is no mentioning of death in the current title. Neither is there immortality, however. Instead, the endless journey is now moved to the forefront. It’s the gist.
An amazing opportunity to turn an item from the high school curriculum into an unusual adventure, traveling through its known and unknown aspects and details, using unexpected means of expression and approaches, to shake the dust of prosy perception and familiar cliches off this great work.
A symbiosis of different styles — improvisational music, minimalism, sharp beat electronic music using acoustic instruments recorded in advance, and plus the Baroque.
Kotliarevskyi’s “The Aeneid” is quite an eclectic canvas. We take elements of the acoustic and electronic, classical and new, and eventually musical and non-musical material.