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12 January 2024

6:30-8:30pm, The Masaryk Room, UCL SSEES


The Masaryk Room

4th Floor

UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW

The event is free and available to everyone. Booking essential.

Surzhyk: A Transparent Double Mask

This talk delves into the instruments used by Russian imperialism to undercut Ukrainian identity, through the prism of the complex and dynamic historical and contemporary relationship between language hybridisation and purification. It provides a brief history of the persecutions that led to the widespread appearance of the Russian language in Ukraine; and the consequent contempt (on the part of “pure” Ukrainian as well as Russian speakers) towards Surzhyk, the assimilated local idiom comprising elements of both Ukrainian and Russian.

It proposes the concept of a transparent double mask—in reference to Frantz Fanon’s white mask—to refer to the process of subjection to power apparatus/es, in particular by embracing the superior language standard, here either Russian or Ukrainian. In the context of Russia’s war and imperial politics against Ukraine, Surzhyk serves as a tool of resistance to colonial threats in disrupting the symbolic order of established languages.

Milena Khomchenko is an art researcher and writer from Ukraine and a co-founder and curator of SONIAKH. With the support of a Chevening award, she completed an MA in Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University London. She holds a BA in Philology, English language and Ukrainian language from the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Her texts have been published in Frieze, KAJET, L’Internationale Online, Spike Art Magazine, Danarti, KORYDOR, ArtsLooker, Blok, Your Art, and others. Among her curatorial projects is Let the long. Road. Lead. That. Stairs in. The Heavens at PLATO (Ostrava, Czech Republic), Closed Futures at DCCC (Dnipro, Ukraine), etc. She is co-author and archivist of the book MUHi 2009–2021 (Osnovy Publishing, 2022). 


Perverting the Power Vertical (PPV) is an event platform and seminar series based at the UCL SSEES.

SONIAKH is a platform amplifying voices and visions from Ukraine and those of Ukraine’s allies and neighbors—by artists, activists, and scholars—in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and its worldwide propaganda machine. It strongly supports Ukrainian statehood and the right of Ukrainians to defend themselves against the Russian colonial invasion.

Booking essential, please click here for the UCL booking site

8 December 2023

5-7pm, The Forum, UCL Institute for Advanced Studies


IAS Forum, G17

Ground floor, Wilkins building



United Kingdom

This event is free and open to all.

Jean-Louis Cohen was a historian and curator of architecture who inspired and impacted the work of many. His unexpected passing this summer was a loss to the entire expanded field of architecture. A pioneer of transnational and transmedial histories of architecture, he was a cultural translator whose work and influence crossed boundaries between continents and epochs – from Paris to Moscow, Casablanca to Kharkiv, New York to Brasilia. He had the true gift to mediate and connect people and ideas within academia as well as beyond it. Based in between France and the US for most of his life, his work, impact, and network was profoundly transnational. This gathering - convened and chaired by Markus Lähteenmäki (UCL Institute of Advanced Studies) and Michał Murawski (UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies) - brings together his former mentees, collaborators, interlocutors, friends and followers in and around the UK. The symposium presents a dozen short speeches that vary from anecdotes and recollections to reflections on his method and its impact and critical reconsiderations of historiography.

22 September 2023


Visual Caption: Olia Sosnovskaya. Outdoors, gunpowder burns quietly. In a closed space gunpowder explodes, 2016


House of Anetta

25 Princelet St


E1 6QH

Doors 6:30 pm

Talk 7-8 pm

Close 9:30 pm

The event is free and available to everyone.

Join this event with curator Aleksei Borisionok and artist and researcher Olia Sosnovskaya re-examining their essay “The Former West and the New East” (2017) which critically unpacked the notion of “New East” introduced by the UK-based media after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Aleksei and Olia will address the narratives and representations of Eastern Europe and how the underlying power dynamics are underscored and re-actualised in the context of current Russia’s invasion of Ukraine supported by the Belarusian regime.

The talk will focus on (self)exoticization of Eastern Europe and analyse aesthetics and politics within artistic practices in the context of “the Former West” and “the New East”, in particular referring to imperialist and (crypto)fascist tendencies.

What other temporalities could be suggested within and beyond the notion of ‘post-socialism’? What are the ways of constructing networks and solidarities beyond intercolonial communication, to use the notion of Svitlana Matviyenko?

The event is co-organised by PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical) and Vsesvit (Ukraine solidarity collective) and hosted by Anneta House social centre.

Vsesvit will join with a pop-up corner featuring a selection of fundraising projects and will run a makeshift bar during the event.


Aleksei Borisionok is a curator, writer, and organiser, who currently lives and works in Vienna. He is a member of the artistic-research Problem Collective and a working group of Work Hard, Play Hard! He writes about art and politics for various magazines, catalogues and online platforms such as e-flux Journal, L’Internationale Online, Partisan, Springerin, Paletten, among many others. He is currently a fellow at Vera List Center, New York, and, together with Katalin Erdődi, he is co-curating the upcoming edition of the Matter of Art Biennale in Prague (2024).

Olia Sosnovskaya (Minsk / Vienna) is an artist, writer, and organizer. She engages in textual, performative, and visual practices, intertwining the notions of festivity, collective choreography, and the political within the post-socialist contexts and beyond. Member of artistic-research group Problem Collective and Work Hard! Play Hard! working group. Candidate at PhD in Practice, Academy of Fine Art Vienna.


Perverting the Power Vertical (PPV) is an event platform and seminar series based at the UCL SSEES.

Vsesvit is a Ukraine solidarity collective based in London. Vsesvit organises cultural and community events to support the local community in London and raise funds for grassroots collectives and initiatives responding to the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

House of Annetta is a social centre and platform for practicing systems change. Over the past two years the house has been used by hundreds of different groups, individuals and networks for gathering, eating, talking, exhibiting, listening and making. Get in touch if you would like to use the space or connect with the project.

This event is moderated by Daša Anosova, who is a researcher and cultural worker from Kyiv, Ukraine. She is a PhD candidate at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and Michał Murawski - an anthropologist of architecture and of cities based at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

PPV #42 Collective Body

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