In the project ‘Please don’t take my picture! Or they’ll shoot me tomorrow.’, Yevgenia Belorusets focuses on the problem of media and fake news instrumentalising people during times of war. In 2014, the artist spent several months inside a zone of conflict in eastern Ukraine, portraying miners whose place of life and work is neither within the controlled territories of the separatists nor that of the Ukrainian government.
Enlarged to the size of a billboard, a fictitious newspaper reveals the mechanisms of cyber warfare. The work produced by the propaganda media is not just disinformation; it becomes part of info- and cyber-weapons. Through visual content from scenes of action, media makes society more transparent and vulnerable, as one of the newspaper headlines states ‘Today’s Photo-Story Is Tomorrow’s Artillery Target’. In addition, the work of the media becomes part of the production of terror through alienation, instrumentalisation, fatigue and dehumanisation.
In this artwork, Belorusets raises the substantial question: how can the voices of those from the border areas, whose stories are written by the defeated, be heard? On the other side of the installation is a monumental portrait of a woman—a former mine worker who is now engaged in human rights activism. This photograph emerges as if through a fog and provides an opportunity to restore empathy toward those communities and people in eastern Ukraine who are excluded, depersonalised and instrumentalised.
Yevgenia Belorusets is a Ukrainian artist, writer and photographer. She is a co-founder of the literary-artistic-political journal Prostory, member of the interdisciplinary curatorial group Hudrada and author of the photo series Victories of the Defeated and the photo-illustrated books Lucky Breaks (recipient of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt International Literature Award in 2020) and A Series of Lectures on the Modern Life of Animals. Her work has been presented in the Ukrainian programme at the Venice Biennale twice—Victories of the Defeated in 2015 and A Wartime Diary in 2022. Her work meets at the intersection of visual art, literature, journalism and social activism, between document and artistic language. She lives and works in Kyiv and Berlin.