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    A City Within a Building

    Stadsschouwburg Escher foyer
    SPRING 2024

    A look at Mariupol Drama Theatre as something more than a target on the Russian military radar: instead, as an embodiment of the collective memory of the witnesses to the attack.

    by Center for Spatial Technology in partnership with Forensic Architecture

    video installation and prints

    Presented in collaboration with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, and Stadsschouwburg Utrecht.


    The Russian Federation’s military airstrike on the Mariupol Drama Theater during the siege of Mariupol in February-May 2022 destroyed a key shelter for at least 2,000 residents. Lacking access to food, water, electricity, information, and safe evacuation routes, the people who took refuge there formed a special community, a city within a theater, interacting with its architecture and rearranging it to meet their common needs. After the city was fully occupied by the army, the theater’s ruins were camouflaged, turned into a backdrop for propaganda videos and concerts, and eventually demolished.


    A City Within a Building offers a look at the building as something more than a target on military radar; instead, it becomes an embodiment of the collective memory of the witnesses to the attack. In doing so, it underscores the significance of this crime in the broader context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


    This presentation is part of To Watch the War, in Solidarity, a series of modest, impromptu exhibitions initiated by BAK,  unfolding over the course of 2024 with the aim of appealing to—with and through art—the vital sense of solidarity with people and other-than-human subjects exposed to wars the world over. The exhibitions are generously hosted by fellow cultural and educational institutions across the city of Utrecht. The works are curated from BAK’s archives to remobilize them into the present.


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