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Slavoj Žižek writes in support of the VCRC, however the Center is officially deprived of its premises

March 17, 2012

Protest against censorship and repression at the VCRC, Kiev-Mohyla Academy, February 27

On Monday, the 12th of March, the president of NaUKMA, Serhiy Kvit made a resolution on the prohibition of all events and exhibitions in the Old Academic building, referring to its «condition conducive to accident», where the Visual Culture Research Center has been working since 2008. Despite its «accident rate» the galleries of Old Academic building are shortly to be used as the library archives. Hence the president of NaUKMA closed the VCRC’s exhibition Ukrainian Body at first, then the Center itself, and eventually the premises where the VCRC is conducting events, announcing their «condition conducive to accident».

On the same day the social philosopher and culture theorist known worldwide, president of Institute of Sociology Slavoj Žižek presented a letter of support for the Visual Culture Research Center at NaUKMA. Žižek belongs to the top-25 of the world’s major public intellectuals today, according to Prospect Magazine (Great Britain), and Foreign Policy (USA).

In his letter to Serhiy Kvit, the philosopher mentioned about the importance of the Center’s activity being a milieu that provides critical thought and alternative knowledge, and asked the president of NaUKMA to resume the Center’s work in full scope. Eventually, Slavoj Žižek informed about his plans of the first visit to Kyiv in December 2012, intending to give a lecture at VCRC.

The present sanctions are blocking the Center’s activities. Not only the famous philosopher’s December visit is at risk, but also a number of international exhibitions and events with participants from abroad.

Reminding the previous events, on February 23rd the Academic Council of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy passed a resolution to bar the activities of Visual Culture Research Center of NaUKMA after the exhibition «Ukrainian Body», dedicated to the study of corporeality in the Ukrainian society, which was closed by the president of NaUKMA Serhiy Kvit.


Full text of the letter by Slavoj Žižek:


Dear Serhiy Kvit,

I’m writing to you because of my deep concern related to the events around the conflict between the Visual Culture Research Center and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy administration.

Many of my colleagues in the intellectual field took part in different events at the VCRC, and what I’ve heard from them was only the best feedback proving the relevance and the level of critical thought that is developed in the walls of NaUKMA now. I know that there is a community of socially-engaged academics, students, artists and activists, who search for useful alternatives to the neoliberal system, and who focus on the change of the social structure following the ideas of equaliberty. I would also happily join the work of the Center myself, thus I am planning on giving a lecture during my visit in December this year.

Taking this into account, I was surprised by the news about the ban of the exhibition Ukrainian Body held by the VCRC, and the cessation of activities in the VCRC itself afterwards. Such actions are incompatible with an image of a democratic university. Therefore, I strongly urge that you resume the work of the Center in full scope.


Best regards,

Slavoj Žižek

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