ON THE BENEFICIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF HERESY


video, object
Naphthalene
Kyiv History Museum
Kyiv, Ukraine
2018
Bohdan Bunchak's polemic project "On the beneficial significance of heresy" deals with two important topics: the phenomenon of censorship and heresy in politics. In artistic circles, the discussion on censorship gained further development in 2017 in connection with the well-known events at the Visual Culture Research Center and Pavlo Tychyna Museum. One of Naphthalene's goals is demonstrating extreme prematureness of pretending that the discussion is over and there’s nothing more to add to it. It seems that Bohdan Bunchak develops the idea of Nikita Kadan: “sometimes the word ‘censorship’ has to be used neutrally, or at least without accusatory coloring”. Indeed, if we reject (keep in mind: rejection is the key methodological parameter of Naphthalene) the optics of demonizing the censorship, we can afford posing various heretical questions.

Can censorship be reinterpreted in terms of artistic practices? Does this phenomenon have a form-building potential?


Screenhots from video documentation.


Sanitizing the passages from the “Illintsy” religious sect’s treatise using the hand-crafted wooden stylus and black ink, Bohdan Bunchak poses a question: can one, while practicing censorship, create (new) meanings without destroying the existing ones? Affirming the former, the artist invites the viewer to consider a number of highly sensitive problems. Labeling a certain belief as heretical is clearly an institutional and political act. Carrying out such labeling, in particular, during ecumenical councils, the church fathers simultaneously recognized the heresy’s significance for strengthening the theoretical grounds of the church, since the church had to build up an apologetic counter-argument to attack the emerging “false doctrines”. Speaking in contemporary lingo, back then, heresy was like a virus, against which the infected organism produced antibodies, cured itself and became stronger.

These theological developments took the form of polemic treatises with titles symptomatically containing the word “against”: “Against Eunomius”, “Against Arians”, “Against Nestorians” etc. But if

And in a sense, warmed up the interest towards them.
Alexey Buistov ︎, curator