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video, 14 hours
1 May — 19 May 2023
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool (UK)

Izyum to Liverpool is a 12-channel video installation showing the train journey from the city of Izyum in eastern Ukraine to Mostyska, near the border with Poland. For many Ukrainians the train is the only means to escape war, as air travel is no longer operating since the full-scale russian invasion began. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country. The journey, which can take up to twenty-four hours, travels east to west, revealing scenes from liberated Ukrainian cities to the apparently stiller landscape of other parts of the country. 

The artwork exposes the instability of the environment — the imminent threat may not always be visible; however, its presence is palpable. To ensure the safety of train passengers, carriage windows are covered with transparent tape to protect travellers from possible shockwave blasts from explosions. During filming, the tape was temporarily removed from all but one window, and some shots are pixelated to strategically hide Ukrainian outposts. After sunset, scenes fall into darkness as Ukraine is still poorly lit at night. To accompany the work, an intermittent soundscape was created by generative algorithms from recordings taken during the filming of the footage.

Izyum to Liverpool reflects on the fragility of the environment, and of life in Ukraine. Whilst considering feelings of loss, uncertainty, and displacement; it also displays the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Curated by Elisa Nocente, Cultural Programme Manager, Liverpool Cathedral.

Izyum to Liverpool was first commissioned by Culture Liverpool in partnership with Liverpool Cathedral for the Eurovision Cultural Festival 2023.

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