Slavic Story Time: December 2018 Edition

On 16 December 2018, Stephanie Chung Porter, Outreach Coordinator at REEEC, and Jesse Mikhail Wesso, MA student and Outreach Assistant at REEEC, hosted Slavic Story Time at the Urbana Free Library.

From Jesse:

 

We read Uncle Vova’s Tree by Patricia Polacco, a story based on the author’s childhood memories of her uncle Vova, of his memorable and creative Epiphany celebrations with the family. Polacco, who also drew the illustrations, depicts the colorful and playful nature of the winter holidays, while reminding us to look back with joy at the everlasting and bright light of our loved ones.

After the reading, Stephanie led the group in a singalong of the melodic Елочка (elochka), a Russian holiday song about a Christmas tree and his woodland friends.

Finally, we began making our own elochki:

 

As the results show, we had a lot of fun. Everyone was proud of their elochka, and only a moderate amount of glitter was spilled. Happy holidays for all.

 

 

 

REEEC hosts Slavic Story Time once a semester at the Urbana Public Library. Stay tuned to our master calendar and the Urbana Public Library’s program calendar to catch the next Slavic Story Time.

 

Jesse Mikhail Wesso is a second-year graduate student in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies and an Outreach Assistant at the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center.

REEEC Winter Reception 2018

REEEC held its annual Winter Reception on 11 December 2018 at the Levis Faculty Center in Urbana. After opening remarks from Dr. Donna Buchanan, Acting Director of REEEC, faculty, staff, students, and guests enjoyed snacks and refreshments from the Russian, East European, and Eurasian region.

The University of Illinois Balkan Music Ensemble, Balkanalia, joined us for the second half of the reception. With Professor Donna Buchanan as conductor, Balkanalia’s choir and instrumentalists entertained us all with spirited folk music from southeastern Europe, and helped end a very eventful term in a festive manner. We at REEEC would like to express our thanks to our guests and performers and wish everyone a happy and safe New Year!

 

 

 

 

New REEEC Affiliated Faculty Profile: Professor Rochelle Sennet

 

REEEC announces a new REEEC-affiliated faculty member, Dr. Rochelle Sennet. Dr. Sennet is an Associate Professor of Piano in the School of Music at Illinois, having received her DMA from the U of I in 2008. On April 3rd she will give a piano recital at 7:30 p.m. in Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center.

 

Re-posted from the Department of Music website:

New Publication by REEEC Affiliated Faculty Member David Cooper: “The Queen’s Court and Green Mountain Manuscripts with Other Forgeries of the Czech Revival”

 David Cooper

 

REEEC Affiliated Faculty member David Cooper (Slavic Languages & Literatures) has recently published a new book, The Queen’s Court and Green Mountain Manuscripts with Other Forgeries of the Czech Revival, Michigan Slavic Publications, 2018. This 6th Volume of Michigan Czech translations is edited and translated by Professor Cooper.

From the publisher’s website:

“The present volume of MSP’s Czech Translations Series brings the first scholarly edition in English of the so-called Manuscripts, Czech literary forgeries of the early nineteenth century whose creation and reception represent one of the more remarkable episodes of Romantic forgery. The rich documentation here includes a selection of reviews and polemical articles that the Manuscripts provoked, showing their long term cultural significance and impact, including the central role they played in the development of Czech national consciousness. The annotated translation enables contemporary readers to experience their aesthetic force and perceive the qualities that linked Czech culture to the broad stream of European cultural developments.”

For more information, or to purchase Professor Cooper’s new book, please visit the publisher’s website.

Opera in the Museum: Vitalii Vilenskii on How the Idea of the Opera “For the Black Square” Was Formed

REPOST: For those in our community who read Russian, our Black Square Workshop from December 2017, part of our 1917-2017 series of events, was featured in the below article by Liudmila Lunina.

Liudmila Lunina, “Opera v myzee: Vitalii Vilenskii o tom, kak slozhilsia zamysel opery ‘dlia “chornogo kvadrata,'” Colta.

The original blog post about the Black Square Workshop can be found here.

 

Опера в музее

ВИТАЛИЙ ВИЛЕНСКИЙ О ТОМ, КАК СЛОЖИЛСЯ ЗАМЫСЕЛ ОПЕРЫ «ДЛЯ “ЧЕРНОГО КВАДРАТА”»

Detailed_picture

© Алексей Антоненко

В конце ноября 2018 года в Третьяковской галерее на Крымском Валу в течение четырех дней проходили премьерные показы новой оперы Ильи Демуцкого «Для “Черного квадрата”». Это новый формат как для музейной, так и для театральной практики, то, что называют кросс-культурным событием. О том, как удалось осуществить постановку, рассказывает продюсер и автор проекта Виталий Виленский.

— Кому пришла смелая идея сочинить оперу в честь «Черного квадрата»?

— Авторы идеи и либретто — Ольга Маслова и Игорь Конюхов. Эти два талантливых творца, живущих в Америке, задумали написать новое произведение, взяв за основу перформанс «Победа над Солнцем», который в 1913-м в Москве поставили Алексей Крученых, Михаил Матюшин и Казимир Малевич. «Победа над Солнцем» была «заумью» про наступление эры машин, символом которой стал черный квадрат. Новая эпоха одерживала верх над природой — миром Солнца, отсюда и название. Декорацией служил большой черный квадрат, который позднее Малевич изобразил на своей легендарной картине. В определенном смысле «Победа над Солнцем» была той молекулой, из которой развилось все искусство XX века.

Точно неизвестно, насколько постановка удалась: было единственное представление, повторений не последовало. Современники писали, что получилось ярко и что в процессе исполнения сломали рояль. Тексты частично сохранились, музыка нет. Придумать музыку заново в духе авангарда 1913 года позвали Илью Демуцкого. На мой взгляд, Демуцкий — один из двух (наряду с Леонидом Десятниковым) больших русских композиторов сегодня. Он умеет блестяще говорить со слушателями на современном музыкальном языке. Это главное, а дальше можно обсуждать, каким образом он говорит: иронично, с цитатами, паузами или восклицаниями.

Мы позвали «Черный квадрат» в гости, чтобы показать, что стало с человечеством.

Под этот проект Ольга Маслова и Игорь Конюхов получили грант Иллинойсского университета, при котором работает фонд REEEC(Russian, East European and Eurasian Center). Илья приехал к ним в Чикаго, сочинил первый акт и поставил в качестве эксперимента в студенческой лаборатории. И в этот момент стало ясно, что одного акта мало, надо делать минимум два.

Второе действие Илья писал еще год. «Производительность» у таких штучных, уникальных композиторов, как Демуцкий, — две минуты произведения в день. В процессе работы Илья поделился со мной идеей, и мы вместе начали думать, где устроить мировую премьеру.

Логично было сделать это в России, уж коли авангард — визитная карточка русского искусства.

Сотрудничество с государственными театрами имеет свои плюсы и минусы. Театр сделает постановку масштабной, как получилось с двумя балетами Демуцкого в Большом — с «Героем нашего времени» и «Нуреевым». Минусы же состояли в том, что премьеры придется ждать пару лет (так как театральные планы верстаются сильно заранее) и опера будет исполняться довольно редко, так как в репертуарном театре сильная ротация постановок.

© Алексей Антоненко

— То есть вы не могли контролировать весь процесс, а вам очень хотелось?

— Да, мы хотели отвечать за результат от и до. И мы пошли в Третьяковскую галерею. Директор, Зельфира Исмаиловна Трегулова, сразу нас поддержала. Ей понравилось, что проект был равнозначен по смыслу статусу Новой Третьяковки. К тому же он строился на синтезе и синергии искусств. Выдающийся русский сценограф Олег Шейнцис, с которым я имел честь был знакомым, говорил, что музы, на самом деле, в сложных отношениях друг с другом, жить вместе не хотят и повезет тому, кто сумеет их помирить и сплотить в одном проекте, — тогда получится большое искусство. И нам удалось всех муз поженить. Это было непросто. Мог ведь и музей сказать, что он тут главный, и композитор, и хор, и два наших чудесных пианиста-исполнителя. А все в результате выступили одной слаженной командой.

— Так ли важно было разыгрывать все действо перед картиной Малевича?

— Принципиально важно. Перефразируя известного критика Александра Тимофеевского, «в мире копий только оригинал обладает подлинной энергетикой». Это ключевое произведение мирового искусства — для одних со знаком «плюс», для других наоборот. Ирина Антонова говорит, что великое искусство заканчивается «Черным квадратом». Третьяковская галерея любезно предоставила нам самый первый «Квадрат». Как известно, Малевич написал несколько оригиналов, отличающихся датой создания. Так вот, вариант 1929 года отправился на выставку в Ватикан, а для нашей оперы оставили первый оригинал — 1915-го. На сегодняшний день это самая дорогая картина русского искусства, она стоит порядка 70 млн евро.

Мы позвали «Черный квадрат» в гости, чтобы показать, что стало с человечеством. В 1913-м люди заклинали духов машинерии, авиации, а сейчас наши боги — биткоин, Инстаграм, селфи. Малевич уже в 1920-м писал о «Квадрате» как об экране человечества.

© Алексей Антоненко

— Если судить по второму акту, вы пребываете в мрачном предчувствии тоталитаризма, который стирает людям память, все трагично.

— Что касается Прачечной памяти, это, скорее, метафора такого зла, как социальные сети. Они пожирают наше время. Знаете, у современных айфонов уже есть функция блокировки социальных сетей через один-два-три часа — какой лимит пользователь выберет.

У нас трагедия как в греческом театре — с очищающим катарсисом. Мы все-таки даем надежду. И к тому же все это — с гигантским подтекстом самоиронии.

— Что для вас как для продюсера было в этом проекте сложным?

— Всё. Одно дело — получить разрешение на работу в Третьяковской галерее, другое — реально начать работать. Нас и Трегулова предупредила, что Третьяковка — это государство в государстве со своими неписаными правилами. И было непросто сделать так, чтобы нам помогали, чтобы технические службы задерживались за полночь, пока мы репетировали, чтобы в 16-м зале, где проходили представления, сняли все картины, оставили пустые рамы на стенах, чтобы поставили скамьи елочкой, как нам было нужно.

Нам повезло с партнерами. Одним из них был Бахрушинский музей: его директор Дмитрий Родионов отдал нам здание каретного сарая при музее под репетиционную базу.

У нас был сложносочиненный коллектив — молодые ребята, яркие голоса. Но они не были сработаны, как труппа стационарного театра. У каждого шла параллельно своя жизнь, в дополнение к которой они приходили, прилетали, приезжали, вырываясь из своих графиков на день-два для репетиций. И делали это очень самоотверженно.

© Алексей Антоненко

Певцов мы искали по всей стране. Все наши десять солистов — обладатели потрясающих голосов. Мы очень надеемся, что спектакль станет ступенькой в их карьере. Вот, например, Даша Телятникова. Когда мы ей предложили роль, она вначале почти отказалась. «Есть, — говорит, — одна сложность: я в положении». Но потом добавила, что вообще-то у нее уже двое детей и последние пять лет она если и поет, то будучи беременной. А поскольку по сюжету оперы она расстается со своим любимым, то получилось еще драматичнее.

Музыкальные критики — всегда остроумные и циничные: если кто-то дал петуха, они обязательно напишут. К нашим исполнителям не было никаких претензий.

А пианисты Катя Сканави и Володя Иванов-Ракиевский? Два рояля звучали как оркестр. В качестве дирижера выступил сам Илья Демуцкий — то есть исполнение было равнозначно его композиторским идеям. У нас был потрясающий художник по свету Иван Виноградов, который тоже сотворил чудо. Художником по костюмам выступил главный редактор GQ Игорь Гаранин. Для нашей постановки он нашел десятки модных решений. Удивительно, но современная одежда оказалась словно сошедшей с картин супрематистов, наша опера получилась про «здесь и сейчас».

И отдельное спасибо режиссеру (секрет Полишинеля: режиссером оперы выступил актер Данила Козловский. — Л.Л.), который так себя официально и не объявил, остался за кадром, так как хочет, чтобы все внимание было направлено исключительно на композитора и музыкальное произведение. Всех поразили самоотверженность и большой талант, с которыми он ринулся в новый жанр искусства для себя. И сотни рецензий лишний раз подтвердили успех многочасовых ночных репетиций, метаний и поисков результата.

Когда мы начинали постановочный процесс, я говорил, что наш главный герой — «Черный квадрат», а сейчас, после премьеры, уверен, что главный герой — это команда, все 75 человек.

Еще никто не ставил в музейных залах полноценную оперу и не включал столь значимый художественный шедевр в канву повествования. Мы стали первыми. Мы жили этим проектом долгое время, по 24 часа в сутки. У нас не было госфинансирования и спонсоров, мы полностью сделали проект на собственные средства. И ближайшая задача — непременно показать спектакль зрителям, чтобы он развивался и жил.

Summer Research Laboratory

2019 SUMMER RESEARCH LABORATORY ON RUSSIA, EASTERN EUROPE, AND EURASIA

June 10 – August 2, 2019

Application Deadline: February 11, 2019

OVERVIEW

The Summer Research Laboratory on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia (SRL) invites applications for the upcoming 2019 session. This year’s lab will open on June 10 and continue through August 2. During this time, we encourage researchers to visit Urbana-Champaign, enjoy convenient housing on the Illinois campus, and use the unparalleled research collections and databases offered by our University Library. The skilled librarians of our Slavic Reference Service will be available for consultations, to make sure that you not only find everything Illinois has to offer, but also identify the most important sources elsewhere. Thus, whether you are beginning a new project or finishing an old one, a visit to the SRL provides a great opportunity to get important work done.

Established over four decades ago, the SRL has from its inception sought to make first-class research resources available to the broadest possible community of scholars. Our top-five research Library holds one of North America’s largest collections of contemporary and historical materials on the REEES region, in a broad range of languages and formats. For generations, scholars preparing for fieldwork have found a visit to SRL an invaluable way to exhaust US-based resources so as to make more efficient plans for their visits to libraries and archives abroad. In addition, each year we host a range of discussion groups, conferences, and training workshops during the first month of our Lab. These allow Lab participants to learn more about ongoing research in a variety of disciplines and create networks for their own  professional development.

A pleasant college town in East Central Illinois, Urbana-Champaign offers a peaceful work environment for the summer. Its amenities include numerous restaurants, cafes, and breweries, a vibrant weekly farmer’s market, and excellent recreational facilities on campus. Bicyclers love to ride in the surrounding countryside, while hikers and kayakers have access to Kickapoo State Park, a riverine landscape that is about a 45 minute drive away. Chicago, one of the world’s great cities, is a little over two hours away by car, with daily trains and buses making the connection as well.

SRL applicants are also encouraged to consider studying an area language at Indiana University’s Summer Language Workshop, located in nearby Bloomington, IN, whether immediately before or after their participation in the SRL. Funding in the form of Title VIII fellowships and other sources is available to eligible applicants. Those interested in overseas language study are particularly encouraged to pair SRL participation with an application for an IU Title VIII Portable Fellowship. More information and the application can be found at the Summer Language Workshop website.

FEATURED WORKSHOPS

WHAT THE LAB OFFERS:

  • Inexpensive housing in Presby Hall on the University of Illinois campus. Presby Hall offers private rooms connected to suites with shared bathrooms and kitchenettes; rooms with private bathrooms are also available at an additional cost.
  • Short-term grants in support of your visit, made possible by generous support by the Department of State’s Title VIII program (see below).
  • Full access to the physical and electronic collections of the University of Illinois Library.
  • Supporting use of the Library’s technological resources, including advanced scanning equipment for the making of digital copies of books, microfilm, and other resources.
  • Consultations with the Slavic Reference Service.
  • Workshops, film nights, and other opportunities to meet other scholars and researchers.
  • The help of REEEC staff and local scholars in answering logistical questions related to your stay.

FINANCIAL AID AND SHORT-TERM RESEARCH GRANTS

Due to a change in funding for SRL, we have revised our grant guidelines and eligibility requirements. Before submitting an application, please read the Grants page carefully. Please note that only U.S. citizens may apply for Title VIII housing and travel grants, and research stipends.

Housing Grants

Scholars participating in SRL may apply for up to 12 days of housing at Presby Hall at the shared rate (3-4 bedroom suite) of $46 per night.

Travel Grants

Scholars may apply for travel grants of up to $500 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign. Eligible expenses are restricted to travel to and from Champaign-Urbana. Award recipients must provide appropriate receipts to receive reimbursement.

Research Stipends

Scholars may apply for generous research stipends of up to $1000 for their trip to Urbana-Champaign. To be eligible for a research stipend, scholars must stay for at least 5 days.

Other Grants

A limited amount of funding may be available for international applicants.

Faculty and graduate students who are citizens of Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Palestine, Serbia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan may consider applying to the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Awards to secure additional funding.

For programming information, click on Lab Programs in the right sidebar.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

All applicants are required to submit an online application, a research proposal and, if applying for Title VIII funding, a clearly formulated statement of policy relevance. For more details on application requirements, please select the SRL Application tab in the right sidebar.

2019 SRL Application

FACTS AND COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT SRL

  1. Do I have to attend all summer?
    No, the Summer Research Lab (SRL) is designed to be flexible. You may attend at any time while SRL is in session.
  2. I’m not sure how long I want to stay; how should I go about planning my stay at SRL?
    Err on the conservative side when deciding how long you wish to stay at SRL. It is always easier for us to add days to your account than subtract them. If a reimbursement needs to be made for your housing, we cannot simply refund your credit card, since the reimbursement process through the university can be lengthy. Please give REEEC at least one week’s notice if you decide to change your length of stay; otherwise, you will be charged any nights you don’t cancel well in advance of your departure.
  3. Is it difficult to acquire funding for SRL; how constrictive is the funding process?
    Funding for SRL is competitive. Eligible applicants with strong proposals are more likely to receive funding for their research.
  4. Isn’t SRL only for Humanistic Scholars and Historians? I need current periodicals and new publications, not archival material.
    SRL has resources for a wide range of scholars from many different fields and disciplines including but not limited to Law, Business, and STEM. The resources at Illinois are extensive, and include current periodicals and new publications. There are many items to which SRS provides access that are not available anywhere else in the US. Please see the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Collection and Services page or the Slavic Reference Service page for additional information.
  5. Does SRL require me to participate in workshops or planned events?
    No, but SRL often provides extra programming for the benefit of the associates who come to use the resources at Illinois. None of the programs are required in order to attend SRL.
  6. Can I access any of the resources after I leave the lab?
    Yes! Often when scholars do research during the Summer Research Lab, they find more resources than they can fully investigate in one visit. The Slavic Reference Service librarians are very adept at loaning circulating items through Inter-Library Loan (ILL).
  7. Why should I visit, if SRS is willing to loan so much material via ILL?
    For graduate students, SRL is a great opportunity to develop good relationships with the Slavic librarians at the Slavic Reference Service. They are ready to use their specialized knowledge to help you do research on your dissertation or research project. SRS librarians will work with associates long after they leave SRL. Additionally, an in-person visit gives scholars the opportunity to access specialized materials that carry constraints due to particular governmental and copyright restrictions. Scholars who utilize SRL also have access to the main stacks at the University Library.
  8. Am I allowed to make digital copies of materials that I would like to take with me after I leave?
    Absolutely! Graduate students in the past have really appreciated the ability to create their own digital library of the resources acquired during SRL.
  9. Is SRL only for preliminary research, or does SRL have more in-depth resources that would cater to more specialized research?
    SRL can assist both preliminary and advanced stages of research. SRL also facilitates access to hard-to-find materials that are not located anywhere else in the US. This can be especially helpful to scholars who have done their preliminary work using more available resources.
  10. How should I pay for Housing and Parking charges?
    If possible, please pay your Housing and Parking charges when you arrive with a credit card or a check. After payment, any changes to your length of stay cannot be reimbursed to your account. REEEC must issue a check reimbursement that may take several weeks to process.
  11. What are the library hours for the Slavic Reference Service?
    Slavic Reference Service hours correspond to the Main Library hours of operations. These hours are determined shortly before the start of each session. SRL dates correspond with the University’s Summer Session 2. Please check the Library website at the beginning of June for a full schedule of Library hours. When planning your trip to SRL, please be aware that the library will be closed on July 4th and is open limited hours on weekends.
  12. Can I bring a guest?
    Yes. If staying in a room at Presby Hall, you will be asked to pay for the additional occupant. Guests may also access the library after registering with SRL and paying the registration fee.
  13. What kind of funding is available?
    This year, SRL applicants who are U.S. citizens are eligible for Title VIII grants. Housing grants are available for up to 12 days. The grants are intended for a shared three-four bedroom suite. If individuals desire a single suite, they are responsible for the additional fees. Travel grants are available for up to $500, depending on distance and type of travel. Preference will be given to those at the advanced level. All eligibility criteria specified on the grants page applies. The Fisher Fellow and Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Awards are also available for participants. Please see their specific details to apply and determine eligibility.

Dubravka Ugrešić Visits Campus

Back during the first week of October, our campus was host to none other than the Croatian author Dubravka Ugrešić. REEEC and other university units organized three events in her honor, to celebrate her visit, her achievements, and her two most recent publications. These events included a live, conversational interview conducted by professor of anthropology Jessica Greenberg, an author’s reading and book-signing, and a writers’ workshop. I had the good fortune to attend both the interview and the book signing, where I picked up the publications that spurred the visit – Ugrešić’s new novel Fox, and the re-release of her essay collection, American Fictionary. The latter was originally published almost twenty-five years ago under the title Have a Nice Day: From the Balkan War to the American Dream. Indeed, the unique circumstances that led to its re-release was a topic that Ugrešić returned to again and again.

For a writer such as Ugrešić, whose very identity is swathed in layers of nationality and citizenship, and as such is inherently difficult to categorize, having a book re-issued is a rare occasion. It’s hard for her to find a readership, at least from the perspective of a traditional publisher. Her work is “niche” in countless ways, as she discussed in the interview with Greenberg. Rejected by much of the cultural elite in Croatia during the start of the war and rise of nationalism in the early ‘90s, she’s carved an intellectual space, and a home, for herself in Amsterdam. However, her language of choice when writing continues to be Croatian, her mother tongue, where she feels she can express herself best. This multifaceted intersection of identities, cultures, nations, and languages resonates deeply with her American readership, so much so that at times she even considers herself an American writer, since Americans seem to understand her so well. Or at least, we’ve come to understand her over the years.

During the talk, Ugrešić recounted how English-language publishers insisted on changing the title of her essay collection when it was originally translated. Whereas the title in Croatian had been Američki fikcionar, English publishers opted for a more sensational title, referencing both the strife in the Balkans and Ugrešić’s status as an outsider in the US reaching for culturally superficial ideals. In addition to this change, the author recounted how American reviewers seemed to chide her for the way she engaged with our culture in her essays, implying that she wasn’t “grateful enough” for all that the nation had supposedly given her. Times have changed, however, as is evident. The America of today stands at a precipice similar, though far from the same, to the one where Yugoslavia stood some thirty-odd years ago. The choices we, as Americans, make in the coming years will be definitive, and having Ugrešić’s complex perspective and insight in the form of her newly republished essays is invaluable.

What makes both Ugrešić’s writing and her entire demeanor so compelling is her subtle sense of humor. She has an incredible ability to wrap deeply held sorrows in ironic and nuanced observations of everyday life, where a humble bagel becomes a metaphor for stability, for New York – a snapshot of a time in her life when simple pleasures, smells, and commonplace adventures in a new city contrasted with the uncertainty in her motherland. In person, these subtleties become decidedly more cynical, as she waves aside any possibility for Croatia to bring itself out of its nationalist rut, citing the growing influence of the church, and a sense of anti-intellectualism among the populace and politicos. And yet, Ugrešić keeps going. She keeps writing, she keeps showing up. Hopefully, for all our sakes, she’ll keep doing so for a long time to come.

 

 

 


Alejandra-Isabel Otero Pires is a PhD candidate in Slavic Languages & Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.