Peace Procession for Ukraine

Performance


Harris, P. 2022. Peace Procession for Ukraine.
CreatorsHarris, P.
Description

On the morning of the 24th February, 2022, I listened to the sombre tones of a presenter on the Today programme announcing the news that Russian military forces had invaded Ukraine. How many others received this news with a shudder of horror and dread as the enormity of the prospect of a major conflict on the edge of Europe? And this following the trauma caused by the biggest global pandemic in living memory. It was too great a feat of imagination to consider how Ukrainians would have to deal with it. It would cause chaos, destruction, loss of life, exodus. And indeed all those things took place, and persist still. As the details of the news unfolded I took my ancient 16mm cine camera and filmed the newly emerging blossom in a tree in my garden against the driving snow. The imagery of this fragile natural phenomena seemed to speak of the possibility of recovery, hope and resilience against the hell of violence that was sure to follow. As the conflict extended beyond the few days projected by an overly optimistic and catastrophically poorly informed Putin, the significance of this few feet of film transformed into a much larger work. The outcome was Hymn for Ukraine, utilising multiple cine projectors, guitars, amplifiers, staged in a vast C19th tram shed on the 17th and 18th March, four weeks after the start of the invasion. It was a sonic and visual vigil in a bid to show support for and solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians in their time of need. The footage made on the morning of the 24th February was never used in the Hymn. It was not even passed through a projector for fear of it being damaged. But now, a year later, I feel that the significance of these few feet of fragile film can be put to use in a memoriam to this hideous conflict that has raged for a full year. Blossom has a religious significance for the resurrection of Christ. By extension I think of the blossom in this footage as a metaphor for Ukraine. In this work, to be staged inside the Cathedral on the 24th February, 2023, I accompanied the film footage with a very slow performance on guitar of the sombre tones of Prayer for Ukraine, written by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Lysenko in 1885. I transcribed the original score into tabulator for guitar, and played the tune as a slowly swelled atmospheric melody with a sound similar to that of a church organ. The few feet of this footage were cycled through a cine projector as a loop, continuously cycling and repeating the fall of snow with the blossom, projected on a screen in the middle of the cathedral aisle. Those attending the event can handle the film, support it and care for it as it cycles through the projector. In so doing you are signifying your care for Ukraine and your wish for its rebirth and recovery. The peace procession was attended by around 500 people with at least 200 attending the cathedral afterwards to write prayers for Ukraine, light a candle of support, listen to the words spoken by the Dean of the Cathedral, view the film and listen to the ambient notes of Prayer for Ukraine.

KeywordsUkraine; Peace; Performance
Date24 Feb 2022
Files
Rights
All Rights Reserved
Media type
Image
File Access Level
Open
Files
Image credit
Ell Hammond
Rights
Ell Hammond
Media type
Image
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Open
Files
Image credit
Suzanne Fells
Rights
Philip M Harris
Media type
Image
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Open
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Oct 2023

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