Mykola Ridnyi


Fear has 100 Eyes

The project Fear has 100 Eyes explores the question of dehumanization through the image of violence and its impact on society. It will be developed as a combination of essay film, photography and collage series and a book in collaboration with researchers in film history, visual culture and society.

The decade of the 2010s is filled with all forms of evidence, material and symbolic, of hybrid wars, “post-truth” policies, and the global rise of far-right populism. Live streams of war in Ukraine, and later Syria, tagged posts with messages of intolerance, blogs and reports of attacks on migrants in Europe, and limitless other instances of violent confrontation both inside and outside of conflict zones circulated globally across social networks. Instant accessibility to firsthand visual information created fertile soil for planting and then multiplying manipulative strategies in one or another political interest. The audience demand for shocking content continues to steadily rise because it guarantees popularity. This, in turn, supports a very propagandist version of reality where violence plays a central role in the overall design and transmission of a message, which is driven by shock as an affective background.

In a number of works realized within the last five years (among them photography series Blind Spot, and film Regular Places) Mykola Ridnyi has reflected the problem of the rise of violent content in the media and physical presence of violence in everyday life of Ukraine. During this period he collected a video archive of amateur clips published online and documented different violent events both in the territories of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples republics and territories under control of the Ukrainian state (a part of it was included in his films NO! NO! NO! and Armed and Dangerous).

Fear has 100 Eyes is a continuation and finalization of this long-term research. Its aim is to analyze the connections and differences between the sources and influences of violent content in different segments of visual culture: the suspense tradition in the history of popular cinema and documentary tendencies associated with online amateur video. How to work with visuality of violence without reproducing it? How is the emotion of fear as a part of entertainment and attraction connected with a concept of fear in political manipulation and what impact does it have on real life? What is the way to fight this fear and what kind of alternative vision and visuality can be accommodated?

(Text source: Mykola Ridnyi)

Mykola RIDNYI is an artist, filmmaker and essayist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He works across media, ranging from early political actions in public space to the fusion of site-specific installations, photography and the moving image which constitute the current focus of his practice. In recent films he experiments with nonlinear montage, and a collage of documentary and fiction. His way of reflecting social and political reality draws on the contrast between fragility and resilience of individual stories and collective histories. A connection with alternative times and phenomena, the influence of the past to the present and future, and the pressing polemic of manipulating historical memory born out of contemporary political agendas are among the main issues revealed in his engagements, initiatives, and projects.

Ridnyi has been a founding member of the SOSka group – an art collective originated from Kharkiv, Ukraine. He is a contributing editor of Prostory, an online magazine about art and society. His works has been exhibited in Venice biennale for contemporary art, The School of Kyiv – Kyiv biennale, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, daad galerie in Berlin, Transmediale in Berlin, Zentrum fur Kunst und Media in Karlsruhe, Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst in Leipzig, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Bonniers konsthall in Stockholm and others. He has been a scholar of Akademie der Kunst in Berlin, Iaspis in Stockholm, Gaude Polonia in Krakow and others.